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5 Life Lessons from Solitaire

5 Life Lessons from Solitaire


    We’ve all played a little computer solitaire, right? Perhaps it was a slow day at work or you just had some time to kill before quittin’ time. I have played my share too, and had some insights about solitaire strategies and how they relate to real life lessons.

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    1. Move the aces first.

    Everybody knows this – you always play the aces as soon as they come up. If you are lucky enough to have a few showing at the beginning of the game, even better. We are all “aces” at something – play those cards first. If you are a good communicator, make sure you are using that skill. If you have a knack with math, use it! If you don’t know what your “aces” are, do a personal skills inventory or personality type quiz to find out.

    2. Play all the cards you can.

    Once you’ve moved the aces up, it’s time to start clicking on cards to make the familiar red-black chain, right? Do you ever hold back from clicking on a 2 or 3, hoping you will get the ace right away and be able to move them directly up? I’ve discovered that it never helps to hold back in this way – play whatever cards you can now, even if they don’t seem to be very strategic at this moment. Each play reveals a new card and builds on the chains you have. You can’t reveal any new cards (opportunities) unless you play the ones you can.

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    3. You need both red and black.

    Have you even started a game and had all black come up, and then the first few cards from the deck are black, too? It seems like a bit of an omen, and it can really makes you wish for hearts and diamonds! Without some reds, the game cannot progress at all. The same is true in life; you need a mix of both red and black – a balanced life – to make the game work. It can’t be all one way. Try to keep a healthy balance between work and recreation, busy and slow times, stress and fun, activity and sleep. The “reds and blacks” are all just a part of the contrast of life.

    4. All the cards (answers) are there, just waiting to be revealed.

    You have all the cards you need to win the game. Only seven are revealed at first, but they lead to every card being played. Every card in a winning game becomes a part of those red-black chains. If you feel like you are looking for answers in life, rest assured they are there. You just haven’t played enough to discover them yet.

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    5. Don’t stress out about dealing again.

    Sometimes, the cards you need just don’t show up and you have to admit you are stuck. You might not win every game, but you can always start over. Don’t be ashamed to start over again in life – it beats sitting, looking at the cards, unable to move and unable to win.

    Finally, I’ve noticed a distinct difference in how the game goes depending on my attitude. If I am exhausted, it often doesn’t go far before I’m stuck. If I am well-rested, I usually win. I have tried saying a short, two-second affirmation for a good game, and it’s amazing how things go smoother. Try saying a short affirmation for good traffic, good weather, or electronic devices to work properly – anything that seems to be “chance” (like how cards are dealt) – and see if it helps!

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    I doubt whoever invented the first version of computer solitaire had any idea how popular and iconic it would become. You might be working on the next “big thing” – so keep playing each card as it comes and keep your eyes open for opportunities to make your next move.

    (Photo credit: Man Playing Cards Thinking About Next Move via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on December 2, 2018

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

    The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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    The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

    Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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    Review Your Past Flow

    Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

    Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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    Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

    Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

    Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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    Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

    Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

    We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

    Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

      Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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