Tonight my husband Andy and I were playing a new card game that Francois and I invented fluently. It’s called RockIt to Destiny, and it’s kick-ass fun. (We’re currently polishing the final rules with experimental play — as soon as the game is completed, I’ll explain how to play in a separate post.)
Suffice to say it’s a mind-sharpening game. You’ve got to get skilled at looking for every possible angle in order to win with any kind of consistency. And missing a possible move may cost you the game.
The object of RockIt is to get rid of all your cards. If you don’t have a move to play, you draw a card (there are no discards, so the only way to get rid of your cards, i.e., WIN, is to make valid tricks or plays).
In this particular round between Andy and me, I was holding 3 cards and Andy was holding at least 30 cards. (We call that a “carpal tunnel” hand because it gives you a serious hand cramp to try and hold that many cards fanned out so you can see them all without flashing your cards to your opponents).
I had just drawn the card that made it possible for me to go out (i.e., win the game). And Andy, bless his heart, is a slow and methodical player on a good day, and even slower when he’s got a carpal tunnel hand.
So after he laid down 2 tricks, I was getting a little bored with waiting, and I figured I had already won the game as soon as he declared his turn to be over, so I said:
“Just so you know, I’m ‘out’ on my next turn.”
Well, this did NOT have the desired effect that I had intended. Instead of Andy surrendering (we were both tired, and ready to call it quits for the night, so I figured he’d happily give in) he became more determined than ever.
Over the next 20 minutes or so, I passed the time while waiting for him. I had a little lie down, played with Sydney (our baby) and then put her to bed, and contemplated going upstairs to take off my makeup and get my jammies on, when I realized Andy was down to about 3 cards. And judging by the look on his face, he was going to find a way to win this game, no matter what.
I watched him play those last 3 cards and it was truly a sight to behold. No longer was I pissed that I had opened my big fat mouth and gave him the impetus to win — I was filled with awe because I suddenly realized I was witnessing a true life lesson.
It took him a few more minutes, but finally he triumphantly declared, “I’m out!”
I looked at him and smiled. He beamed back at me, and he certainly had every right to be proud — he had accomplished a virtually impossible feat.
And I looked at him and I said:
“Honey, I am SO proud of you. You had something like 30 cards in your hand, and you went out in a single turn! That’s amazing.”
and he said, “I know” (still smiling)
and then I said (because if you know me, you know that who I am is a coach — it’s in my bones, and there’s just no stopping it) this:
“I’m really clear that you would NOT have gone out, if I hadn’t told you I was going out on my next turn.”
I continued, “It’s like knowing this was do or die was what gave you the determination to succeed.”
And now for the zinger. I said:
“What do you think your life would look like if you played life like that, all the time? As though every move was THE determining move?”
And he got it immediately. I mean, he really got it. He said,
“I’ve been playing NOT to lose, instead of playing to win.”
And we both sat dumbstruck for a moment, awed by this profound life lesson disguised as a simple card game victory.
Now I would ask you the same question:
Can you see where in YOUR life you’ve been playing not to lose instead of playing to win? What kind of difference would it make if you started playing full out, playing to WIN every opportunity life gives you?
When you play life this way, everyone wins.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start playing to win. I know that’s exactly what Andy and I will be doing from now on. How ’bout you?