Paul’s 11-Cent Dare

United States penny, obverse, 2002

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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?

I Find Pennies

A variety of the low-value coins, including an...

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I was researching an emotionally difficult issue when I retrieved a voicemail from Cousin Tom, official advisor to this blog.  “Anne, I’ve been reading the blog and it’s getting a little depressing,” he said.  “I mean, I read the John Mellencamp post and now that he’s dating Meg Ryan, maybe you can do a positive post on that.”  Heady stuff cousin Tom, heady stuff.   If you wondered at all, I have lots of positive things to share.  I mean, I find pennies.  I’ve been reluctant to share this because it seems sometimes pedantic, and I haven’t quite figured out why I find them.  So I talked to my work colleague Gloria about it, asking, “Hey Glow, am I making this up or do I find pennies a lot?”   She pondered a moment.  “Gallagher, I never find pennies except when I am with you.  You find them all the time.  I never do.”  Glow and I were walking out of our office the other day and there one sat.  “Where did that come from?” she asked.  “I just walked through here and there was no penny.”  I picked it up and smiled.  I find them all the time.  I’m not quite sure what they mean but I think they are a sign of some sort.  I interpret them to be signs telling me to continue on with things I am not always comfortable with, like writing this blog and working to complete the longer memoir on it.  “Glow, what do pennies mean to you?” I asked, hoping she had some insight I lacked.  She did.  Some people see finding pennies as good luck; others see a penny with the ‘tails’ side down and flip it over to the “heads” side so someone else will have good luck; we throw pennies on ponds and wish on them; they are a sign of something or other; and for some people, they mean absolutely nothing.  I find pennies and they encourage me though I’m not sure why.  Do you find pennies?  Do you find anything?  What do they mean to you?