Superstition Vs. Habit

© 2012 Running Muse, TLC

Friday the 13th seemed fitting for the topic of superstitions. Superstition by one definition is a widely held but unjustified belief in supernatural causation leading to certain consequences of an action or event, or a practice based on such a belief. You may have read about some athletes that have a “superstition” about either a lucky item they need to have in their possession while they compete or a ritual they go through before an event. When those items are not present and rituals aren’t performed the mental attachment might place the player in a negative mindset causing a greater upset in their performance. But how many of us confuse superstition with habit? Habit by one definition is a tendency or disposition to act in a particular way or a recurrent, often unconscious pattern of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetition.

When I was younger there were sayings such as: Step on a crack, break your mother’s back, make a cross when a black cat crosses your path, don’t open an umbrella inside, don’t walk underneath a ladder, and break a mirror and you’ll have seven years bad luck. I will say that even though, now, I’m not exactly superstitious I have developed habits that have followed me into adulthood. I know for a fact stepping on cracks would not break my mom’s back, I have owned more black cats than you can count on two hands and I’m responsible for at least three broken mirror incidences. Now that I think back, maybe the broken mirror thing IS legit. However, the “habit” of being careful of superstitious actions is still engrained today. I’ll think about the cracks when I step over them and I don’t open umbrellas inside because, really, is there a need for that? But, I am a creature of habit, as most of us are.

Before each race I have a ritual that has been formed mostly because of habit, not superstition. I have a spaghetti dinner before I go to bed relatively early. I get up in the middle of the night to hydrate and I eat ½ of a peanut butter sandwich in the morning before I head out the door. I know that if this sequence of events doesn’t occur I will still race and I will still pour my heart and “sole’s” out on the pavement. Try not to get so caught up in rituals and sentiments to the point that you lose faith in yourself and that you can not continue. Remember that the most important physical thing you need to have in anything that you do, is YOU. Everything outside of you should compliment and not be a replacement for own greatness. You are great all by yourself. Please DO get in the habit of seeing the significance in your own self.

Now, that I’ve had my spaghetti dinner I will be getting to bed early so I can race tomorrow morning. What can I say, I told you I was a creature of habit. What kind of habits or superstitions support and compliment your active lifestyle?

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