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What Does Living Pono Mean and How Can You Apply It To Everyday Life?

Life can be a difficult thing to navigate from time to time, a struggle that seems to ring truer and truer every day. Staying centered through all of it is often easier said than done, but there are a few philosophies and principles that can certainly help make that an easier task. Especially if we’re looking for a sense of harmony and balance, one such principle might be the concept of Living pono.

Living pono

Pono [po-no] is a Hawai’ian term that roughly translates to righteousness. Living pono, then, means living righteously. Holistically, to live righteously is to live in harmony with your surroundings, with your community and the communities that surround you, as well as to live harmoniously with the relationships that make up your personal and professional life. This righteousness in harmony can take a lot of forms, but it means that you take only what you need, and you give back whenever you can. Just as we all need help from time to time, we can be that help for others.

Just what this might look like for you will, of course, depend on your own surroundings and community. To get a better picture for it, however, let’s take a look at some other important Hawai’ian values that can play a big role in Living pono day to day.

Some helpful Hawai’ian values

Kealahou [ke-ā’lă-ho’u] means a new perspective, a value that can help us navigate and manage plenty of negative emotions throughout the day. We see the world not only through our own eyes but from where we’re standing. That is to say, at least initially, we see the world from only one perspective—but that doesn’t have to be the best perspective by any means. A server bringing you the wrong order is an opportunity to try something new. A personal item breaking is an opportunity to treat yourself to an upgrade. A small shift in perspective can help turn dissonance in your life into much-needed harmony.

Haahaa [ha aha a] is another value that means humility. This, of course, is not a difficult concept to grasp but can be a challenging one to practice. Many of us are very sure about many of the values and stances we hold—that’s why we believe in them in the first place! That being said, none of us are absolutely correct about everything and as silly as it sounds, that can be a difficult thing to come to terms with. Nobody wants to be wrong, but being wrong is the first step to learning something new. Navigating our everyday routine with humility means not only that we are able to avoid unnecessary negative energy and emotions, but that we’re also open to learning and growing at every turn of life.

You might see how the pieces of the puzzle start to fall into place. Living pono, living righteously, is a big and abstract ideal, but small and important pieces of our everyday lives help us achieve that ideal. Finding harmony and living righteously is certainly more of a journey than a destination, but it’s a journey that helps us live happier and healthier lives, and that helps us foster healthy relationships with those we care about. 


Living Pono is dedicated to communicating business management concepts with Hawaiian values. Founded by Kevin May,  an established and successful leader and mentor, Living Pono is your destination to learn about how to live your life righteously and how that can have positive effects in your career. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below or contact us here. Also, join our mailing list below, so you can be alerted when a new article is released.

Finally, consider following the Living Pono Podcast to listen to episodes about living righteously, business management concepts, and interviews with business leaders.

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