Uncover: Why Aren’t You Supposed to Say Good Luck?

Saying “good luck” is a common phrase used to wish someone well, particularly before an important event. However, it has been questioned whether this phrase is actually meaningful or if there are superstitions associated with it. The belief is that saying “good luck” implies that success is dependent on chance rather than the person’s efforts.

Key Takeaways:

  • There are superstitions associated with saying “good luck”.
  • Some believe that saying “good luck” implies success is dependent on chance.
  • Alternative phrases can be used to convey well wishes without relying solely on luck.
  • Understanding cultural beliefs about saying “good luck” can help avoid jinxing or bringing bad luck.
  • Personal efforts and qualities play a significant role in achieving success.

The Psychology Behind “Good Luck”

When it comes to saying “good luck,” there is more than meets the eye. The psychological effects of this commonly used phrase can have a significant impact on individuals, particularly in relation to self-esteem and belief in luck and success.

Research has shown that people with low self-esteem are more likely to interpret mentions of luck in a negative light. When they attribute their success solely to luck, they may be less persistent in their efforts and less proud of their accomplishments. On the other hand, those who believe in their own abilities and take personal responsibility for their success are more likely to attribute their achievements to their own qualities and actions, leading to greater motivation and persistence.

Belief in luck also influences how individuals perceive and interpret failures. Those who attribute their failures to external factors, such as bad luck, may have a more defeatist mindset and struggle to bounce back from setbacks. Alternatively, individuals who believe in their own abilities and view failure as a learning opportunity are more likely to persevere and achieve success in the long run.

The Role of Self-Esteem

One crucial factor in the psychology of saying “good luck” is self-esteem. Low self-esteem can make individuals more susceptible to negative interpretations of luck, while high self-esteem encourages a belief in personal agency and the power of one’s efforts. By fostering a positive sense of self-worth, individuals are more likely to view luck as a passing factor and place greater emphasis on their own abilities and actions.

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” – Seneca

It is important to recognize the psychological impact of the words we use and the beliefs we hold. While saying “good luck” may seem harmless, it can subtly influence an individual’s mindset and perception of their own abilities. By promoting a belief in personal agency and emphasizing the role of effort and preparation in success, we can empower individuals to take control of their own destinies and achieve their goals.

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Table: Factors Influencing Belief in Luck

Factors Impact on Belief in Luck
Self-esteem Low self-esteem can lead to a greater belief in luck and external factors influencing success.
Attribution style Those who attribute success to internal factors are less likely to believe in luck, while those who attribute success to luck may have a stronger belief in its influence.
Cultural upbringing Cultural beliefs and practices can shape an individual’s belief in luck and superstitions surrounding it.

The Cultural Significance of Saying “Good Luck”

When it comes to saying “good luck,” different cultures have diverse beliefs and superstitions associated with this phrase. Some cultures believe that uttering these words can actually bring bad luck or jinx an individual, which is why alternative phrases or gestures are used instead. In German and Russian cultures, for example, there are variations of both “good luck” and “success” wishes, providing options for individuals to express their well wishes without relying on luck.

The avoidance of saying “good luck” in certain cultures highlights the importance of cultural diversity in the way people express their well wishes. In Hebrew culture, only “success” is offered as a choice, emphasizing the belief that success is more strongly influenced by one’s efforts and actions rather than luck alone. This cultural significance sheds light on the power of language and the impact it can have on individuals’ mindset and perception of success.

It’s important to note that cultural beliefs around saying “good luck” can vary widely, and it’s crucial to be mindful and respectful of these differences. Understanding and respecting these cultural nuances can help foster inclusivity and ensure that our well wishes are received positively by individuals from different backgrounds.

Culture Beliefs about Saying “Good Luck” Alternative Phrases/Gestures
German Some variations believe saying “good luck” can bring bad luck. “Viel Erfolg” (Good success)
Russian Superstitions suggest that saying “good luck” can jinx an individual. “Удачи” (Good luck) or “Желаю успеха” (I wish you success)
Hebrew Believes that success is more influenced by efforts rather than luck. Only “בהצלחה” (Success)

The Origin of Not Saying “Good Luck”

Exploring the historical beliefs about good luck wishes can provide valuable insights into why saying “good luck” is often avoided. One notable figure who delved into the concept of luck and success was Aristotle, the ancient Greek philosopher. Aristotle questioned whether a noble life is achieved through luck or through one’s own qualities and actions. His views shed light on the importance of personal efforts in achieving success.

Aristotle believed that luck plays a role in our lives, but he emphasized that it is not the sole determinant of success. He argued that individuals have control over their actions, choices, and character, which significantly influence their outcomes. According to Aristotle, cultivating virtues and developing one’s skills are vital factors in achieving a successful and fulfilling life.

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This historical perspective on luck and success offers valuable insights into why saying “good luck” may be seen as a superficial or dismissive remark. By acknowledging the significance of personal efforts and character, we shift the focus from chance to individual agency. This encourages a mindset rooted in resilience, determination, and self-belief, rather than relying on luck alone.

The Influence of Aristotle’s Views

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” – Seneca

Aristotle’s ideas on luck and success have had a lasting impact on philosophy, psychology, and personal development. His belief in the power of individual agency resonates with the concept that luck is not a mystical force but rather a product of preparation and seizing opportunities.

By understanding the historical context and philosophical perspectives surrounding luck and success, we can appreciate the reasons behind the avoidance of saying “good luck” and the emphasis on personal efforts. This empowers us to choose our words wisely and convey well wishes that encourage and inspire others to take control of their own paths to success.

historical beliefs about good luck wishes

Famous Sayings Instead of “Good Luck”

Instead of saying “good luck,” there are several alternative phrases and famous sayings that can be used to convey well wishes and encouragement. These phrases offer a unique and personalized way to express support and positive energy. Some examples include:

  • “Break a leg”: This saying is commonly used in the performing arts to wish someone good luck before a performance. It originated from the belief that wishing someone actual good luck would bring the opposite result, so the phrase “break a leg” was used as a humorous alternative.
  • “May the force be with you”: A popular phrase from the Star Wars franchise, this saying has become a symbol of support and encouragement. It implies the hope that the person will have the strength and guidance needed to succeed in their endeavors.
  • “Best wishes”: A simple and straightforward phrase that conveys sincere well wishes. It is a versatile phrase that can be used in various situations, from exams and interviews to birthdays and special occasions.

“The harder I work, the luckier I get.” – Samuel Goldwyn

This quote by Samuel Goldwyn emphasizes the importance of hard work and effort in achieving success. It suggests that luck is not simply a matter of chance, but rather a result of dedicated perseverance. Instead of relying solely on luck, this quote encourages individuals to take action and put in the necessary work to create their own opportunities.

By using these alternative phrases and famous sayings, you can convey your well wishes in a unique and meaningful way. Whether you choose to break a leg, invoke the force, or simply offer your best wishes, remember that the words you choose can have a powerful impact on others.

alternative phrases to saying good luck


In conclusion, there are various reasons why saying “good luck” is not always preferred. Firstly, it has been found that the psychological effects of attributing success solely to luck can hinder personal growth and achievement, particularly for individuals with low self-esteem. By recognizing the role of their efforts, individuals are more likely to persist and take pride in their accomplishments.

Additionally, cultural beliefs and superstitions also contribute to the avoidance of saying “good luck.” Some cultures believe that uttering these words can bring bad luck or jinx an outcome. As a result, alternative phrases or gestures are used to express well wishes without relying solely on luck.

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Understanding the reasons behind this avoidance can lead to the use of alternative phrases that convey support and positive energy. Instead of relying on the phrase “good luck,” consider using popular alternatives like “break a leg” or “may the force be with you.” These unique and personalized expressions can empower and motivate others without invoking the concept of luck.

In summary, it is important to be mindful of the psychological effects and cultural beliefs surrounding the phrase “good luck.” By acknowledging the efforts of individuals and expressing well wishes without relying solely on luck, we can foster a more empowering and motivating environment. So, next time you want to wish someone well, remember to choose your words wisely and consider the impact they can have.


Why aren’t you supposed to say “good luck”?

Saying “good luck” is believed to imply that success is dependent on chance rather than a person’s efforts. It can also be seen as jinxing or bringing bad luck in some cultures.

What are the psychological effects of saying “good luck”?

Research suggests that people with low self-esteem may interpret mentions of luck negatively. When success is attributed solely to luck, individuals tend to be less persistent, less proud of their accomplishments, and more likely to blame external factors for their failures.

What are the cultural beliefs about saying “good luck”?

Some cultures believe that saying “good luck” can bring bad luck. Alternative phrases or gestures are used instead to convey well wishes. In German and Russian, there are versions of both “good luck” and “success” wishes, while in Hebrew, only “success” is offered as a choice.

What is the historical belief about not saying “good luck”?

Philosophers like Aristotle questioned whether success is achieved through luck or one’s own qualities and actions. This historical perspective sheds light on the reasons behind avoiding saying “good luck” and emphasizes the importance of personal efforts in achieving success.

Are there alternative phrases to saying “good luck”?

Yes, instead of saying “good luck,” phrases like “break a leg” (common in the performing arts) and “may the force be with you” (from the Star Wars franchise) can be used to convey well wishes and encouragement in a unique and personalized way.

What is the conclusion about saying “good luck”?

The reasons behind not saying “good luck” are rooted in the psychological effects it can have on individuals and the cultural beliefs associated with luck and jinxing. Understanding these factors can lead to the use of alternative phrases or gestures that convey well wishes without solely relying on luck.

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My name is Sandra, and I am the head content creator of isitgoodluck.com. We created this website to share our thoughts and experiences on the topic of luck and to explore the many different ways people think about and talk about luck in their lives.

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