Opinion\Op-Ed Contributors

Shake a tail feather to crow about something

By Berlin Fang | China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-08 07:50

Shake a tail feather to crow about something

Tourists take a selfie at the Changdian Temple Fair during Chinese Lunar New Year holiday in Beijing, capital of China, Jan 30, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

Many start a New Year by making New Year resolutions, which often involves dieting or going to the gym or both. But since by the start of Spring Festival, many people usually give up on their resolutions, the beginning of the Lunar New Year provides another opportunity to make a commitment to a goal.

Chinese, however, usually start the Lunar New Year not by making resolutions to change themselves, but by looking for signs of a helping hand from fate. For instance, even in the days of scarcity, families will not finish eating their fish on New Year's Eve, as the Chinese word for fish (yu) sounds the same as the word for abundance (yu).

So how can you improve the chances of being blessed with good fortune in the Year of the Rooster? Here are 10 things that might help:

1. Work as hard as a chicken hauling wood. The harder you work, the better your fortune. Shake a tail feather. Get moving.

2. Whatever you do, be fully present; feet-n-feathers. And remember fortune doesn't like being ignored by those who keep their heads lowered over their phone screens when it comes knocking at the door.

3. Be positive. Don't brood over a problem. When life gives you chicken poop, fertilize your vegetable garden with it so that later you can enjoy chicken salad.

4. Manage your finances. Invest with prudence. Do not put all your eggs in one basket, or count your chickens before they hatch. That way you will be able to "feather your nest".

5. Be sincere, or you will have egg on your face. The chickens always come home to roost. It is better to be honest and authentic. Nothing hurts relationships more than distrust, and poor relationships bring bad fortune.

6. Make friendships, not conflicts. Don't ruffle anyone's feathers or try and preen your own at other's expense. The hen that struts like a rooster ends up as dinner.

7. Be tough in the face of adversity. Don't be chicken-hearted in the face of difficulties. Chinese parents, pay special attention, because you tend to be the mother hens that overprotect their young chicks.

8. Walk the talk. Just deliver, or you will hear that "the rooster may crow, but the hen lays the eggs!" And remember, you can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs.

9. Find yourself. It is better to be a big chick in a small coop. And it is certainly better to be a chicken's head than a cow's rear end.

10. And, rest well. Nothing rejuvenates like a good rest. In a TED talk, Arianna Huffington asks people to literally sleep their way "to the top". When you are tired, you are cranky, and you fuss like an old hen. In stressful situations, it is the well-rested people that are able to strut their stuff. Sleep-deprived people tend to behave like a chicken with its head cut off.

That's my advice on how to attract good fortune, don't chicken out. I wish you all a very happy Year of the Rooster!

The author is a US-based instructional designer, literary translator and columnist writing on cross-cultural issues.

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