I've always considered myself a superstitious person. I've also never felt alone in this as pretty much everyone I know who competes in anything has objects or behaviors they believe bring them luck. Recently, however, I was at my week-long national and I started wondering, is it superstition I believe in or intention?
In the end, I decided there is a fine line between the two: superstition is done with faith in the act or the object, where intention is more thoughtful in behavior.
When I was a kid and rode horses, I always put on my right boot first, then my left. One day, a trainer in the area was alarmed when he saw this telling me, "left is lucky." Well, I was screwed. Not because it could possibly matter which boot went on first, but because I believed him. I had changed my ritual for his belief and had a bad day in the ring. From then on (and to this day!) I mutter to myself, "left is lucky but right is right."
Power in an object
Of course on screen this is utterly ridiculous. But I have used the same bathroom stall all weekend at a dog show, planned my wardrobe to maximize success on an important day, worn the same hat every time I ran a dog and more. God help me when my lucky hair tie finally breaks.
Believe it or not, I'm better than I used to be, and while at my specialty I felt like I had a little breakthrough: it was about the intentions I was setting in these little moments and how the act or the object reminded me of my intention to bring clarity.
When I am blindly relying on the power of a bathroom stall, it means I have lost my own power. It means I don't trust in myself or my preparation and somehow believe there is a greater force that is playing with fallen bars and bad heeling. We are all powerful beyond measure, and when I look at my "lucky objects" I realize they are grounding for me in that they make me feel a certain way, connected to a moment or a performance.
We are always right
We are what we believe. And if I believe that having Karma's old ID tag on my keychain keeps us safe in the car, then it does. And if I believe I am more confident and capable donning Indie's blue hat with the Edelweiss, then I am. But I now choose to connect to those thoughts and intentions instead of grabbing them like life preservers - they can't save me, they can only re-connect me to my intentions and power.
So the next time you grab your lucky hat or put on your right shoe first, pause to acknowledge what those acts hold for you and connect there. Our rituals are crucial to grounding us and I am a passionate believer in fighting for them. Just do it with intention.
PS - The jinx is real
So what about the idea of jinxing an outcome because you talk about it? Well, that's true of course! Ha. But seriously, it's again all about intention. If you believe that talking about a possible next Q being your MACH run somehow kills your odds of achieving it, then you're right. Shift your intention and make those superstitions work for you like magic powers (because they are!!).