"Happy-Go-Lucky"- or, Winning in Life Without Trying
An Instant Champ
How could I ever forget my father-in-law on that day when he was teaching me how to play a card game which required quite some combinational skills, and which was popular in their family. Not that it was a part of my official initiation as a new family member, but it could have been useful to know how to play it, at least for those days when I would be a passive observer.
Well, he was undoubtedly an expert, but after having learned the basics of the game, I happened to be dealt a strong hand and I beat him. And then I beat him again, and again. Of course, it must have been a fluke, so he insisted that we play some more, obviously reluctant to get off the table as a loser against a lucky beginner like me.
What can I say, but he had no luck again with cards, and all his skill couldn't help him. Then he demonstratively threw his cards on the table, and walked away mumbling something.
Apparently, in gamblers' circles it's called "beginner's luck", and there must be something to it, because some decades and an emigration later it repeated itself at my first visit to a casino. I am not a gambler by mentality, if that doesn't mean taking chances in life, which I have done a lot. However, on some rare occasions I played on two-cents slot machines, and although I never won any big amounts, I was winning steadily.
As I am thinking now about some other times when Lady Luck smiled at me without any effort on my part, I remember how in my teen years I was almost regularly attracting those girls that I was not targeting. While entertaining a group of friends from neighborhood and school with my guitar and my romantic Pat Boone-ish voice, I would hear sighs coming from all other girls except for the one that I wanted to be affected by the horny cries of my guitar.
Capricious Lady Luck
Now, fast forward a few decades, and here I was in Canada, sitting in my car in front of a small manufacture business and wondering if the owner could possibly invent a reason to hire me. With my limited experience as a junior machinist I had to give up any serious ambitions in that field.
And yet, there I was now gathering confidence to step in and try my luck, because only luck could have got me a job. As usual in similar situations, I started rehearsing what to say, and after no version of it that sounded convincing enough to me, I just shrugged and decided to be myself, so whatever happens-happens.
My inside connection was right, the owner looked like one humorless, almost depressed dude, and it came as a great relief to me when that raspy voice said how he didn't need any junior machinists at the moment. I said "Thank you for your time", and as I was walking towards the exit door, he had to spoil it by calling me back.
To this day I don't know why he changed his mind, and it was almost spooky, because when I started working the next day, I realized how he really didn't need an extra hand there. Could it be due to the fact that I was almost trying my best not to get the job, completely indifferent about the outcome of that interview?
Against the Grain
O.K., where am I going with these stories? Am I, by any chance trying to tell you how you can get ahead in life without working hard, without putting your best foot forward, without a willful mobilizing your talents and skills, and without a confidence to provide the wings to your chosen Land of Eldorado?
Yes, your honor, I am guilty as charged of this terrible heresy---with an explanation, if I may. Needless to say, I have been found guilty in many other forms of heresies, so by now I am a veteran, and just watch me how I am going to wiggle out of this sin without getting stoned.
Trying hard in life doesn't work, according to my philosophy. The harder we try, the bigger chances that something will go wrong. Maybe because of the element of worry; maybe because of the strain being invested and which is by nature something negative. Or maybe because of something that might have a spooky element in it.
Letting It Happen vs. Making It Happen
Indeed, the whole mindset of "trying hard" is wrong. Back in your younger years, did you ever run down a stairwell stepping on every other stair? While doing so, do you remember what happened if at one moment you started consciously paying attention to which-foot-to-put-where. What would usually happen to me was that I lost the momentum, my feet got confused and I almost sprained my foot by stepping at the edge of a stair with a heel.
This reminds me of the lessons I learned in seventies from those books on psycho-cybernetics. The story goes that our nervous system is a goal-striving mechanism, and once when we gave an initial and clear-cut directive to it, we should let go consciously and allow our nature to take over. In other words, we should not interfere, try hard, or "make it happen", but rather--- "let it happen".
By the way, some decades later I read some other inspirational material that basically stole the concept and just renamed it into the "Law of Attraction". So much was written in seventies on different topics of psycho-philosophy which nowadays is parading under other names. But, I like the new looks of it as well, as some additions enriched and broadened those themes with new approaches.
Those Clumsy Beginnings
When I was learning meditation and self-hypnosis, the instructions were easy and quite straightforward, but it was much harder to learn to get out of my way with all that "self-coaching" about how to breathe, what to think, and how to get rid of that tension.
It was like sitting behind the steering wheel for the very first...well, maybe even tenth time. As you are paying attention to your pedals, you lose sight from the steering, which makes you forget that you are driving too slow...so yes, it was good to have an instructor at the passenger's seat.
But, I didn't have a guru beside me to couch me---if that would have done any good at all. So, while I succeeded to relax my shoulders and shifted my attention to my stomach muscles, my shoulders went back into their usual mini-spasm. And while I thought about relaxing my muscles, I forgot to keep breathing regularly and slightly deeper, and my breath got shallow and faster.
Then, during my "alpha training" of producing blissful feelings at will, I was encountering the same problem---by noticing all that resistance to happiness and spying on my progress, instead of just allowing myself to "do" the happiness and keep doing it until it would become my second nature.
Like Attracts Like
To round it all up, winning in life is much more about minimizing the strife and allowing that creative self to mobilize that best in us---than about consciously driving ourselves up the steeps of success and happiness.
In my own life experience, it was even true for those spooky instances of a metaphysical intervention when Lady Luck solved some of my problems only after I "surrendered it all into the hands of the unknown".
I never pray. If I did, I would pray for not losing what I already have---not for gaining anything that I don't have. As I am mentioning "metaphysics", I don't have a clear picture what "Lady Luck" may look like. However, "She" might as well be something like my "higher self" which is connected at the quantum level to everything and everybody.
So, when I let go of conscious trying, it takes over and "executes my wishes". That would be my simple explanation of what's going on, and I don't need anything more sophisticated than that.
It may be good to mention how we don't always get exactly what we wish for from the store of "that-something"---but it may come in a form of some other blessing. However, it's always "ease" that does it, and with no mention of a "lack", or a "need". Have you ever noticed that those who made it big in life had an air of someone who would have been quite O.K. even if they had not achieved it?
So, we might as well go a little loose about this American Dream, not to end up with an American Nightmare if we keep pushing ourselves. Self-pushers, at their best, end up having one of the most impressive tombstones on the cemetery, with an epitaph that should read: "Don't Disturb, this Man Needs a Lot of Rest".
Indeed, what's the use fussing too much about winning---it will come when we feel that we have already won big. "Like attracts like", right?