In Western culture, a four-leaf clover is often considered to bestow good luck. Luck is the concept that defines the experience of notably positive, negative, or improbable events. The naturalistic interpretation is that positive and negative events happen all the time in human lives, both due to random and non-random natural and artificial processes, and that even improbable events can happen by random chance. Supernatural interpretations of luck consider it to be an attribute of a person or object, or the result of a favorable or unfavorable view of a deity upon a person. These interpretations often prescribe how luckiness or unluckiness can be obtained, such as by carrying a lucky charm or making sacrifices or prayers to a deity. Many superstitions are related to luck, though these are often specific to a given culture or set of related cultures, and sometimes contradictory. For example, lucky symbols include the number 7 in Christian-influenced cultures, but the number 8 in Chinese-influenced cultures. Luck is the result of chance. Luck applies to a sentient being. Old French cheance from Late Latin cadentia “falling”.
Luck is interpreted and understood in many different ways. Luck refers to that which happens to a person beyond that person’s control. This view incorporates phenomena that are chance happenings, a person’s place of birth for example, but where there is no uncertainty involved, or where the uncertainty is irrelevant. Constitutional luck, that is, luck with factors that cannot be changed. Place of birth and genetic constitution are typical examples. Circumstantial luck—with factors that are haphazardly brought on. Accidents and epidemics are typical examples. Ignorance luck, that is, luck with factors one does not know about.
Examples can be identified only in hindsight. Another view holds that “luck is probability taken personally. A rationalist approach to luck includes the application of the rules of probability and an avoidance of unscientific beliefs. In the rationalist perspective, probability is only affected by confirmed causal connections. The gambler’s fallacy and inverse gambler’s fallacy both explain some reasoning problems in common beliefs in luck. They involve denying the unpredictability of random events: “I haven’t rolled a seven all week, so I’ll definitely roll one tonight”. Philosopher Daniel Dennett wrote that “luck is mere luck” rather than a property of a person or thing. There is also a series of spiritual, or supernatural beliefs regarding fortune. These beliefs vary widely from one to another, but most agree that luck can be influenced through spiritual means by performing certain rituals or by avoiding certain circumstances.
Luck can also be a belief in an organization of fortunate and unfortunate events. Luck is a form of superstition which is interpreted differently by different individuals. Carl Jung coined the term synchronicity, which he described as “a meaningful coincidence”. What will happen to you for offering food and wine to the gods you call good luck and fate? Mesoamerican religions, such as the Aztecs, Mayans and Incas, had particularly strong beliefs regarding the relationship between rituals and the gods, which could in a similar sense to Abrahamic religions be called luck or providence. Many traditional African practices, such as voodoo and hoodoo, have a strong belief in superstition. Some of these religions include a belief that third parties can influence an individual’s luck. Some evidence supports the idea that belief in luck acts like a placebo, producing positive thinking and improving people’s responses to events. In personality psychology, people reliably differ from each other depending on four key aspects: beliefs in luck, rejection of luck, being lucky, and being unlucky.
People who believe in good luck are more optimistic, more satisfied with their lives, and have better moods. Some people intentionally put themselves in situations that increase the chances of a serendipitous encounter, such as socializing with people who work in different fields. Luck is an important factor in many aspects of society. Thus skill enhances expectation and reduces luck. The extent to which different games will depend on luck, rather than skill or effort, varies considerably. Almost all sports contain elements of luck. A defining feature of a lottery is that winners are selected purely by chance. Marketing and other discussions regarding lotteries often mention luck. Leaving it to chance” is a way of resolving issues. For example, flipping a coin at the start of a sporting event may determine who goes first.