Any card game worth playing involves a combination of luck and skill to win. When we lose it must have been bad luck, and when we win it was obviously skill. Right? Wrong! The game of life is like a game of cards. They both involve both luck and skill all the time! The more skill we develop, the luckier we seem to get.
A hard lesson to learn was not to blame my card failures on luck but to search for where I could have played the card game better, and improve my skill. An even harder lesson was to learn was that, just as in a card game, I had to stop blaming luck and take personal responsibility for my life failures before I could learn to do better.
In life and in cards decisions have consequences. Bad decisions often have bad results, but we must not fear to make decisions, for that is how we learn. Failure is a very effective learning device and it helps if we see it as only a lesson to be learned, and do not attach any stigma to that failure. Many people are so afraid of failure that they cease to take any risk, and consequently stop growing!
Edison tried a thousand different materials for his first light bulb filament with no success. When asked by a reporter “How does it feel to have had a thousand different failures?” His reply was, “These were NOT failures, we now know that these materials will not work and are that much closer to finding one that will work.”
Why is it that one man who was born to a prominent family, with high IQ’s and paid for college education, ends up on Skid Row, while another born into a poor family, who married too early and had to support a family while attending Jr College at night becomes a multi-millionaire?
It helps if we accept that life and cards can both have good or bad outcomes depending upon the choices that we make, If we accept responsibility for the bad, and look for the lesson to be learned, we can avoid repeating those errors next time. Normal human behavior is to deny that there is a problem or blame it on something other than ourselves.
Most of us can lose a card game without getting all emotional about it, but when we have a life failure we tend to adopt personal defense mechanisms to protect our ego, The first is denial, There is no problem! So no need to learn from the event.
Second, there is a problem, but something or someone else is responsible. Either way, it is NOT my problem, so I don’t have to learn from this event. This behaviors practically guarantees that we will suffer the same failure in the future.
The road of life looks different through the windshield than it does through the rearview mirror. At age 81 I have a different perspective. I now realize that I spent much of my life on the wrong track. It was so easy to ignore that some problems existed, or if I did acknowledge them, to blame others, Either way there was no reason to take personal responsibility, Once I learned to search for my own contribution to the failure, I began to learn what I did wrong and then I could learn to do better next time.
If you understand that life is like a game of cards and learn from your mistakes, you too can “Shoot the Moon, Score a Grand Slam, or win with a Royal Flush. The harder lesson is to learn to search for your part in every failure so you can learn the game of life.
About the Author
Jack Harwick is an 81-year-old, former aerospace engineer who helped put planes in the sky, satellites in space, and men on the moon. He left aerospace to start his own electronic security business, which is now a division of Honeywell Corp. He is very creative and has been issued a US patent for the PanoFix photo accessory. Jack has had many interests that have come and gone. These include magic, cars, and architecture, but photography has been a constant passion for over sixty years. Relationships have always been a struggle with four failed marriages. Because of those failures, self-improvement has been actively studied for the last two decades, with varying results, but general improvement.