July 13, 2023
July 27, 2023

Winning and Losing

Photo by Ivan Obolensky

What’s to be done?

I’m not stupid. Likely, I think I’m smarter than I really am, which would be typical. The question I have is: am I smart enough? This is not just my own personal question, but one we all have to wrestle with. Granted, there are those who rise magically above us all. What makes them so different, and to put a point on it, why aren’t we in the same situation?

Let’s be practical. There are winning games and losing games. There are also games where you win on the one hand and lose on the other. The question is, which ones are you involved in right now?

A losing game is a game where the winds of fortune are not in your favor. It’s like going to a casino. Given a large number of attempts to win, and in spite of the occasional jackpot, you will lose. If you continue to play, you will lose everything. Should you find yourself in a losing game, stop playing.

Let’s flip it around. Suppose you own a casino. The odds now favor you. In a winning game, the best strategy is to continue the game. That may seem obvious, but it’s worth rephrasing that concept in a different way: those who control a winning game never want the game to end and will never relinquish control voluntarily. Why should they? They’re winning.

Chances are you’re not in a winning game or a losing game but somewhere between the two.

Of course, real life can’t be reduced to just odds and probabilities. They influence us but don’t dictate our existence. One can have all the advantages in the world, and still end up in the toilet. One can have little chance of success and still become a miracle. Find yourself in the middle, and struggle is likely your companion with the occasional sunset thrown in.

Should you wish for something different, you might consider the following:

“Some people are called to be a good sailor. Some people have a calling to be a good tiller of the land. Some people are called to be a good friend. You have to be the best at whatever you are called at. Whatever you do. You ought to be the best at it – highly skilled. It’s about confidence, not arrogance. You have to know that you’re the best whether anybody else tells you that or not. And that you’ll be around, in one way or another, longer than anybody else. Somewhere inside of you, you have to believe that.”*

“When you feel in your gut what you are and then dynamically pursue it – don’t back down and don’t give up – then you’re going to mystify a lot of folks.”

The writer is Bob Dylan, and if there ever was a person who rose magically above us all, he would be such a one. Those words are the closest I’ve come across as to why that path was his.

Sometimes to really win, you have to change the game and mystify a lot of folks.

*From “Bob Dylan Unleashed”. Interview with Mikal Gilmore, September 27, 2012

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