Today being Friday the 13th, it seemed apropos to delve into a legend found at the Hockey Hall of Fame.
It isn’t a great player or team- it is a $1 coin (called a ‘Loonie”).
During the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, the Zamboni driver buried this Canadian Loonie at Center Ice. The players in the tournament were well aware that this coin was buried at Center Ice. The Women’s and Men’s Canadian teams both went on to win gold medals. When the women won gold, some of the players skated to the location of the coin to kiss the ice where it was located. Wayne Gretzky, who was aware of the “lucky charm”, urgently called the coach urging them not to bring attention to the ice for fear that the losing team would “FIND OUT” about the coin!
It not uncommon for us to believe we influence events we really have no control over.
This is called the illusion of control.
Whether we hit the close door button on the elevator knowing it has zero impact or believe that selling shares of a stock is what made them go up or down, or blowing on the dice to give us the roll we want, our influence over events is completely out of line with reality.
And yet, we still believe in things like not washing our sports jersey in the playoffs gives us a better chance at winning or even our favorite professional team an edge…
The reason we still take these actions (believe we have control) is because we confuse this with intention. The hockey teams both intended to win knowing in advance that this coin had been creating wins leading to the finals. So of course, they played the finals with this intention.
It makes sense that we want to feel like we can control things we can’t….
Sometimes believing we have control over things we don’t is a good thing. It can make decision making easier because if we have influence with our superstition then we know the decision is the RIGHT one.
The biggest problem with the illusion of control is that it leads to frustration and sometimes even to anger. We blame ourselves for outcomes that aren’t our fault. It leads us to accepting “blame” where it doesn’t exist. Perfectionists tend to suffer the most from the illusion of control.
So how do we manage Illusion of Control?
Here are some basic steps:
- Ask yourself if you REALLY have control over the event/situation?
- Are there ways to influence the areas over which you lack control?
Example, with a strained relationship with a colleague; you might be able to ask them (without pointing fingers) what the issue is and how you might resolve it. It’s possible that you hurt their feelings in the past without realizing it. It’s also possible that there’s nothing that you can do.
3. Acknowledge and accept the things over which you have no control.
Learning to break down the reality and understand that in most situations – there is no blame to be had and that others have control over the outcomes - can make it easier to deal with.
Once we have taken these steps we can focus on the cause and effect of EFFORT….
Making an effort to not eat junk food has a direct relationship with your health. Reading, taking classes has a direct effect on your IQ and/or E IQ.
Keeping a lucky penny in your pocket in hopes you won’t get COVID-19? Not so sure….
+Quote: “If I just put my mind to it, I know that I will make it happen.”