How to Make Lucky Charms Work For You

A new study says a rabbit’s foot or a talisman really can improve your life. Here, five ladies at the top of their games reveal the superstitious secrets behind their success.

| March 15th, 2012
Courtesy of Rachel Roy; YouBeauty (2)Rachel Roy, Carmindy and Rita Hazan all wearing their lucky charms
Rachel Roy, Carmindy and Rita Hazan

Are you superstitious? Good fortune is anyone’s for the taking—as long as you believe in it, that is.

That’s what research published in the academic journal Psychological Science found after studying the phenomenon of “lucky charms” and how they impact successful people.

QUIZ: Do You Feel Lucky?

In a range of experiments, scientists at the University of Cologne, Germany, found that participants consistently outperformed competitors when they believed a lucky charm was present. In the first test, volunteers who were told they had a “lucky ball” in a golf putting game won more games than the others. In the second test, participants had to quickly place as many balls as possible into a slab with holes, and those who were told, “I’ll cross my fingers for you,” hailed more victory.

In two more experiments, participants were allowed to bring lucky objects to tests involving memory and anagram word play. Half of the group were then asked to hand in the good luck charms before the exams, and those who were able to keep their cherished talismans performed better on both tests as a group.

With results like that, even cynics may be inspired to reconsider the mystique of a rabbit’s foot. But experts say it’s less about the magic of hocus pocus, and more about the psychological power of the human mind. Those who carry and believe in lucky charms tend to set goals higher and enjoy boosts of confidence, which seems to result in enhanced performance and improved results. “Engaging in superstitious thoughts and behaviors may be one way to reach one’s top level of performance,” conclude the researchers in the article.

MORE: Four Ways to Improve Your Luck

Athletes are renowned for playing to superstition, from figure skater Michelle Kwan’s display of a Chinese charm necklace given to her by her grandmother at competitions, to Tiger Woods’ tradition of wearing a red shirt for Sunday tournaments. A similar proclivity towards good luck charms holds true for the fashion and beauty world, where dogged years of hard work and struggle often reap big rewards after an auspicious moment when a designer or artist is in the right place, at the right time.

We asked some of beauty and fashion’s brightest stars to share what treasured charms have brought them luck and waves of prosperity. Might any of these talismans work the same magic for you? Perhaps they will, if you put your mind to it.

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