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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Don't get behind



I like to play word games. A lot. Maybe too much for my own good. I have always been a gamer, so it is not surprising. I love the challenge of competing. But it is not just the game playing. I learn so much from playing games. I once wrote a blog about the life lesson I learned from playing Pacman.
http://markdeutsch39.blogspot.com/2010/07/pacman-as-microcosm-of-life-10-things.html 
One thing I have noticed lately is that I am losing more than I should. I know the level of the other players and I know that I am a very good player. I should not be losing to these players most of the time. But I am. 
Why?
In essence, I am beating myself. I am not the best out there, but I am very, very good and should not lose to most players.
This is nothing new for me. I have always been my own worst enemy.
So, why am I losing?
I like to take risks, even when I don't have to. In many cases, this causes me to lose when I should easily win. It is part of my personality, a part I aim to change.


In the movie The Gambler, the main character has a friend, who is also his loan shark gangster friend,  who explains why he loses even though he should win so much more often. The theory is that the gambler is "looking to lose.". But the main character, James Caan, already knows that. In spite of that, he still goes ahead and does it.

 http://video.nytimes.com/video/2011/09/26/movies/100000001074995/the-gambler.html


He does not want the sure thing. He wants the rush, the close game, the last second could go either way situation. That is the thrill for him.



I am not as pathetic as the character James Caan portrays in this film. Part of that is because I have always been able to fix it, to get out of trouble at the last second. Whether that is a blessing or curse, I don't know. Maybe both. But I have managed to make it work for myself. I could do a lot better in life, but I have a pretty good life and have not let it consume me as the character in the movie did. I have a father who was also this way, and he did let it consume him. I learned by observation there.

I always say I can be better if I want to. If I want to win and have a higher rating and status, that I can do it. But so far, I don't. The truth is, if I really wanted to I would, and since I, to this point have not, then I really can't.

Which brings me to the point of this blog. The main reason I have determined that I lose at the Word games, when I should be winning, is that I like to play from behind. I like the challenge of being behind and catching up. As I have come to learn, playing from behind is a losing strategy.

We all know that America, and most Western nations, are in some serious financial trouble. It is noble that now, since that reality has become obvious, they want to fix it. The truth is, trying to catch up, or get out from behind the eight ball,  is very, very tough and is usually a losing game. No matter how well you do now, you continually have to repay the mistakes you made previously.
It is a game of catch up. A game that is most often a losing game. Just as it is in the Word game.

Winners, for the most part, don't play from behind. They lead. There is something to be said for keeping at it, when you are behind and triumphing in spite of that, but mostly you will lose much more often if you use that strategy.

We all have ups and downs in life, and we will get a bit behind from time to time. But, we should not use that as a strategy to cope with life and get by. The goal should be to be the best you can be, and that almost always means staying ahead and avoiding foolish risks. 
Playing with risk can give you a rush, and in the short term will be pleasing, but long term, when you lose and are down at the bottom, there is basically no way up against the current you have created against yourself.

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