“Life is not a matter of having good cards…

card, wallet, originally uploaded by myong_joon.

…but of playing a poor hand well.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

There are times in my life when I’ve been able to live by this, and other times I haven’t.

For me, recently, I really, consciously realised what this quote meant for me and its potential implications and impact on my life in a practical way.

Having spent many previous year in different forms of counselling and therapy trying to come to terms with certain things that have happened in my life, I still found that underneath it all, was a persistent anger, a rage of unfairness, that things truly weren’t fair that I’d gone through all the things I had, when other people I knew hadn’t been through even half as much.

Ah, the unjustness of it all! It was just too much

Using the metaphor of a game of cards could be really useful to me.

The cards representing the things I’d got in life. The things and events which were out of my control and had a huge impact on me, especially in my childhood.

The dealer, representing, Life, The Universe, God, a Higher Power, who or whatever I held responsible for handing these events out to me.

Now, for years, in many ways, I’ve looked at my cards, examined them, talked about them with others, thought about the impact they had on me, often hoping that they’ll change in some way. That my number Five and Seven cards would transform into a Jack and Ace, so that I could win at the game. But alas, this was not the case.

Then the next strategy was to complain and plead with the Dealer. Maybe the Dealer could do something. Maybe the dealer knew why I’d got the cards I had and if I shouted at the Dealer enough, they could give me some new cars and replace the past events for something new.

“Maybe”, I thought, “The Dealer’s holding a grudge against me for something I’ve done wrong.” I thought that if I could work out what it was and find ways to appease the Dealer, then my cards would magically change into more useful ones.

My forth strategy was to try and forget about the cards. I’d continue playing the game, going through the motions, hiding and ignoring the cards under the table in the hope that no one would notice my cards were missing. This didn’t turn out well, as when it came to my turn, I had nothing to contribute.

The next strategy was to bluff my way through using the art of Modelling. I could study and model someone who’d received a better hand than me, copy what they were doing and bluff my way through the game. I could pretend I also had number Two and Four cards. This only worked for a short time, as in the end, it raised my anxiety level, due to fear that I’d be “found out” by the other players they’d really know that in my hand I had a Five and a Seven.

What I began to realise was that all these things were getting in the way of me making the most of the cards I’d got. Hence the affinity with the quote…, “Life is not a matter of having good cards,
but of playing a poor hand well. “

For me now, it’s about accepting that, yes, I got dealt a poor hand. I’d even say a really crappy hand, and just like in a card game, what the Dealer deals (unless they’re crooked!), is the luck of the draw, dependant on so many factors, so I don’t have to take it personally anymore. I don’t even have to justify to myself why what happened to me happened.

My job now is to look at my cards, focus on the objective and aim of the game and play my heart out. Because just like a Blackjack/Pontoon player, with number Five and Seven cards can win with a, “Five Card Trick”, it’s down to me to play my game well with the cards I’ve been dealt.

(c) Prosperity X

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Published in: on January 18, 2010 at 6:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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