Free Cell, Spider Solitaire and the Secrets of the SUCCESS / INTELLIGENCE / LUCK Ratio

Free Cell and Spider Solitaire has revealed the secret of success.

Success ( I define as achieving your goals, whatever they are ) does not require a greater degree of intelligence than you already possess. It does however require a different skill set than you currently have.

 I learned this in a very practical way playing Free Cell and Spider Solitaire on my computer.

We experienced a slowdown in our internet connection. This resulted in a maddening delay in EVERYTHING. To keep from going crazy I would play a game of Free Cell on the computer while waiting for pages to  s l o w l y  load.

I have never thought of myself as a particularly intelligent person, just an average student. No flashes of scholarly greatness. No brilliant insights.  Average in every way. Stumped by algebra. Forget about Calculus.

When I started playing the game Free Cell, I was slow. deliberate, made mistakes, got myself stuck.  Lost a lot. I accepted that it was just LUCK.  Sometimes that cards were dealt in a way that allowed me to win, sometimes there was no way to win and I accepted the loss. Lots of losses. After all, I am not real smart.

The internet connectivity issue persisted, I continued to play. Much more than I ever would normally. I normally would have quit.

I found out command Z undid your last move. I could back myself out of corners. (Don’t you wish Life had a “do over “ button?     Btw it does… its called “ MORNING” )

As I continued to play I started to be able to see the moves well in advance,  know well in advance how the consequence of one move would affect many others, see the options, find alternatives. And  I got much quicker.  I found a way to win.  Then I would win more, and then win consistently.

I became very good,  I liked winning.  I did not accept losing.  I knew there was a way to win every time.   Command Z .   I gave up the idea of LUCK,  winning or losing had nothing to do with the way the cards were dealt.

Then Free Cell got too easy, so I switched to Spider Solitaire. I went thru the same experience.

Slow. Losing. Stumped. Maybe this game is really about luck and not skill…I thought.

Then I kept playing and got really good. And started to win consistently.

What’s going on here? Did I get smarter? Why am I able to remember more?  How can I see more moves in advance? Did my intelligence increase? My brain expand? My memory increase? The dormant Savant in me finally come out?   Or did my luck change?

No, my skill set improved thru WORK, FOCUS, REPETITION. PERSISTENCE.

Here is the great news:  This simple game has taught me that everything is within my grasp. It is not about needing more intelligence or better luck, it is simply that I need to develop skills I don’t have presently via focused repetition.  Soon enough it will become easy.

The slow internet problem is resolved. But it lasted long enough for me to learn one of life’s simple truths. 🙂 

I don’t need to be smarter, I am smart enough. I just need to keep trying until I figure it out.

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