PER ASPERA AD ASTRA: 5 Life Lessons Worth Learning From Playing Games

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By Xenia S. Estralla

Even as a child, I always looked forward to game nights that my family would schedule to hold, usually during weekends or summer out-of-town trips.  One of the opportunities that this pandemic has given my household for over a year now is the chance to schedule game nights more often, and even shift from playing at night to holding fun table tournaments in the daytime whenever we  feel like it. I enjoy the bonding, the jokes, the food; basically, the wonderful memories that all this playing with family brings.

Chess, Mahjong, Gin Rummy and Memory Game.  These are my family’s go-to table games for fun — all relaxing, yet challenging; all concepts are easy to understand, yet each has depth in meaning and perception when compared to real life.  Yes, just as animal behavior can show wisdom and teach us about ourselves, I find it so interesting to see values that many ‘man-made’ creations can teach us to build good character and self-love that can help frame a happy and fulfilled life.

Patience.  Our games require players to wait for our turn and quickly design tactics in our minds to plan our moves, no matter how brief the wait and planning need to be.  As in life, we need to develop appropriate systems needed and have the good sense to work hard to achieve our goals and patiently wait for what we want.  We don’t have to win all the time because there’s bound to be something worth getting in the end, be it a different outcome that can work for us or another chance at something. This is a big lesson we can get from having patience, too.

Confidence.  We basically play individual games where we need to rely only on ourselves to come up with good strategies that we feel will bring us to win every game played.  In real life, we need to believe in ourselves; our own capabilities and strengths to get us through every trying moment that we can possibly come across throughout our every journey in this world.

Respect.  Winning does not give anybody the right to gloat.  Each game allows everyone the opportunity to encourage every player to understand that anybody can still win the next game.   Everyone needs to be given his time to play and do with his turn what he feels is right.  Respect gives us the ability to show high regard to others not because they may be popular, or they always win, but rather because we allow them to be the kind of unique individuals that they are.

Resilience.  It is so easy to give up on anything, really.  In both play and actual life though, we have to learn to adjust to situations that face us so we can keep on going even when things get difficult.  When we’re losing, we remember it’s not the end of the world; someone has to win and if this is not my time, then I should be happy for the winner as I keep on striving for my time to come.

Perseverance.  We all need to strive for the never-give-up attitude.  Games are called that because somebody wins and somebody has to lose.  Just because we, possibly, don’t win first should not result in us giving up.

“No matter what happens, you can get through this day.  Inhale.  Focus on the word, relax.  Exhale.  Say, ‘I can do this!’, and then do it.”

-Ace Antonio Hall

Always remember that life has its ups and downs.  That’s just the way it is for everyone and it is each one’s responsibility to remember this and live each day to the fullest, without succumbing to disappointments, doubts and losses.  

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