Late last night after the final chore of the day was wrapped up and done, I found myself with an amazing gift. Free Time! As I had just finished the final page of an almost eight- hundred page book, reading wasn’t as appealing as it typically would be. So, I settled on a favorite but rare pleasure. A game of Sudoku.
For anyone not familiar with the game, it’s both simple and challenging at the same time. The numbers from 1 to 9 need to make up every row AND every block without repeating. In other words- you can’t have two of the number 2 ( Or any other number) in the same box or row. I find it to be just the right amount of mental challenge that I need when my brain is still going in high gear and the rest of me is done for the day. ( Sometimes my mental body and my physical body just can’t quiet get on the same page.)
As I was working through the puzzle last night, I tuned in for the first time to the unplanned methods I had developed to solve the game. It occurred to me that I followed the same pattern for every single puzzle, working through the steps in a systematic fashion until I had the entire thing figured out. I was almost through my third puzzle when the little voice inside my head spoke up.
It said, “You use the same system to solve your problems in life too. That’s how come it works for you.”
The thought caught me by surprise and I had to consider it for quite some time. But ultimately I had to concede that the little voice was right. I live my life like a game of Sudoku. I grabbed my Inspiration Journal and wrote down the steps as I played them and compared them to the way I live my life. I decided that living life like Sudoku wasn’t such a bad thing after all.
So I share with you:
Sudoku Rules for the Game of Life
1) Start with what you know for sure. Gather the Black and White facts and determine what is already in front of you. Don’t add to the mix any mental tapes in your head to tell you what you think you know, based on all the other times. Just look at the solid data as objectively as you can.
2) After you have determined all the facts, then look at them one more time. Based on what you know for sure, what can you make a reasonable guess at? If you can make an informed guess, then DO IT. Some folks get hung up on number one and never move forward in the game of life. Fear of being wrong holds them back. They wait for the sure thing and while they are waiting they shake their head in amazement at those around them that have figured out the game.
3) After all reasonable guesses are made, it’s time to really throw caution to the wind. There are times in life when there are no right answers at the moment. We are moving through the situation blind to some of the information we would need to know what to do. We have to have faith and jump in. Make a decision. Sometimes we will guess right, sometimes we will guess wrong. Wrong is OK. It gives us the chance to learn and try something different. Be willing to be wrong.
4) When you get it wrong, erase what you can, retrace your steps and move forward. Begin again if you have to. Keep playing. You will never win if you quit and you will most surely win if you play to the end.
5) Stay positive. It’s just a game. Play, laugh, take time to remember that we are supposed to be having fun. Sometimes that’s hard. Sometimes it’s grueling. But the fun is there if you take the time to look for it. Sometimes you just have to focus on it and let the fun come to you. Be a good sport.
6) Realize that life is a puzzle and be OK with that. Stop expecting to have all the answers handed to you. Be proactive. Figure out what you can and learn from the mistakes. Accept and embrace the challenge of sorting it out. Enjoy the adventure!
I am sure there are other rules in the game of life that can be found in the games we play. Play mirrors real life in many ways and we learn through play better than we learn through work.
What have you learned from the games that you play?