Are you willing to be really, really lucky?

This is just one style of lucky cat statue. Maneki Neko takes many forms, including being white or gold, with either paw up or both.

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:

Why settle for one lucky cat when you can have a whole battalion of them?

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:


Categories: career, creativity, lifestyle

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9 replies

  1. Hi there! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d ask.
    Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest writing
    a blog article or vice-versa? My site covers a lot of the same subjects as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit
    from each other. If you might be interested feel free to
    shoot me an e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you!
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  2. I used to be so driven, so passionate, and a lot of “luck” used to come of it. Opportunities and connections were formed like magic. I miss that part of me – I wonder what happened. How can I get it back?

  3. Oh my, oh my! I loooooooove using “lucky cat” as a verb! I’m totally going to use that. I’ll work hard for what I want and then the universe will give me a little bump, like a high-five from the lucky cat. That is awesome.


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