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“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”
Good morning friends, and for the men in the crowd I hope you had a wonderful Father’s Day.
When I was nine years old my father taught me a card game called cribbage. We played literally thousands of times during the next seven years. One game takes twelve to fifteen minutes and a typical match is best of seven games. We played two or more matches every day for seven years. I know a lot about being dealt a hand of cards and having to play them. Sometimes you have a winner so great you smile and fidget. Sometimes the hand is so bad it shows on your face. But most of the time the hand is neither great nor pathetic; it’s just average.
Consistent winners in cribbage are able to consistently take average hands and get an extra, unexpected point or two out of them, which over the course of a game will increase the potential to win. I’m not sure how we define winning or losing in life; my own understanding of a winner or losing life is in flux, growing and changing me in the moment. Yet however you define winning and losing in life, how are you playing the hand you have been dealt?
Too often we think the hand we were dealt to begin life (wealthy family, poor family, happy, sad, difficult, urban, rural, many, few, etc.) defines us in a permanent sense. Perhaps it does flavor us, or color us to an extent, but no way does any circumstance of a moment define us. Our decisions define us in every moment.
Another lesson I learned playing cribbage with dad is that no single hand creates or inhibits victory. Good, bad and average hands were distributed in a random way, with average being the only constant. I could have a string of bad hands that lasted for games, and then a string of great hands for longer, but in the end things had a way of averaging out. My victories and defeats had less to do with the hands themselves and more with how I played them. Sounds like life.
How are you playing the hands dealt you these days? I understand if a bad hand gets you down, and then a good hand sends you over the moon, but don’t think you deserve either of those hands. Instead, play to win every hand you get, getting the most of out it, and keep working to win because another hand is coming and who knows what it will be. What matters is how you play it. Play to win, friends; get every extra point of two out of every situation, and give yourself the best chance to win. I have great faith in you! Have a wonderful week!