Last night was game night at our house. We played a card game that my children had never played before. To begin, I read them the instructions on how to play the game, how the game is scored, and how to win. After reading the last of the instructions, I looked up to find my kids staring at me as if I had just read them the instructions in gibberish. Or Swahili. Or Swahili gibberish. Which is extra hard for native English speakers to understand.
I’ve seen that look before. In fact, it feels as if I’ve seen that WTF-ish look every time I’ve ever played a new game with anyone, ever.
The simple fact is that games are complicated. It’s very difficult to absorb the complexities of a new game as the rules of the game are read to you. And if you take a moment to step back, you quickly realize is that everything in life is a game. Not just sports, or things that Milton Bradley and those good-timing Parker Brothers dreamed up. EVERYTHING is a game. Including:
- real estate
- relationship building
- test taking
- riding a bike
- That thing couples do that turns them into parents
Learn By Playing
To learn a new game you simply have to play it. There is no way around it. You have to learn the rules as you go. You learn through the process of playing. Not by absorbing an overview of the rules of the game before you start.
Far too often we delay playing the most interesting games (entrepreneurship, investing, writing, pickleball) until we have studied it completely. But studying the games of life is largely procrastination. Learn 10% ahead of time, and then start. You’ll learn the rest on the chutes and ladders.
You don’t learn how to play the games of life by reading the instructions. You learn by actually playing the games. The details reveal themselves as you go. The games you will play are far too complicated to comprehend through simply reading. So start playing. Clarity will come quickly when you are rubbing against the rules rather than reading them.
It’s your turn.
*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.