Do You Believe?

Bud_LightThis time of the year friends in the U.S. often gather (come together) at someone’s house or in a sports bar to watch Sunday afternoon (American) football and cheer on (encourage) their favorite teams. In a new Bud Light beer commercial, we see these people clapping and waving their hands (moving them back and forth above their heads) or stamping their feet (putting them down loudly) in unison (at the same time). We see them waving towels the color of their favorite team or touching a copy of their favorite team’s helmet (hard protective cap).

While you watch the fans (someone who likes a sport or team) in the commercial, you’ll hear the narrator (the person who tells the story or describes what is happening) say:

We’ll never know if somehow, in some way,

we can affect (influence or change) the outcome (result) of a game.

But when the clock’s winding down (the game’s almost over)

and everything’s on the line (there’s a possibility of losing),

we all believe.

At the end of the commercial, a bottle of Bud Light appears on the screen with the words “It’s only weird (strange, unusual) if it doesn’t work.”

What we see in the commercial are a few of the rituals (something you do regularly in the same way) performed by many sports fans to try to bring good luck (make good things happen) to their favorite team. And sports fans aren’t the only ones. Many people do or wear things to try to bring themselves good luck or to avoid bad luck.

Do these things work? Do they bring us good luck? Or help us avoid bad luck? Some people insist they do. But many say no. If they don’t work, why do them?

Two scientists tried to answer that question recently. They asked a group of students to make a statement – “I will not have a car accident this winter” – out loud (so other people could hear it). Later, they compared (to see how they were the same or different) that group with a group of students that did not make that statement. The students who made the statement believed they were more likely (there was a greater possibility) to have an accident than the second group. In other words, they believed they had jinxed themselves (invited bad luck) by making that statement.

Part of the first group was then asked to “knock on wood” – to hit the top of a wooden table like you would knock on someone’s door when you visit them. Many people believe that knocking on wood will help you avoid bad luck. And that’s what happened for many of the students who did it: at the beginning they feared they would have an accident; but after knocking on wood, the fear disappeared.

Do actions, or rituals, change our luck? Does making a statement invite bad luck? And does knocking on wood change the bad luck to good luck? Maybe; maybe not. But, according to the scientists, they change they way people feel about their luck. One writer calls them “comfort mechanisms” – little habits (something you often do without thinking) to ease our minds (to make us worry less) and reassure (make someone feel calmer and less worried or frightened) ourselves.

What about you? Do you practice any rituals or wear something special to help bring you good luck or avoid bad luck? Many people do.

~ Warren Ediger – English tutor/coach and creator of Successful English, where you can learn how to “Turbocharge your reading and listening” for better English.

Scene from Bud Light commercial via YouTube.


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19 Responses to Do You Believe?

  1. Edgar says:

    In the world they are many people that relay on different thing and they live for it. and I have learned that we live for what we believe. Regardless I’ve personally learned reading the bible that our luck is on God’s hand.

  2. Walid911 says:

    It’s anice topic to bring in ,and it’s very controversial, for bad luck never appears to be chasing me on purpose ,but I may believe in good luck,and that what makes us start to make some statements like these ones you brought in the topic, according to the studies it brought bad luck to the people who had said it,and in my opinion i donot believe in rituals cause you cannot prevent something destined to happen to you,but you may reduce its effect by being prepare for it not with depression but satisfaction and hope.

  3. Dan says:

    Hey Warren,

    My first answer would have been that word that start with bull…. but since this is such a polite environment and a public blog I have to come up with something else.

    I would say that every human activity that brings us together is welcomed. Even if that involve making senseless actions such as the ones seen in the video.

    By the way, I love those commercials. Especially the funny ones.

    Personally, I do not have rituals. I do often wear the same stuff, but that is just laziness and part of my simple lifestyle of owning the essential.

    Over here, instead of saying “knock on wood” they say “touching metal/iron” or parts of the body I cannot mention.

    Thank you. Look forward of reading you guys.

  4. luiza Oliveira says:

    I think that we make our life as we think. We can attract good or bad things as the energy that we connect through our actions and thoughts.

  5. Aécio Flávio Perim says:

    I personally do not believe this garbage. No one can control his destiny by doing rituals. Since the ancient times men make up dancing, songs, prayers, gesture of faith, close the eyes and pretend believe in some superior gods. They say that after life there will be a place where you can live in happiness or otherwise you can suffer the eternity for bad behavior and sins. Whether you believe or not is not my concern, each one has his life and must take care of it while alive. Be good for this kind of behavior makes your blood clean of poisons and you do not have to pay money.
    Aecio bible-lover.

  6. Marcelo says:

    I don’t have any rituals, I just believe in positive things, it helps me to keep head up and keep going.

    Thanks for this excellent topic!


  7. Ando says:

    As a materialist,it’s just like a joke.But i have to say that “knock on wood” is effective .I used to use this way to calm myself when I have an interview or a test .

    However ,lucky or unlucky is no matter .You life depends on yourself .


  8. Myo ko ko says:

    Hi, Warren,
    In my book, these things are totally nonsense.
    First we need to definitely define the word ‘luck’.
    So what does “luck” mean? My answer is that I don’t know exactly! 😉
    To give a rough answer here, it means one’s work.
    Here the work is not a profession we do to earn a living.
    It’s one’s effort to bring good condition to oneself.

    Let’s see this example;
    Suppose our friend Aecio (from Brazil) were to go sit for an interview for a job.
    If he is not well- prepared for it in advance, my poor friend won’t get the job.
    Anything that people assume to bring good luck won’t be able to make him get the job.
    Because we see he’s faild to do ‘good effort,’ he won’t be seeing his lucky star at the interview.

    So we are the thing itself that brings good luck to us.
    I always believe in this notion, belief.
    Something superstitious is out of my book.

    Having said that,
    I have had my own experience of doing such nonsense thing in the past.
    It happened when I was in grade 11 and about to sit for a final exam.
    In our education system, that exam is so important for students that its results determine which students
    go to which college or university. So, both students and their parents are worried and excited about that
    exam. Back to my story, during exam days, my parents insisted me to take such nonsense things with me
    to exam hall. In front of my parents I said, ” Yes sure, I would,” to make them pleased. But as you guys guess,
    I didn’t…. yep except one day when I had to answer questions about Physics.
    You know I was bad at Physics! 😉

    Myo ko ko

  9. Aécio Flávio Perim says:

    Hello, Ando. Nice to read your words about this deep issue. I do not know what kind of belief you have about life after death. All I can say is that if no one went there how can some one says what it is like? Some people think I have strange ideas about after life. I do not care! I follow my mind and I believe that I will go some where one day in the future. Where it is does not matter! Good luck on your beliefs.
    Aecio, heaven believer.

  10. Myo ko ko says:

    Hi emiliano,

    I’m sorry to hear you’ve come down with a cold.
    Take care of yourself my friend please.
    And don’t sit in front of computer nor read the books for too long time.
    We have a saying that says: Keep your head in calm and your legs in warm.
    What it means is that ” don’t put many things into your head, that is, don’t think too much and
    keep your legs from exposing to the water very so often.”
    Yes, it’s right. If our legs get wet, we feel uncomfortable and that can lead to an illness.

    Again, take cares
    Myo ko ko

  11. Wang says:

    Thank Warren for bringing up an interesting topic!

    Personally, I believe that every human community has its own certain things to blame for its unpredictable failure, maybe not all, but neither a small amount of people would do!

    Like Myo’s country, every student will have to take annually an university entrance exam, nationwide, which will eliminate plenty of unqualified students from the list of universities.

    As an Asian particularly and as being parents in general, I think all of you would agree that our children are the most important things in the world. So every step, milestone in their lives

    would be the most important too. As the exam date coming close, you can see a lot of pressure on our parents getting more noticeable. There is a saying that passes thru among the adults like this:

    if you want your children pass an exam, keep them away from eating bananas and pumpkin but eat whatever beans as much as they can. Now, I will give you a rough explanation about the saying and it’s quite funny.

    We call pumpkin is “bi” in our language but the sound would be like “bee” in English which means that you can’t make something work out, in this case it is the exam.

    he he he, it would be really painful and embarrassing, I guess, when we are walking on a road and step on a banana’s rind? therefore, it means a fall, a failure in taking an exam

    Beans, we call it is “dau” in our language and it sounds like “pass”, to imitate the sound of it in English I would suggest you say it as “dough”

    he he he, It is just a funny urban legend and quite popular in my country…hope you all like it!

    Hey, Emillano, hope you will recover soon from the under-weather…keep yourself warm my friend, Gosh bless you!

    Best regard!


  12. Ando says:

    Hello Aécio.In my mind, i hope that the world beyond death really exists.

    Because i hope if my family members or friends die ,their souls can have a peaceful place to settle down.

    And one day ,i will meet them again .

    But,on the other hand ,I always feel this mind is stupid.

    Death is a word full of fear and unknown .


  13. Øyvor Steinsheim says:

    Thanks for your post=)
    No comments from me today, I just want to say hello and wish all of you a wonderful day=)

  14. emiliano says:

    thank you Myo ko ko, i feel really bad with the flu
    nearly a week already and with high fever.

    Thank you my friend.


  15. Myo ko ko says:

    Hey, Wang
    I remembered my parents also told me not to eat eggs during exam days.
    You see eggs are look very much like zeros (0s) and the silly idea is they relate to failure.
    We know eggs are good for our brains. They are rich with many nutrients.
    They aids us in making our studying process easy-going.
    So the idea not to eat eggs during sitting for exams is a blatant superstition!

    Myo ko ko

  16. Aécio Flávio Perim says:

    Ando, I hope to meet you there.

  17. cauat says:

    Hi Warren,
    I do have no ritual for bring me goodluck in my life, sometimes blind faith doesn’t have any sense but wastes my time.
    however, the funny thing is every time while I had bad luck, let’s say losting money ?I always consider, when I thought it is miserable, some people are more miserable than me , they might lose their house ,they might have a car accident and so on…
    Maybe this situation is very common in China, because there is an old saying that goes, misfortune might be a blessing in disguise.

    best regards,


  18. Mehdi Karimi says:

    Good luck or bad luck is definitely a superstition.We must believe your functions,your efforts and struggle to achieve our ambitions.We try to think wisely,do perfectly and finally we always reach our goals.

  19. Aécio Flávio Perim says:

    Mehdi, Wise words! That who read about civilizations know that men have beliefs for life after death since ancient times. The problem is that men don’t understand what death is like. The fear, the unknown, the mysteries, all this make men use their mind and make up things. We must not take wrong the way people love their beliefs. It is their problem.
    Aecio, from beautiful Brazil, where there is not sins, only nature and life.

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