Last year I had the great joy to travel to Japan and visit the Tōdai-ji Buddhist temple complex: once one of the powerful Seven Great temples. It is located in the city of Nara, famous for its giant Buddha, stone lanterns and their “messengers of the gods”: a flock of sacred, sometimes pushy, deer.
Now unusually for a Japanese temple, this one does give out English-language fortunes. So I shook the box of sticks, made a wish and pulled my fortune for the year ahead.
The monk behind the screen handed me a little scroll, and I unrolled it wondering where on the scale of seven scales of luck I would be. I could be anywhere from Excellent Luck, Middling Luck or Some Luck. And I got the very bottom – No Luck.
They don’t muck around with “this is a time of great change” or “you are being challenged to find another way”.
I was told in no uncertain terms and in very clear words that I simply have No Luck. To sum this up my fortune included the following key points: work will not go well, relationships will fail, I will be cheated in any contracts I sign, travel will be difficult and my health is in danger.
The fortune is so damming that there is one little sign, helpfully translated in English, giving another interpretation, which I believe it is there, in part, to stop western visitors throwing themselves down the mountain in despair.
In summary, you can understand No Luck to be the universe’s way of telling you to stop and consider the direction you are heading. It’s a chance to reconsider your goals and ambitions.
No Luck just means you will have no luck on that path, but it does not mean that there may not be other paths that have other opportunities.
So I tied my fortune to the fence and went on with the holiday, embracing that I have No Luck.
And it was great. In the midst of hotel mix ups, broken toes and the constant mystery that is Japanese cooking, we gave ourselves over to the fun of travel. If something did not work out as expected we simply moved on to the next thing.
Because in giving into having No Luck I realised that I could give up on expectations on what was good or bad. Each day was just an experience, often surprising, always interesting, and could be appreciated for what it was at that time.
Returning home I have embraced No Luck as my mantra for the year ahead. Each little block becomes an opportunity to reassess my direction rather than a disaster to be overcome.
In work, business and life we will constantly come up against obstacles and challenges. Welcoming them as “messages from the gods” rather than a punishment or judgement gives us freedom to make choices and move on.
So accept you have no luck, little control and enjoy the road ahead.