It’s not about the cards you’re dealt, it’s all about how you play them
I’ve been holding this in for a while. Because I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings. Because I fear conflict. Because I don’t want to offend. Because I know that I haven’t been in some of your shoes, and it’s wrong to judge.
But here it goes.
I get angry when I see some of you whine.
And so as not to seem like a hypocritical ass, let me open the door to this human confessional and say, “Forgive me father, for I have whined.” And I hate myself for this when I do it. Because in many ways I’m spoiled.
As a matter of fact, I consider myself pretty privileged in this universal game of Monopoly. I don’t own Boardwalk or Park Place but I’m not living on Mediterranean or Baltic Avenue either.
So life for me could definitely be better but it could also be a lot worse. And I know it’s easier to say “suck it up” when you’ve got a loving family and a fairly secure middle-class income.
But sometimes I get frustrated at times living on Virginia Avenue. And I vent.
And there’s nothing wrong with venting. After all, everybody’s got to get all the nasty stuff out at some point. If we don’t, it will eat us up inside.
However, there’s a difference between venting and whining. Because people who vent purge their negative emotions and get back to work. They deal with it. They say, “Man I landed in jail and this really sucks. Gotta work on my dice game for those double rolls.”
But people who whine land in jail and sit helplessly in the corner, deciding they’ll never get that lucky roll of the dice that will allow them to move on with their lives.
The truth is, all of us land in “jail” sometimes. Even the celebrities or successful, beautiful people we envy. Because no one’s life is fair. And everyone breathing on this planet has problems.
As a matter of fact when you look at the facts I have written below, I guarantee you there is not one person alive who hasn’t felt experienced these ugly truths of life. Kim Kardashian has dealt with these things. Bill Gates has dealt with these things. You name it. As I said before, everyone has at some time put on the orange jumpsuit and found themselves in the prison cafeteria line.
And my mother has a saying she gives me every time I start to whine about these experiences. She says, “It is what it is. You just have to deal with it.”
Now that doesn’t mean you fall down and become hopeless. That doesn’t mean you stop playing the game. It means you go, “Okay, this is what I have to deal with. So I’m gonna keep rolling the dice or looking for a way to earn the fifty bucks that will get me off of this crappy spot on the board.”
So wherever you are in life, even if at this exact moment you find yourself in “the slammer,” with no “get out of jail free” card in your hand, take a deep breath and state the obvious.
“It is what it is.”
Then find a way to deal with it.
Fact Number One: Not Everyone is Going to Like You. Deal With It.
Maybe you’re not one of the beautiful ones. Maybe you could stand to lose a few pounds or you find yourself with those pesky fine lines and wrinkles that life inevitably bestows upon us all. Maybe you’re shy and introspective and people mistake you for being anti-social. Maybe you’re bold and eccentric and people say you’re delusional or crazy.
And I hate to break your heart if you are lucky enough to have not experienced this harsh reality yet but I’m getting ready to lay it on you so here goes: some people don’t like you.
Today or yesterday or last week, someone was making jokes at your expense or ranting about your personality.
And it is what it is. So deal with it.
How do you deal with it?
Go out and find your tribe. Because I guarantee you, you have one. Somewhere. They say that B&O Railroad is the railroad landed on most often. So take a ride, and mingle.
You’ll eventually find another person trying to find a cure for the same poison you’re dealing with at the moment. Or maybe you’ll find a person who appreciates and respects your ability to shoot from the hip and say what you feel or to be unapologetically authentic and unconventional.
These people are out there. And if you can make an effort to keep riding that train, you’ll find them. And once you do, you can cry on each other’s shoulders and work together to kick those monkies off your backs holding you down.
Or maybe you and your tribemate decide that what other people find unappealing about your shared traits is actually the key to success. So activate your superpowers together and set out to conquer the world. Show those haters how stupid they were to underestimate your power.
But whatever you do, don’t let other people’s negative opinions of you change you. Let them talk trash. “You do you” and seek out others who like you for doing this.
Fact Number Two: The World is Not Fair. Deal With It.
As I said before, some of you grew up on Baltic Avenue and are hustling to make ends meet. Some of you are rolling in the dough and then find yourself having to pay a luxury tax which leaves you almost destitute. Maybe each time you pass go, you land on a hefty income tax that makes your assets dwindle exponentially.
It is what it is. So deal with it.
Hustle. Pay your fines. Then vow to keep moving down that board. Eventually, you will pass go and collect 200 dollars. And when you do, make the most of it.
Don’t quit because that two hundred dollars is all you’ve got to your name. Use it. Buy a house on Mediterranean. If it’s a dump, fix it up. It might take you a while if you're not rolling in the dough, but if you play your cards right, you can definitely do some renovations.
No matter what, everyone at some point gets another turn in life, another roll of the dice, so when the moment is right, make the best of it. Don’t give up. People have started with nothing and are now living in places that make Boardwalk look like a crumbling slum.
Oprah Winfrey was on Baltic Avenue. To a single mother in Mississippi. And as bad as this property was in and of itself, to make matters worse she also had no running water or electricity at times.
Now? She’s worth over 3 billion dollars.
Living right next door on the same avenue was rapper Shawn Carter, whom most people know as Jay Z. He started out in the projects of Brooklyn and sold drugs just to survive. Today, his net worth is over 819 million.
They all took their 200 hundred dollars and dealt with it, They worked it to their advantage. You can too.
Fact Three: You’re Going to Make the Wrong Choices at Some Point. Deal With It.
Maybe you’re kicking butt in the game and you land on Illinois Avenue. And pass up the chance of buying it. Besides jail, it’s the most landed on property.
Or you purchase Mediterranean Avenue, the least landed on property.
You put all your money or your time or your love into something or somebody, and you get little to no return on your investment.
It is what it is. Deal with it.
Yes, vent if you must. That stuff hurts. Bad choices such as these take away our money. They break our hearts. They leave us temporarily hopeless.
But remember, the game is not over yet.
And if you’re smart, the bad choices will do a few things for you.
They’ll teach you something if you let them. For example, the next time you land on Illinois, you’ll lay out a few bucks to buy it. The next time you land on Mediterranean, you pass.
And the next time you get to choose your playing piece, you’ll choose the race car, so the minute you see a bad choice in the making, you can get the heck out of dodge. And you’ll pass up the thimble because it is immobile and you’ve learned it can leave you pricked and bleeding.
Quite simply, you’ll make better decisions because you learned from them.
So deal with it.
Pick up your playing piece and move more intelligently back into the game. Each time you’re burned, you can make a new start.
For example, You can break ties with that rainy day friend who stabs you in the back. You can choose to not fall for the slick lies of a salesman or the smooth words of a cheating Casanova.
Just make sure you remember those bad moves when you make them. Or you’ll make them again.
The Bottom Line:
Perhaps it’s a bit cliché to compare life to a game. But the truth is, it can be a really powerful metaphor for looking at life. Because while we can’t always control what spots we may land on in life or what penalties we will have to pay, we can remember that as long as we’re in the game we have a shot at winning.
And, maybe you didn’t get to choose your player piece and you ended up with a wheelbarrow so loaded with heavy baggage that it feels impossible to move forward.
So, don’t whine.
It is what it is. So deal with it.
After all, a wheelbarrow has wheels. Keep on pushing and eventually, you may find yourself right where you want to be.