How Life is Like a Game of Cards

Any game of cards worth playing involves a combination of luck and skill to win. When we lose it must have been bad luck, and when we win it was obviously skill. Right? Wrong! The game of life is no different, they both involve both luck and skill all the time! The more skills we develop, the luckier we seem to get.

A game of cards

A hard lesson for me to learn was to not blame my card failures on luck, but to search for where I could have played the card game better, and improve my skill. An even harder lesson to learn was that, just as in a card game, I had to stop blaming luck and take personal responsibility for my life failures before I could learn to do better.

Decisions have consequences

In life and in cards decisions have consequences. Bad decisions often have bad results, but we must not fear to make decisions, for that is how we learn. Failure is a very effective learning device and it helps if we see it as only a lesson to be learned, and do not attach any stigma to that failure. Many people are so afraid of failure that they cease to take any risk, and consequently stop growing!

Edison tried a thousand different materials for his first light bulb filament with no success. When asked by a reporter “How does it feel to have had a thousand different failures?” His reply was, “These were NOT failures, we now know that these materials will not work and are that much closer to finding one that will work.”

Why is it that one man who was born to a prominent family, with high IQ’s and free college education, ends up on Skid Row, while another was born into a poor family, who married too early and had to support a family while attending Jr College at night becomes a multi-millionaire? 

It helps if we accept that life and a game of cards can both have good or bad outcomes depending upon the choices that we make, If we accept responsibility for the bad, and look for the lesson to be learned, we can avoid repeating those errors next time. Normal human behavior is to deny that there is a problem or blame it on something other than ourselves. 

Most of us can lose a card game without getting all emotional about it, but when we have a life failure we tend to adopt personal defense mechanisms to protect our ego, The first is denial. There is no problem! So no need to learn from the event.

Second, there is a problem, but something or someone else is responsible. Either way, it is NOT my problem, so I don’t have to learn from this event. This behavior practically guarantees that we will suffer the same failure in the future. The road of life looks different through the windshield than it does through the rearview mirror, At age 82 I have a different perspective, and now realize that I spent much of my life on the wrong track.

It was so easy to ignore that some problems existed, or if I did acknowledged them, to blame others, Either way, there was no reason to take personal responsibility, Once I learned to search for my own contribution to the failure, I began to learn what I did wrong and then I could learn to do better next time.

If you treat life as a game of cards and learn by your mistakes, you too can “Shoot the Moon, Score a Grand Slam, or win with a Royal Flush. The harder lesson is to learn to search for your part in every failure so that you can learn the game of life.



  1. Oriana says

    I was thrilled to compare that life is the same as playing cards; thinking about it is the simple truth. Basically, by gambling, you can win or lose ….. everything is going to lead the game!

  2. Peter says

    Reading this blog I saw my life again, 55 years lived as an avid card player my few “successes” gratified me enormously making me feel like a lion but otherwise I cultivated bad relations with the world, until a friend introduced me to this program that allowed me to see and overcome my problems, and with awareness, everything has changed around me now I live a happy life
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