Life is like a game of cards

Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well. – Josh Billings

Forest Gump said life was like a box of chocolates.  I think life is like a game of cards.

Most mornings, “to wake up properly”, I play a game of solitaire on my iPad.  It’s one of those 70+ apps, but I play a rotation of 6 games, having recently added another one to the mix.  I like the variety of playing different games, but the OCD part of me plays them in alphabetical order.  The shiny penny part often forgets what the process is as they all have different ways of playing the game.   Now do you see why I said it’s like life?

Most of us get bored doing the same thing, but it’s comfortable, so we keep playing the same game.  This morning, the game on duty was Forty Thieves.  I very seldom win that game, but when the rotation comes around, I play it.  Today was one of those days when I would move a card, but because it wasn’t the right move for the game, it kept going back to where it was.  I stopped, checked what game I was playing and moved a different card.

Sometimes we just go off and do things, on automatic pilot and doing it because that’s what we have always done.  Which explains why we have what we have always had.  Go on, live a little… try something different.  If the traffic sucks on that road, try a different route.  Instead of just smiling politely at someone, say hello.  Instead of going through life settling for the same things, shake it up a bit.  Try some different moves.

Another tactic I use when I play my games is to leave an open space on the board as soon as I can.  I do that so I can manoeuvre, or a nice Africa slang word, jigga-jigga.  I don’t think I have lost any games because of it, but I know I have won quite a few.  The comparison to life?  Don’t rush into things.  The military has the sequence – ready, aim, fire – for a reason.  But no, we go charging into something, most times blindly and then surprised if it doesn’t work out.  Leave some room – it’s not an escape plan or being negative, it’s being prepared.  It reminds me of the exit lane in the parking garages, so you can pay your parking ticket without causing a huge commotion behind you.

Next tactic is I go back.  If I have some open slots, instead of going to the next face-down card on the stack, I’ll take the discarded one.  I know what it looks like, I can see it and I know at that moment I can’t use it, but I don’t remember the card that was under that one until I remove it.  I do this every time there is an opening.  Once all the face-down cards are dealt, that is it, game over.  See the similarity to life with that one?

The reason this move resonates so much with me is that most of the time, we can go back.  We can go back and apologise for something we have done.  We can go back and fix what we messed up.  We can go back on our behaviour and improve it.  We can always change things to make it better, we just aren’t conditioned to do that.

And, like cards, if you lose one hand, you can be dealt another.  After all, you don’t know when the final hand will be…

Until next time, don’t hold your aces, play them!


1, 2, 3

Easy as one-two-three

English idiom



I like the number 3. Give me more than three things to choose from, or to look at, my eyes glaze over and my brain switches off.

At work, our electronic filing system per client each has 4 folders. Accounting, secretarial, tax and general. Although a contradiction, I ignore the general folder. I had to have something to put the stuff that doesn’t belong in the other three. Perfectly logical.

Lists also freak me out. I need order, so I want to have a list for this, then a list for that, then I end up needing a list of all my lists. A while ago I asked my friend Andrea to look at my systems in the practice*. Her diagnosis? Too many systems. She was right of course. Irritating, but right.

Years ago, there was a comedy programme where a father was giving his future son-in-law advice. Whatever the bride-to-be would show him in the future, ah-hah the first two and say you like the third one. Switch the scene to where the mother is talking to the bride-to-be. When there is something she likes and she wants her husband’s agreement, put the one you want him to pick third! I have never forgotten that.

But this one, two, three thing simplifies personal growth and change.

One, you get an idea. Or a goal. Or a target.

Two, investigate. Or get specific. Or break it down.

Three, take action. Or take action. Or take action.

The third step is always the same.

Think about it …

You need to change/do/fix something. A plan allows you take the next step without thinking. It’s like the GPS in your car. Without the annoying accent. Although it would be nice if you went off course to hear “recalculating”…

So, this plan of yours. It mustn’t be the blueprint for the rest of your life. It must be something that you can start putting into action IMMEDIATELY. And that action will bring you closer to whatever you have chosen.

And it must ONLY have 3 steps. Sure, each step can have sub-steps to it, but ONLY 3 main steps.

For example;

debt has spiralled out of control                    or            your new business needs new clients

1. make a list of everything you owe                             1. make a list of everyone you know

2. work out a repayment schedule                                2. get introductory flyers/emails

3. contract the creditors                                                  3. send the into to the people on the list

Baby steps…

If you would like any help in drawing up your own list or want to chat with me about any of the other posts, I would love to help. You can email me

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Until next time, have a good one.


* My day job –