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Kissing the Blarney Stone

Against the Rules presents

The Spaceman’s Ritual with Dr. Laurie Santos


You likely know by now that I enjoy listening to podcasts when I am walking the neighborhood or exercising. I came across the podcast you will hear below as I was scanning Michael Lewis’ podcast series ‘Against the Rules’ that I brought to your attention earlier this year.


The interesting thing to me was that Michael was highlighting a provocative podcast from Dr. Laurie Santos, professor at Yale University and sponsor of her own podcast series called The Happiness Lab that caught my eye with the intriguing title “The Spaceman’s Ritual.” I don’t know if it was because of Michael Strahan’s recent Blue Origin space trip or if I was just curious about how a spaceman’s ritual was tied to happiness but I decided to give it a listen. Wow! I really found it interesting and I immediately identified with the subject of rituals and how they can calm our fears and trepidation about upcoming frightening and unsettling events in our lives.


I have no doubt that you will find a few good nuggets of knowledge about how rituals are used by athletes, performers, and even astronauts to calm their nerves and get them into a top psychological mindset whether it be for a baseball game, onstage performance, or a launch into space.


Speaking of journey, many of you will find interesting the experiment conducted with ordinary folks like you and me who were asked by a team of behavioral psychologists to sing the rock group Journey song ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ into a computer, karaoke-style. I know for many of my friends in Michigan ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ is a love/hate thing if you happen to go to a Detroit Tigers or Redwings game. You will be amazed at the benefit a little simple ritual does to the singers who perform this difficult song with no singing experience.


Finally, you will want to listen to this podcast to construct a set of rituals for your life in order to deal with pretty big occasions such as a new job, first date, a competitive sport, meeting the Grinch, or having a baby (the last two have a family connection). Dr. Santos provides necessary and useful information to make sure the rituals you create are effective and work in relieving anxiety and keeping you calm and collected.


For me, I am definitely superstitious and will do a lot of stupid stuff if it brings continued good luck or pulls me out of despair with a few simple songs from my music library. I know I have played Tom Petty’s ‘The Last DJ’ and John Hiatt’s ‘Buffalo River Home’, hundreds of times to build up my confidence or strengthen my resolve for an upcoming event.


The title of this blog I took from an interview Dr. Santos had with former astronaut Scott Kelly about stupid rituals astronauts have before they are launched into space. Also, if you have actually ever ‘Kissed the Blarney Stone’ it is a pretty strange ritual, but I believe it actually has its benefits. Try it if you have the chance.


Please take a few minutes to listen to an interesting podcast. I think you will enjoy it and likely become a fan of Dr. Laurie Santos.

Stay safe and enjoy your family,


Roger N. Steed






Against the Rules presents

The Spaceman’s Ritual

with The Happiness Lab

with Dr. Laurie Santos


Listen here.

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