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The Secret of Luck
by Serge Kahili King

What is the secret of luck? Why do some seem to have more of it than others? And if you don't have it, or don't have enough, how do you get more? Also, just what is luck?

Here is a very simple answer to the last question: luck is an experience that makes you feel good, whether you expected it or not. Now on to the how-tos.

First, what most people don't realize is that one way to have more luck is to get more knowledge. I don't mean intellectual knowledge, or just information. I mean knowledge of how to do things, such as how to use information or intellectual knowledge, or how to do anything well.

The more things you know how to do and the better you know how to do them, the more lucky you will be in relation to those things. As a Roman senator named Seneca said in the 1st century AD, "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity."

A second way to increase luck is to systematically reduce or eliminate all the fears, unhappiness, doubt, and stress that you can. After all, these are the things that interfere with good experiences in the first place. As they disappear, you are left with more and more good stuff, and the more good stuff you have inside, the more good stuff comes from outside. This follows the idea that "like attracts like." It is also the source of what some call "dumb luck," when, in a moment of fearless, tolerant, doubtless, stressless thinking, something good and totally unexpected or prepared for happens. Whether it lasts depends on how long the fearless, tolerant, doubtless, stressless thinking continues.

A third way is to "focus on what you want, and not on what you don't want." This is a little different than the previous one, because it is more active. For instance, it is well known that the people who win the lottery most often are those who buy tickets the most often. And the people who succeed the most often are those who have a purpose, set goals, and make plans. Oh, and they also modify plans when they don't work out. In other words, even when they make a plan, they focus on what they want, and not on the plan, which is just a tool.

A fourth way is to have a habit of expecting good in any given present moment. Some people grow up this way and good expectation is such a strong habit that they don't even realize what they are doing. These are the people who always seem to be lucky under any circumstances, in big ways or little ways. If you haven't grown up that way, you can always practice the habit. It isn't always easy to do, so here is something that might help if you repeat it often enough, especially right after something good has happened: "Everything is working out perfectly, because I am lucky, I always have been lucky, I always will be lucky, and every day in every way my luck keeps getting better."

A fifth way is to bless everything that you like or want. This means to acknowledge, appreciate, compliment, praise, and enjoy everything you think is good. The idea behind this is that whatever you bless will increase. On the other hand, whatever you criticize will increase as well, so make your choices carefully.

A sixth way is to purposely seek out ways to discover your limits, or if you have any. In the Kumulipo, a Hawaiian creation/geneological chant that contains some stories of Maui, the challenges that Maui undertakes are translated as "strifes." What is very interesting from our point of view here is that the Hawaiian word for "strife" or "strive" is kulia, which is the same as the Hawaiian word for "luck." The idea here is that the more you challenge yourself, the more lucky you will become.

And the seventh way is based on another Hawaiian word for luck: pono. The word has number of meanings, including correctness, well-being, prosperity, and good fortune, but the essential meaning is "goodness." This form of increasing luck relies on "doing good," not for the purpose of getting a reward, but because it is the right thing to do. Another way of saying it is "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." If you want to be healed, heal; if you want to be prosperous, prosper others; if you want to be loved, love (Seneca said that, too).

I'll finish with a proverb about good luck recorded by Mary Kawena Pukui:

He pa 'ai 'ia, ke pi'i ala ke aku
It is a good fishhook, for the aku fish are coming up

(said of a lucky person who never fails to get what he wants)

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