Paul’s 11-Cent Dare

United States penny, obverse, 2002

Image via Wikipedia

As February gives way to March, the waning gray winter days have yelped out for some inspiration.  When I read Paul Trout’s wonderful blog post, Create Your Own Luck:  The 11-cent Dare, the other day, inspiration arrived.

As Paul explained on his website blog Paul Trout Executive Consulting, “The problem with waiting for luck to happen to one’s self is very “me-centric.”  What if you could create your own luck by being others’ “unexpected serendipity”? In other words, can you create luck for yourself by helping others feel lucky?”  If you read the rest of Paul’s post, you’ll see that he does in fact create his own sense of good fortune by randomly distributing 11 pennies.

When I checked my coin purse this morning, it contained exactly 11 pennies — a true sign that I should take his 11-cent dare.  For the second time since since reading Paul’s post , inspiration had hit and I hadn’t even begun the challenge.

As readers of Anne on Fire may know, I am a penny fan.  There are encounters with serendipity, life’s little good luck charms or just small bits of encouragement.  Apparently pennies intrigue other people too — roughly 100 people have randomly visited my blog and the I Find Pennies post through Internet searches for “Finding Pennies,” and “What Do Pennies Mean?”

Like Paul Trout, I’d always been “me-centric” about pennies, wondering where they came from and what meaning they held for me.  It’s about time that I initiated the chain and scattered some random pennies.

Bunching 11 pennies in my hand, I walked outside  Along the block around my office, I dropped a penny here and there.   In the minute it took to walk to my car, I saw three people exit the job re-training center and spot a penny on the ground.  One of them leaned over and picked it up.  It felt good to see it.

“The psychological secret of opportunity is that human beings are programmed to reciprocate to those who have helped them.  But when they can’t help the person who helped them directly immediately, they often help others,” Paul wrote on his blog.

I am on my way.  Thank you Paul Trout.

Will you join in the 11-cent dare?


  1. What does 11 cent mean.I don’t get it.My mother and I have been finding a penny and a dime every where we and I go alone . My mother said she noticed it when my dad died in 1973.She died in 2009. It stopped briefly. I now see the penny and dime and never pick them up again.Other people pick them up.One lady in a laundry mat picked it up and prayed.once you find the dime then you find the penny or the penny first then the dime next. I have now been finding quarters in strange places. I pick those up.


  2. Anne,

    I’m so thrilled you took the 11 cent dare…must have been a sign from the universe that you had exactly 11 pennies in your purse to do so. Isn’t it a great feeling to see others pick them up, knowing you left them there. Kudos to you for creating your own luck!

    – Paul Trout


    1. Paul Trout and Anne Gallagher are friends. Anne and Bob are friends. Paul and Bob are friends. This strange world just keeps getting smaller…..hmmm.

      Good luck to all.



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