We were little kids and made up a silly game as children do. The concept was that a color combination was given as a kind of “math” problem. Green + Yellow, for example. The other person had to guess what that combination was equal to out of a variety of fighting styles: judo, kung-fu, boxing, etc. I’m not sure exactly how or why the game developed but the only thing that kept the game mildly interesting was that the person posing the question didn’t have to follow the pattern of past combinations. “Red + Green = Judo” one minute and the next “Red + Green = Boxing”. While that variety added some intrigue, it also could create frustration as the person guessing starts to feel like they can never win. Childish game right! Despite the fact that it was a silly game, it mirrors two ideas that are worth considering.
Sunk costs – This term is used to describe investment of time, money, effort, etc. into an endeavor. Some people get extremely hung up on sunk costs. The amount of investment that they’ve put into something makes the situation more difficult to walk away from regardless of the prospects of success. It’s difficult to walk away from Judo because that’s what Red + Green was before. Unfortunately the game is fluid and does not really care what happened before. Sometimes “sunk costs” need to be allowed to sink, so that you don’t go down with them.
Set up your rules to win – There was nothing won or lost in our silly little game. So nobody got overly worked up about the results. It was obvious that the person posing the question also had control of the answer. It’s a great idea for going through life that many people ignore. Pain + Reflection = Progress is a completely acceptable equation for people to use regularly. It sets the user up for success rather than failure. Unfortunately for many people Pain = Pain + Complaining = Frustration. This equation is a disaster for the person who adopts it but many do. It’s easy to forget that you are making up the rules for your mind. If your rules have you set up to lose, then change them.
We’re always playing games, whether we are conscious of it or not. Most of the games are played inside of our own minds. Keeping score (if we do) and determining success are largely up to us. It’s not the childish game that my brothers and I played. However it is just as malleable. Almost nothing is set in stone. There is no rule definitive rule book that everyone follows. Most of it is a mismatch of experiences from our pasts that create our defaults. Just remember that those defaults are not particularly right. The world has many shades of color combinations and it’s your job to figure out how to fight what life throws at you.
Red + Green = Judo!