I’d thought about titling this, “Everything I need to know about life I learned from Solitaire”, but almost as soon as I thought it, I realized how silly that is. There’s nothing – no matter how glorious – that teaches you everything about life. It’s all a culminate experience from moment to moment.
Still, there are a number of things that I’ve learned about how life works as I play game after game of that simple Klondike-style pastime.
1. No matter what you’re dealt to begin with, success is mostly determined by that which you cannot see.
2. Even the best equation of potentiation cannot take into account the unknown variables. (Or, to put it another way, any assessment of potentiation is impacted infinitely by the factors of probability until all variables are defined.)
3. Even when you know all the variables, success is not guaranteed.
4. If you don’t like the hand that is dealt, reshuffle and try again.
5. Sometimes the way forward is the way back.
6. Always count your cards. Sometimes you have to sacrifice making an easy move in order to get to the good move.
7. No matter how silly it seems, your attitude does more to impact your success than any range of chance. Keep a good outlook and a positive expectation, and even the disappointments will be not so bad.
8. Figure out where your aces (foundational materials) are first, and then worry about the Kings. Without the former, having the latter won’t matter a hill of beans.
9. At some point, it’s time to hang it up and and try again later. Relentlessly attempting a win streak will only lead to sleepless nights and intense frustration.
10. Solitaire is great, but sometimes, you just need to play cards with other people – especially if you want to raise the stakes.
11. When faced with two possible moves of seemingly equal value, opt for the one that will show you something new.
12. There’s an undo button for a reason, but don’t go too far forward before going back or you might forget where you were trying to go.
13. Overall, the best algorithm will offer you a 20% chance to win. That’s one in five, averaged out. That’s pretty close to real life experience, too, so if you’ve had a bad streak, know that a good one is coming – life has just been saving it up.