How to get rid of bad luck – Italian practices

One day, you wake up late: your alarm clock didn’t go off. Damn it! You have an exam today! You rush to get your car but you stumble and fall. When you finally get to school, you fail your exam. And, on the way back to your car, a bird decides to poop right on your shoulder. 

Bad luckIf you normally experience these situations, congratulations, you are like Donald Duck or Ugo Fantozzi. In short, you are having bad luck – or someone evil-eyed you1 – and you’d better batten down the hatches…

Italians usually believe that some things can bring bad luck. And since they generally take bad luck very seriously, they have also invented many ways to fight it.


  • A black cat crossing your path
  • Number 17
  • Breaking a mirror. This will bring you 7 years of bad luck
  • Opening an umbrella inside a house
  • Spilling salt
  • Walking under a ladder



  • Crossing your fingers – usually index with middle finger
  • Touching something made of iron
  • Crotch-grabbing – only for males
  • Making the sign of the horns with your hands
  • Throwing some salt over your shoulder


Italians really believe in the effectiveness of these practices to get rid of bad luck, and you’re welcome to try them, if you wish. However, in case they won’t work, you may be happy to know that a new study by Richard Wiseman, seems to demonstrate that luck and bad luck are just a case of mind over matter.

Indeed, while people who feel lucky are able to spot opportunities, unlucky people are not because they are in a constant state of tension. To test this, Wiseman, gave a newspaper to both people who felt lucky and people who felt unlucky. The task was to count the total number of images there were in it. “Lucky” people completed the task in seconds, while the “unlucky” ones took 2 minutes. The reason? “Unlucky” people were so focused on images that they failed to notice a message on the second page of the newspaper saying that the total number of images was 43!

Moreover, “lucky” people tend to follow their intuition and feelings, while “unlucky” people do the opposite. In doing so, they find themselves in situations that could have avoided if they had followed their instinct – i.e. if you’ve assembled a board, you’ve put on it your books and you’re having the feeling that it won’t support the weight, just follow your instinct because it will probably fall down.

Finally, on the contrary of “unlucky” people, the “lucky” ones create their mental positivity: they always see a glass half-full.
When Wiseman asked them how they would feel if they were shot at the arm by a robber in a bank, “lucky” people replied that they would feel blessed, because they could be dead. “Unlucky” people, instead, replied that they would feel doomed to bad luck because, as usual, they were in the wrong place at the wrong moment.

The moral is that you can use whatever object or gesture to get rid of bad luck, but ultimately what really counts is you. Only you can make the difference.


  1. Relax
  2. Grasp new opportunities
  3. Try to see the positive sides of a situation
  4. Strongly believe that something positive will happen

You’ll see that things are going to improve – whether you have a red cornetto or not. After all, it’s all a matter of attitude.

And what about you? Have you a particular strategy to get rid of bad luck?

1. I’ll talk about this in another article


Original image by Ana_J


  1. Pingback: Italian evil-eye

  2. Smart thinking. I believe as you do Mr Wiseman

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