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  • Lessons playing solitaire have taught me
    Lessons from Solitaire
    Solitaire Lessons
    Rules of life according to Spider Solitaire
    Addicted to solitaire lessons - from a lifetime of playing the game
    Addicted – lessons from a lifetime of playing spider solitaire
    Spider Solitaire’s rules of life

    It’s amazing I was able to tear myself away from Spider long enough to write this book. If like me, you have become addicted to this game, you understand. If you don’t, I feel sorry for you.

    Actually, that ‘s not true. I hate my addiction. Like most addicts, I can’t believe I ever got myself hooked into this thing. Just one more game… just one win… just one hand…

    Yeah right. Thank goodness it isn’t gambling or drink… or another kind of drug. This is a drug of the mind. It steals your time, your energy and your ability to move your life forward.

    I’ve played solitaire all my life. My mother taught me to play when I was five. And I was immediately sucked into the game. Cards slapping on the table, hours passing by. Mesmerizing play. What could be a better baby sitter for an inquisitive, loud and constantly questioning kid like me?

    Mostly luck, a little strategy, some observance of patterns and off you go. Down the rabbit hole.

    There are lessons to be had in this mind suck, stomach sickening, time losing occupation. And I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned by playing solitaire.

    And the cool thing is, I’ve promised myself that I will not play solitaire until this little piece is written.

    Won’t that be a trick if I can manage it??

    Chapter One

    Don’t worry about the score of each hand or the number of moves it takes to win.

    Just play the hand.

    In life as in spider, we often focus so much on the score that we don’t play.

    Just play.

    Life is short, we are here for a nano second. Some people who play the game will not like this message. Their goal is to finish a game as quickly as possible and to win. Got it. Winning counts big time. It does. Finishing quickly? Not so much. That’s a personal goal, but it doesn’t really count when it comes to adding up your win/loss percentage. A loss is a loss and a win is a win. No matter how long or how many moves it takes to get there.


    Chapter Two

    If you have to undo – then, undo. The score going along doesn’t matter if you don’t win in the end.
    Game scores are tallied based upon wins. It’s a percentage game. The percentage doesn’t mark how many moves it took to reach the win or loss, only the result.

    So, I say, if you make a move and before setting down the next round you notice that perhaps, possibly, maybe if you undid that move and tried another way of moving the cards around you might get a better result – try it.

    It might cost you moves on your game score. You might discover that your first instinct was right. But often, if you have a hit to undo and try a different approach, do it. It could lead to great things.


    Chapter Three

    Once you make a move and before you’ve dealt the next play, take another look at your options.
    If you can see that by undoing several moves you made on the play it will or might result in a better outcome, try it while you have the opportunity.

    Sure, it raises the number of moves to a win, but perhaps you will discover the only way to win the game is by undoing something when you notice a mistake. Or get a different perspective. Or have a new inspiration.

    The trick is to give yourself the option and the time to look over the field of play before moving on.

    Give yourself that time, stop. Meditate if you must. In your mind, take back the last few moves and envision the alternative moves.

    True, you can’t see which cards are beneath the ones you might have moved… but do the mental exercise anyway. Your goal here is to put yourself in the best position to take advantage of the next potential opportunity.

    If you think you may be in a better position by switching things around. Do it while you have the ability to do it. If you don’t like the result, you can always change it back before your next deal.

    Chapter Four

    Sometimes you really do get a do over.

    And when you do, often you will make a better result, even when you can’t remember exactly what your previous play of the same hand had been.

    If you lose a hand, you have an opportunity to replay it. If you feel confident that you might better your score or win the game, go for it.

    It will give you an opportunity to learn something. To trust a new set of instincts – ones that take you in a different direction than the ones that lead you to a loss.

    It won’t take long, it won’t ruin your life and you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you made every effort to learn something from that stack of cards.

    It’s just a stack of cards. It’s random. And what you are learning is how to deal with randomness. You may lay down several lines of cards that all seem to fit together beautifully and then… the random group comes down to completely mess up your plan.

    Here are your choices: you can exit the game – and this can be a time saver if with practice you become attuned to which games are worth stopping. Or you can stop, look and figure out what good you can make of these cards. Or you can let go of outcome, laugh and play out the game, knowing you will lose.

    Chapter Five

    You will lose more than you win.

    It’s true. You will. With skill, practice and some luck, you will get better. But you will lose more games than you win.

    That’s where tenacity comes in. And loving yourself and being able to understand that, it’s just a game. It all is. All of it.

    It’s OK to lose. But if you stop playing, you’ll cheat yourself out of the wins that are possible. And with practice, you will better know which games to play out, which to quit mid stream and which to end at first deal. This saves a lot of time and keeps the game interesting.

    Chapter Six

    Moving on is not giving up, it’s moving on.

    There are games that the moment the first line of cards is dealt, you know. This is not a winning hand. It is not worth the time it takes to go through all the dealings and all the strategy.

    Close it and move on.

    You’ve saved yourself a ton of time and a sick stomach. Breathe a sigh of relief that you dodged a bullet on that one and deal yourself another game.

    You have moved on to a better opportunity to win.

    Don’t fret, wonder or worry over it. Let it go. Move on.

    Chapter Seven

    There are patterns.

    Those patterns are the things you begin to notice in the lay of cards. They can tell you if your time is well spent. They can show you opportunities. They can get into your instincts and bring you insight into things that you wouldn’t otherwise know.

    Look for patterns of behavior in your life and in spider. They will lead you someplace wonderful. And help you avoid terrible mistakes.

    Chapter Eight

    Sometimes going backwards allows you to go forward.

    Sometimes putting the ‘wrong’ suit card in a stack uncovers a gold mine of the right cards to move the play forward.

    You have to trust your instincts.

    You really can undo most plays if you see you’ve made a mistake – but don’t wait until you’ve put down the next round of cards.

    Ask for advice if you wonder if you’ve played every possible choice before dealing the next round.

    There are some hands you just can’t win. Move on.

    All wins count equally. The score, the wins vs losses, isn’t based upon the number of moves/backward/forward/undos it took to make a win. A win is a win. It counts.

    If playing starts to make you sick. Stop and get back to your real life.

    Sometimes a bad habit can teach you something important. And make you a great living

    If you give up, you won’t win. But… Some hands aren’t worth finishing. Move on.

    The longer you play, the better you get at knowing if/when a hand is worth playing out and when it’s time to… yep… move on.

    Knowing when to move on to the next hand saves you a lot of time.

    Make up your own rules as to what constitutes winning. There have been times when the first deal in a new game shows me, this thing ain’t worth pursuing. Ever been there? Guess what? I count these hands as wins – screw the rules. If there are no moves to make in the first laydown – not even bad moves… I win!! By not playing. By recognizing that it’s time to move on.

    Chapter Nine

    Erase the score board and start fresh. The past is just that.

    After a couple of months of playing, you may find your percentage value score gets stuck or starts to go down. Yikes!! That means it’s time to reset the ol’ score keeper. Yep. Erase the past and start over. From scratch. Now, that doesn’t mean you erase the lessons or erase the knowledge or any of that. Just the score. Take the knowledge and bring it with you into the new blank slate where you can reset, restart, reevaluate and reimagine your life. I mean your game.

    This fresh start gives the game a whole new perspective a whole new outlook. Oh wait, it’s you who gets the new perspective. The game? It’s the same as it always was. It’s you who have grown and learned and changed. And now you can see the game in new and fresh ways.


    Every loss equals another chance to win.

    Turning off the sound can bring more enjoyment.

    Give your ears a break. You do really need to hear the electronic slap of every card? Besides, that noise lets others know you’re playing – again. And maybe you just want to be under the wire for a minute.

    Waiting for just the right card to come along can be a waste of time. Play the cards you’ve got.

    Don’t make a play just because you can. Especially if it involves putting unmatched suits together. If you can see no future pay off and a possible negative result. Pass on the play.

    Distracting yourself from your problems sometimes makes them go away. It’s true. Some things – if you don’t deal with them…eventually disappear. Other things – won’t. Like taxes or work or taking out the garbage. Ignore these things for any length of time and you’ll be in a world of hurt. Don’t use some silly game as a way of messing up your life. When you start to feel sick playing it, stop.

    Getting away from an addictive habit requires a replacement activity. Hence, I’m writing this piece.

    Sure, it’s my therapy and it’s your entertainment. We all love a good train wreck, right?

    And, this is more than a good train wreck, it’s about noticing and creating the life you want.

    Take the lessons where you find them and please don’t diss the messenger. We’re all a work in progress.

    Until… it’s over.
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