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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 March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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