We are all dealt a hand of cards in life. Admittedly, we can’t choose our cards, neither can we swap them. But this does not necessarily deem our life hopeless and us helpless. We are still responsible for how we play the cards. In fact, precisely the way we play them is what determines the quality of our life. Importantly, that applies both to the “bad” cards we are dealt as well as the “good” ones. On the face of it, below I look at the skills we need to develop to be able to play to win.
Make it or break it
Destiny deals its cards without asking. It doesn’t give you the opportunity to choose which cards you get. However, destiny gives you a choice as to how you play your hand of cards. And how you play will ultimately determine how you live.
Suppose you are starting off with a third floor view holding your cards in hand. Playing them well can elevate you giving you a thirtieth floor view. With this comes a feeling of richness, bigger picture perspective, broad horizons and freedom. On the other hand, playing the exact same cards unwisely can send you down to the basement. With this comes a feeling of darkness, limitations, poverty and depression. Note that you can start off with some very good cards and still end up in the basement if you don’t play them well. Likewise, some seemingly bad cards, when played well, can send you up to the top and award you with premium views.
So, how do you make sure you don’t waste your cards (good or bad) and you don’t end up in the basement? Well, to play your cards well, you need three types of skills:
First, you need to develop executive control skills: discipline, patience, persistence and consistency
• Commit to doing your chores today; don’t put them off until tomorrow.
• Go the extra mile – do a bit more than you are required and don’t shy away from the things you don’t want to do but you know you should.
• Exercise restraint in your urges and moderation in your desires – do with a bit less than you would like to.
• Don’t succumb to the temptation for instant gratification – train yourself to tolerate short-term pain for a long-term gain.
Second, you need to develop creative skills: curiosity, innovation, holistic thinking and intuition
• Read lots of books.
• Draw, dance, write and sing.
• Open the door to infinite possibilities by letting your imagination soar.
Third, you need to cultivate heart skills: gratitude, acceptance, compassion and contribution
• Train yourself to see the good in everything.
• Be grateful for the small things.
• Ask yourself how you can be of service.
• Give without expecting anything in return.
If you practice these skills daily, you are far more likely to end up with the top-floor views. Conversely, if you don’t develop those skills, you will end up living in the basement with hardly any views at all. Notice that we are not talking about a change in the world you are observing. We are talking about a change in your perspective by broadening your horizons. This change in perspective alone leads to a change in your internal experience of an otherwise unchanged outside reality. In effect, cultivating the skills above trains you to become a happier observer of your own destiny.