Within the course of half a year, I played Cap Sa with three other friends really often, and right after the dealer has finished giving out 13 cards for each player, this is what I get. Twice.
What are the odds? I immediately won, both games.
The first time was at the very end of the year, the next was about a month after that.
In the game of Cap Sa, or Big Two, this order of cards is called the Pure Dragon, where you get a perfect order of sequence from Ace to 2. Chances of getting an immediate win through this method, by calculating the probabilities (or not), can be expressed as:
How is it possible that I got it twice in less than 6 months? Is it because we played really, really often? By that, does increasing the frequency of chance opportunities have to do with increasing a person’s odds to stumble upon it? These questions made me think of the card game as a metaphor for life.
“The fact is, more and more psychologists are finding out that it isn’t the hand you’re dealt that’s important in life but how you play your cards,” wrote Alexandria Hall for “Happy: How to Make Your Own Luck” for Women’s Health Magazine.
I must admit that I’m very lucky to have met the Pure Dragon. Twice. I rarely see this happening in other people’s lives. However, even if you don’t get a pure chance by random, which accounts for no more than 10% of your life, numerous research have shown that the rest of the 90% is luck, a causal agent determining “the result of perceptions, personality traits, choices, and actions,” said Carole Sansone, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of Utah. “And all of that is within your control.”
Let us consult with Professor Richard Wiseman, pioneer researcher of the psychology behind luck and author of The Luck Factor. We don’t really need science to learn that luck holds the power to make the improbable possible, but what his ten-year research has shown is that there are certain thoughts and behavioral patterns lucky people exhibit. Wiseman looked over these traits, by which designed the Luck School, a series of experiments created to get people to think and behave like lucky people. This one-month goal had an objective to train unlucky people to be happier, more satisfied with their lives, and of course, become lucky.
I might have exposed myself to more and more chance opportunities in order to meet the Pure Dragon just by playing more, thus the encounter with good fortune, twice. For the rest of the many, many occasions I didn’t get the Dragon, I suck at winning the game, though not necessarily the last one standing. After all, my aim was to spend time and have fun with my friends, rather than winning the game itself. “Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore see what is there rather than just what they are looking for,” noted Wiseman. His study involved 400 lucky and unlucky people from all walks of life – students, secretaries, engineers, housewives, doctors, retirees, and many more contexts. By looking under their lives under the microscope, the study showed that lucky people generate their good fortune by following the four principles in order to bring consistent encounters with good luck in their lives. As Wiseman told BBC News, here’s The Luck Factor:
1. Trust your intuition – then make lucky decisions.
Listen to your gut instincts – they are normally right.
2. Create and notice chance opportunities – maximise them.
Be open to new experiences and breaking your normal routine.
3. Adopt a resilient attitude – turn back luck to good.
Spend a few moments each day remembering things that went well.
4. Expect good fortune – luck is self-made.
Visualize yourself being lucky before an important meeting or telephone call. Luck is very often a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The results? 80% of the ill-fortuned men and women, indeed, became happier. After graduating from Luck School, ill-fortuned men and women have found romantic partners and job promotions, just by stumbling upon good luck. So what actually prevented these people from noticing the many opportunities the world can give every single day?
A little over two weeks ago, I had a visit to the temple. I wanted to thank God, for my prayers answered. I also had another wish – I wish for my brothers. I hope they will do well later in life, because I worry too much about them. In my mind facing the Gautama, Guanyin, even the Laughing Buddha, I kept asking for confidence, so that all things would turn out well when my trust in them fulfills their destinies. I thought of all sorts of possibilities.
Things became really blurry. As a result, I hurt myself and put my health at risk. Literally.
I was burning incense, and the flaming piece of paper started to get really hot. I ran to the nearest post to throw the fireball away from my hand, and the winds coming from all sides blew the fire back to me. I hurt my hand real bad I almost cried.
“The harder they looked, the less they saw,” wrote Wiseman on his report about his findings on unlucky people. Personality tests have shown that these people have higher anxiety levels than lucky people who are open, relaxed, and less tense.
Luckily, noticing luck is part of my subconscious. I felt really lucky that none of the fire hurt my face, or my neck, or any other parts of my body other than my left hand. I am right-handed, and I couldn’t feel better, except that inevitably, I was in a state of the worst physical pain I have experienced all my life.
Later that night, my mother told me she couldn’t sleep because she was dreaming that I completely vanished in a big fire. Coming from a dragon’s mouth or something.
Fast forward to weeks later. I am now back to normal. I feel almost no pain, and I received job offers from my last one, and romance is coming into my life. I called my eldest brother earlier this week, and he’s doing fine. He said I was an idiot for burning my hand. My second elder brother is teasing me as I’m writing this. We were watching our videos when we were young. My mother just went to the temple, keeping her faith alive, and my dad and his company is doing completely fine. Can anyone dare say that this is pure chance by random?
I dare say that It’s my destiny to have burned myself, only to realize that the people I love most in this world care for me.
In this game of life, I’m lucky to have met the Pure Dragon. Twice.
To learn more about Professor Richard Wiseman’s research on the psychology of luck, go to his site at www.richardwiseman.com.
I AM watching.
WATCHING OVER my mom, watching her moves and her facial expression. Well, actually, it’s not Santa. It was just a man. A younger man. Who’s not a father trying to lie to his children and dress up in a big, fat, red and bushy man.
I’ve never seen my mom dance like that. Her arms swing effortlessly, her legs bouncing beautifully, her soul moving along with the music, twirling across the room as the man led her in his hands.
They went over Cha Cha, Rumba, Jive, and other Latin dances, and I sat still in the corner, preferring to watch the beautiful face that gave birth to the flesh and blood my soul is living and breathing in right now.
I’VE NEVER SEEN THAT FACE BEFORE, except when I was very young, about 8 years old or so, when I used to relax on the King-sized bed in my parents’ room. Embedded on the bedstand was a stereo system. My mommy and daddy used to ask me a favor every night: To put on the Cha Cha music on the cassette player. Grudgingly, I put it on. I was so relaxed, and now they’re going to dance it off.
But, as soon as they began to dance, I love watching how my daddy led each and every tiny movement of my mother. He held her tight in his arms, and my mother would free her body and soul across all directions, and then her big eyes and her wide smile would look at me, and then back to my daddy, and my daddy would look down, close his eyes, and open it again and let out a smile.
Although the music is just horrible to me.
THIS YOUNGER MAN I’m looking at right now is, no doubt, a man with charisma. He held the power to unveil the beauty and health and youth within the aging woman who has been so tirelessly looking after three children, now all grownup. I don’t know what it is about this man; he just come right in to our home and introduce himself to the house as if he’s some old friend or something; but he taught me how to Salsa though.
My mom sweats like a young athlete breaking into the Olympics at her blooming age, her eyes beaming whenever she moves toward me, wide and clear as if I saw the skies beyond these years unbroken. The music playing in the background keeps interrupting my thoughts; so does my BlackBerry Messenger.
JUGGLING BETWEEN TWO MEN (and/or more), is something that I will never know how to do, or how to deal with. I don’t understand how my mommy does it, but I know for sure that happiness is just a state of mind and never an ending; you can actually learn to put yourself to work and negotiate your feelings with two or more people as you move along with life, but love is so precious, how can I separate my soul into pieces, don’t they turn into broken dreams?
Or maybe, I just don’t fit the modern definition of how love “works”. I’m afraid to give up my soul again, and the possibility of getting hurt. I have been doing well behind my bushy fringe and long hair and that silly sunglasses I always put on everywhere I go. At the same time, I keep my beauty and my health and my youth in check by hitting the gym most of the week. I let go of these things whenever I run for two, three hours outside, outdoors, when nobody would notice me, when nobody would know I exist. I run free, and that’s the best feeling anyone can ever have, or give, or receive, even if it’s just 2 hours, or more.
Am I willing to give up these armors of mine again? So strong I’ve built these walls and now knowing that it’s about to crash any day, any time in the near future.
I’M WATCHING THE SCREEN. My arms are trembling. Sean and Reed are calling.
How can I trust others when I haven’t trust myself enough yet to move forward? Or sideways? Or, anywhere, for that matter?
No matter how things can go wrong, no one can ever replace the daddy that used to buy me enchanting Cinderella castles and pretty Barbie dolls, the one who used to hold my mother so tight she might as well become some precious gemstone, say, diamonds.
SALUNA is signing off.