You Play The Hand You Are Dealt

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There are things in my life I never thought would turn out the way they have. Why? It’s how the numbers fall. Keep reading, it will become much clearer.

All throughout my elementary school years, I was in the lowest group in reading. I once asked my second grade teacher if I could go up to the next reading group. My teacher accommodated. After a week I was back in the lowest group.

I have thought back on those years and wondered how I got into that situation at so young an age. Why was I a slow and even poor reader? I’ve never come up with an adequate answer. I can only figure it is what it is. In other words, the numbers didn’t fall my way.

Reading continued to be a struggle up until I was about nineteen. My theory on how I improved my reading was that I memorized words, so when I saw a word that looked like the word I had memorized, I mentally said that’s what it is. The reason for that is I had to memorize many lines for plays I was in – I was a theatre arts major. Plus, I had to memorize proselytizing lessons in a foreign language as I was preparing to go to Argentina as a Mormon missionary.

From that point to the present (1964-2019), I’ve made my living by reading enormous amounts of material. I’ve become a good reader – or maybe just a good enough reader. It’s been “a will to skill” for me.

But guess what? Last month I had a random breakthrough that shocked me.

I’m 74 years old, and for some reason, I started seeing the words I was reading with much greater clarity. Instead of recognizing the words because I had memorized words, my eyes began to see individual words, especially long words. I stopped and looked at words ( especially names) and broke them down. All of a sudden, passages and sentences had heightened meaning for me. There was a personal awakening. The closest I can think of to describe it is like when the dentist gives me nitrous (gas) to relax me before he works on my teeth. Life becomes very clear and distinct to me under nitrous. That’s the experience I’ve started having when I’m reading now.

Why has this crazy thing happened? I think the numbers started falling my way. Keep playing long enough and your luck changes. In other words, you keep reading diligently throughout your life, and eventually the odds starting turning in your favor. The hand that you were dealt changes overtime. The odds turn in your favor. I went from poor to adequate to excellent. And at that excellent point, I experienced what I can only describe as pure delight.

Don’t think I’m talking solely about my experience with reading. It generalizes to everyone who starts at the bottom of any activity. You go with the bad hand you’re dealt. You keep working at it until your hard work pays some dividend. You keep working at it until the rules of probability start moving slowly in your direction. And then when you least expect it, you break out and perform beyond your natural ability. Execution moves without effort. At that moment, the feeling of ecstasy will overwhelm you.

Have a great journey my friend.

Connecting With Yourself