Are Good Luck Charms Actually Lucky?

Oliver Franz | 13 March, 2024

Topics: Minitab Statistical Software, 1-Proportion Test

With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, we at Minitab have been exploring data-driven ways maximize our luck. Fortunately, we have the statistical prowess to measure the effectiveness of different methods.  

The use of lucky charms dates back to ancient civilizations. Despite their long history, no one has been able to prove that they actually bring good fortune or attract prosperity... until now! 


How Rare are Four-Leaf Clovers? 

Years ago, we set out on a quest to figure out just how rare four-leaf clovers really were 

Today, to measure the effectiveness of good luck charms, we needed to find something to search for that would signify a stroke of luck upon discovery. Given the time of year, we thought four-leaf clovers would be a perfect fit. 

But how rare are they really? It turns out they are quite uncommon: only 1 in 10,001 clovers have four leaves. 

Realizing the significance of this rarity, we knew that conducting a substantial test would be crucial to gather reliable insights. 


Why leave your decisions to chance? Try Minitab Statistical Software for free today!Download Now

The Role of Good Luck Charms 

Since we wanted to see if having a good luck charm in your pocket increased the likelihood of finding a four-leaf clover, and because it is known that .01% of clovers are four-leaf clovers, we had the baseline data we needed to conduct a 1-Proportion Test. In simple terms, we decided to test whether or not carrying a good luck charm would enable us to find a four-leaf clover more than .01% of the time. 

We assembled a search team and gave each member a good luck charm to keep in their pocket (we can’t tell you what we gave them; how many of the world’s secrets can we disclose in one blog?). Then, the team went out to find as many clovers as they could, regardless of the number of leaves. Upon returning, they had collected over 10,000 clovers; 11,532 to be exact. We sorted through the clovers and found that 6 of them were indeed four-leaf clovers.  

We then entered this data into Minitab to determine if chance could account for this higher number or if we can say definitively that good luck charms statistically do what they say they do: increase your luck. Our results were as follows: 

With a P-Value well below .05, we can confidently reject the null hypothesis that good luck charms do not actually impact your luck. Clearly, the good luck charms given to our team in this instance greatly increased the chances of finding four-leaf clovers—a difference that could not be explained by chance.  Mystery solved! 


Why Rely on Luck When You Have Data? 

While most business challenges are more serious or complex than the one we presented, harnessing the power of data-driven decision making can lead to supernatural results. Whether you are closing major deals, building cutting-edge technology, evaluating hospital readmission rates or even searching for four-leaf clovers, there is no need to leave your biggest decisions to chance—especially with access to Minitab’s tools and resources. 

Minitab’s solutions enable you to make minor, major and critical decisions through a data-driven lens.  

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! 

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