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  • Writer's pictureNicole Danielle

STORIES FROM THE ROAD | How to WIN at this game called LIFE.

There's a famous cliché that says, "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game.


I love to gamble. 

I really do.

You stick me in front of a Deal or No Deal or Monopoly slot machine, glass of Pinot Grigio in-hand and I’m entertained for hours!  For me, it's just mindless entertainment and I really just wanna expereince the excitement when hitting a bonus!

Slots, dice, card gamesthere’s such a rush. But with that rush, of course, the highs and lows. 

Personally, for me it's just fun because when I do play, I try to also play responsibly. 

When it comes to gambling, I have one unbreakable ruleI never gamble with more than I’m willing to lose!  There’s acutally a method I have when I’m sitting at the tablesonce I start winning, I take my initial money I began playing with and slip that back into my purse.  So then, I’m only playing with what I have already won and, at the very "worst case scenario," I leave the game at "even."

In life, I have that same rule—never gamble with more than you're willng to lose.

A lot of people I know LOVE Black Jack.  They think it’s such a great game and if you win, you can really win big.  Me, I hate Black Jack!  I don’t get it.  I’m the person you DON’T ever want at your Black Jack table!  If something in me tells me to “hit,” I wanna “hit.”  If I look at my hand and my gut tells me to “stay,” I wanna “stay.”  People say there’s table rules but I say fuck that!  Why I am going to chance my own hand for the sake of the table?!  I just don’t get it.

I told you, you don't want me at your table.

But for me the same applies to life! I'm big into following your intuition and when you listen to your "gut," no matter what's better for everyone else... you have to do what's best for your own physical, mental & spiritual health. Those are "game rules" that should never ever be compromised but, unfortutnaly, oftentimes they are.

In Black Jack, if I act and play in a way that compromises the money I can make to help everyone else win, well that’s kinda crappy! Because when those people do win, I’m not seeing any of that money.  They win, I lose.  How is that fair? Same in life, if I do something just to please others and make them happy and it ultiamtely does me harm in some way, well that's a wrong hand I played.

"It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.”  Ok, well then maybe I shouldn’t play Black Jack.  Because if that’s how it has to be, I’d rather just take my play elsewhere than sacrifice the move I know is best for me.

I was in Vegas over my 25th birthday with a great group of friends.  I was walking through the casino with one of my girlfriends and was just listening to her complain about things going wrong with her boyfriend.  Randomly, I pulled her over to a row of slots that I can’t even recall the name it was that generic.  I put in $20 and while continuing to listen to her, I just kept pulling the lever.  I wasn’t even paying attention to what I was betting or what was happening on the screen and out of nowhere, I just heard sounds of money.  I looked at my machine and had somehow just won $300!  Ohhhhhit was SO exciting!  I couldn’t believe it. 

I wasn’t focusing on what was in front of me, contemplating every move nor was I overly concerned with the negativity of the conversation happeningall I was doing was just enjoying the moment I was in, regardless of what was around me.  And I won!  It was such an overwhelming feeling of excitement.  Sure, I felt bad because the attention turned away from the conversation we were having about her personal situation but I wasn't taking any of it too seriosuly because something fun came out of it.  I know to some $300 might not seem like a lot of money or that big of a winbut to a 25 year old who was playing the most random nickel slot, that $300 just paid for a lot of my road trip!

It can often times be tempting to take on the energy of others and the environment around us when it's not positive because well, let's just it, misery loves company. And for many, it's easier to bask in the same energy and narrative instead of the one we choose. And during that slot winning moment, I won because I stayed attentive but in my own space and didn't become more than it needed to be. It is possible to be present and attentive to others while staying in your own positive mindset. It's often just about finding the balance.

Look, whoever says they don't like to win is either a fool or just a liar. ;-)  There are many sitautions in life where winning does matter—and let's be real, losing is surely no fun.  But it’s all in a matter of your ATTITUDE and how you look at things in lifewhether it be a poker hand, a relationship, your jobthe subject we're talking about doesn’t necessarily matter, it’s how you handle the cards you’re dealt that do. 

I can sit here and complain and say I hate Black Jack and to me it isn’t any fun but then the harsh truth is, I simply shouldn’t play it and just remove it from my life.  “It’s how you play the game”… the game, is life!  Winning/losing, good/bad doesn’t matter so much as how YOU handle the cards you’re dealt. 

What you give, truly is what you receive. 

If you manipulate in life, life will manipulate you. 

If you love above all else, life will shower you with love. 

If every time something bad happens you think the world is coming to an end, then you’ve overlooked the instructions the game (life) gave you before you began. 

I’m a competitive opponent.  I don’t easily lose.  I fight for the win.  As I fight in life. And keeping a positive mindset is a constant fight because the noise of the world can get really loud. But it is worth fighting for, worth playing for because your mindset, your attitude and how you approach everything in life is the first step to WINNING in life!

I believe if you want something more than anything, you can’t ever give up.  You fight with every single ounce of everything you have because once it’s gone, it’s gone.  There is no going back. 

You play a bad hand, the dealer isn’t going to give you a refund on your money. 

You make a bad choice, Father Time isn't turning back the clock.

Those are some facts of life. 

But what you can choose is how you react to what has happened and focus on the hand, the moment in front of you now. 

Your attitude is everything. You want to WIN in life, it starts there.


How will you choose to live your life? 

Me, I choose grace. 

No matter what life throws at me, I’ve learned to accept the challenges (good and bad) and make the most out of every experience.  After all, I’m the one who chose to play.  No one forced me to do thatI did that myself. 

So own up to the cards life deals you and accept the responsibility of your part in it all. 

And if Round 1 didn’t quite go as you planned or pay out like you hopedstand up, dust yourself off and remember, Round 2 is just getting started.

At every stage in life, whether we realize it or not, we are always playing the game. Keep betting on yourself and when you've got a hot hand, keep on rollin' those dice.

Here's hoping we all win!

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