• Mel Butcher

The Game of Life

Updated: Jan 27



Being alive means being at risk.


Any given day, disaster can strike - natural or manmade.


How can one feel calm in such a world?


About ten years ago, I was involved in an accident. I was stopped at a red light, in a red car, in broad daylight, and I was hit from behind by a speeding truck. The result on my body was whiplash that damaged my neck and spine to the point that I could no longer keep up my 5 times per week run. I could not run at all for years to come. The truth is, I will never be able to run the same again. I will likely have chronic pain from this accident in perpetuity.


The authors of The Art of Possibility ask us to consider our life as a game. If you visualize a chess board, what part of it are you?


What if you consider yourself to be the board?


So, if you are waiting peacefully at a traffic light and get smashed in the rear by a drunk driver, you may ask, after your immediate medical needs are ministered to and the shock and fury die down -- "How did that event get on the board that I am?" If you are playing this game of being the board, you do not say, "Why me?" or "The bastard!" or "This has destroyed my summer!" or "I'm never driving in Boston again!" Instead, you might look around, and say, "It's not personal that my car was totaled. It's a certain statistical probability that someone would have been there, waiting at the stoplight." Then you might look into the statistics on drunk drivers and see how many are repeat offenders, and notice that there are some loopholes in the law, which, if closed, might reduce the probability of the accident you just experienced, for others. You include your previous lack of awareness of these facts in your definition of how the accident got on your board. Or you might simply notice that you take a certain risk every time you step into your car. Being the board is not about turning the blame on yourself. You would not say, "I should have been more aware of the loopholes in the laws..." or, "It's my fault I didn't look behind me when I stopped at the traffic light" or, "I know I brought this on myself." Those would be sentiments from that other game, the game in which you divide up fault and blame.

-- The Art of Possibility by Zander & Zander


One of the most difficult things about becoming an adult is realizing that you can't do it all. There's limited time and limited resources.


I could become an attorney and, then, find ways to seek "more"justice for people who are victims of car wrecks.


If I choose to do that, it will also mean choosing not to do a great many other things.


So, no. That's not my path.


That's not the chess board of life I choose to build around me.


This is a new week. And I choose to make it a great week. There's food to eat. There are new ideas to read. There are posts for me to write. There's someone I can help.


What outcome is it you care about most?


I hope you'll choose to engage in this new week with me and, maybe, take a joyful step toward that outcome you seek to create for a better world.

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