If you’ve been to a sushi restaurant, chances are you’ve seen a ceramic cat waving at you.
Wikipedia explains the various names of this feline friend:
The Maneki Neko (招き猫?, literally “Beckoning Cat”; also known as Welcoming Cat, Lucky Cat, Cat Swipe, Money cat, or Fortune Cat; sometimes incorrectly labeled Chinese Lucky Cat) is a common Japanese sculpture, often made of ceramic, which is believed to bring good luck to the owner.
The sculpture depicts a cat (traditionally a calico Japanese Bobtail) beckoning with an upright paw, and is usually displayed—many times at the entrance—in shops, restaurants, pachinko parlors, and other businesses.
John and I have turned “lucky cat” into a verb — as in, if we want something to happen, we might say, “Well, why don’t you lucky cat yourself a big freelance gig so we can afford to take that vacation?”
It’s not about ignoring the value of hard work or leaving success to chance. Instead, it’s acknowledging the X factor in success that we can’t control, and understanding that part of life is non linear and unpredictable. Like E.B. White, it’s being willing to be lucky.
“No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky.” ~ E.B. White
While John has shown me again and again that he can lucky cat things I’d have never believed — and I’ve lucky catted some amazing gifts myself — I’m sometimes tempted to keep my foot on the luck break.
I’m willing to be lucky … to a point.
The practical part of my brain will start to rationalize and to bargain down what I want.
Instead of allowing myself to dream really big, practical Colleen will begin managing expectations with thoughts like “But if I can’t make $200,000 a year doing marketing consulting for clients I love and doing speaking engagements helping people achieve their dreams, then maybe I could just get another freelance writing job or two to help pay the rent.”
When I feel myself getting in my own way, talking myself out of being lucky, I call up this mental picture:
Look up above the bar at a tiny sushi restaurant on Frenchmen Street in New Orleans and you’ll see not one lucky cat but a whole battalion of them. So many are lined up side by side and in rows that this cellphone picture I snapped can only show some of the cats.
What this image says to me is “I’m not summoning a little luck. I’m calling for a whole lotta luck. I’m not willing to accept the small amount of good luck that makes other people happy. I want a truck load of luck.”
To bend the E.B. White quote, I am willing to be really, really lucky.
Past blog posts on luck:
- Guidance to help you get lucky
- Feel the fear and do it anyway
- Setting my goals for 2011 as a comprehensive view of my life
- Be careful what you wish for: setting goals you’re sure you want
- Christine Kane: How to Create Anything (Even When You’re Scared, Inexperienced and Don’t Believe in Yourself)