Tuesday, August 31, 2010

All I Need to Know I Learned at Computer Solitaire

Yes, I do spend a lot of time at my computer. Yes, I often click open Freecell or Solitaire for breaks. Yes, that makes me a bit of a nerd.

But, given all that, i have to say that life lessons are all around you if one would only care to look. So here are a few that Solitaire seems to be trying to tell me - Solitaire's Ten Commandments i suppose.

a) Every hand is a good hand. It's the hand you're dealt. But a part of it is left upto chance. So breathe easy, it's not all in your control anyway (whew!)

b) Opportunities come at you often, probably in threes (who knows?). But you do have to click on them for them to show up. Basically, you need to put in a little bit of effort to let Life know you're ready to play.

c) What you do with these new cards however depends on a combination of the cards that you have been dealt and how well you spot the new ones. Pay a little attention.

d) Once a new card opens for you and you take it, it pretty much ensures that the previous opportunities will never come back to you in the way they did earlier. Maybe they'll come back later when you're better prepared for it. Maybe not. Either ways, each choice you make has far reaching consequences.

e) Sometimes we'd play a card and then a better card would come along and we'd find ourselves saying, 'Damn! I shouldn't have done (whatever) and then (something) wouldn't have happened and then i'll be able to get (whatever new shiny thing that has my fancy at this moment)!" Sorry kiddo, it just wasn't dealt that way. Don't take it personally.

f) You have to constantly rearrange the cards that you have been dealt to make space for new cards. You have to stack them in their correct order, or they don't move. Once you do, they all kind of effortlessly fall into place in their designated little spaces on top. And thus, you create space for the new opportunities every card brings to you.

g) If not a single new card that has opened works for you, well... Game Over. That is also the nature of the game - some hands aren't meant to be played. But you still need to have played it to know that.

h) However, if there is even a single card that is useful but which you haven't picked up, the game doesn't end until you do. Basically, it isn't game over until you squeeze the last drop of juice from every usable opportunity - jobs, people, chance encounters - that is presented to you.

i) I think most versions still have only one "undo" option. So make amends while you still can, because if you move too far, returning to the point of offence may be impossible. So "undo" while you can, and delay "Game Over" so that there's an option of "Game Won".

j) It's just a game. The only thing you have to do is play. With every Game Over, there's the option of Play Again. And you will get better at it.

PS: My current win rate at Computer Solitaire is 16%. So it's likely i'm wrong about everything.

PPS: It's also likely I spend too much time staring at my screen and maybe should get some semblance of a real life.

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