It’s not about influencing the dice, it’s about influencing the game!

“Don’t worry about the things you can’t control”

Last week was a bit tiring for me. Loads of projects, loads of worries, lots of competing deadlines. That’s why I decided to take the weekend off with my family somewhere in the green mountains area. My father saw that I was a bit stressed out and in order to convince me to relax he proposed a Yahtzee game with silk road white ice tea on the side. I lost the first Yahtzee game and started blaming it on my dice-rolling skills. That’s when my father told me that this is one of the main mistakes we people make in dice games as well as in life. “You should never focus on influencing the dice. Of course, there are experimented players who manage to excercise and strike the dice they wise more often than not. However, what you can do in order to master the Yahtzee game is focus on what you can control. You should not focus on the dice. You should just let the dice be. Focus on how to play the dice that you get, focus on your decision as to where that score should go, what dice should stay and which should be rolled again etc.”.

Pretty deep as simple as it may sound. And I must add that the next Yahtzee games were far better in terms of my general score and I even managed to win one. What I did was a small change in strategy. I switched my focus from what numbers I wanted the dice to roll and from the process of rolling the dice to the game itself, to the way I should play the dice I am given. This is the only real strategy you can have. When you switch your focus from luck to strategy you get results. When you switch your attention to the things you can influence, this is when you can move forward.

It is usually the same in business, personal life, team management etc. Instead of focusing on changing the market conditions or the client, a better use of your time is to change the way you meet the client’s needs. Instead of focusing on changing your spouse, focus on how to make him/her happy and focus on expressing your needs assertively to reach common ground. In order to build a fantastic team, you should focus not on changing people, but on using the team member’s strengths as well as you can.

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