3 Mah Jongg Life Lessons

image001I just finished teaching a mah jongg strategy class. There were 12 eager ladies, each wanting to improve her game. After the class I thought about the strategies I shared. What I recognized was that there were life lessons embedded within each one.

Here are three main points I presented and my thoughts on how each one connects to broader issues in our daily lives. See what you think.

1. You can’t play every hand on the card.

There are 59 possible hands on the 2014 card. The idea is to rack the tiles you get dealt and then scan the card trying to find possible hands to go for. Many players get stuck here – not knowing what to pass during the charleston.

The life lesson here – you can’t do it all. We all need to learn to choose what we do. The best way I’ve found to do this is to be clear about my overarching goal – where I want to go – who I want to be/become. Then I choose projects, activities and actions that align with my goal and bring me closer to it.

2. You can’t mahj second.

I don’t remember who first said this phrase or where I read it so I apologize that can’t give proper credit here. I do love it because it reminds me to detach. Let go. Don’t get so caught up in wanting to win that I hold on when all evidence tells me that it is not meant to be. And in 10-15 minutes I’ll play another game.

In life, I find myself asking, what am I holding onto (behaviors, a job, a relationship) that is no longer working. Detaching, letting go, is very freeing. When we let go, we can step back and really look at our lives and circumstances more objectively. We can initiate new actions that will better serve our current needs and lead to achievement of our goals. Letting go, detaching, is critical to success in so many aspects of our lives.

3. There is no perfect way to play the tiles you are dealt.

Each player gets 13 tiles and the dealer gets 14. The first person to get her 14 tiles to match one of the hands on the yearly card wins the mah jongg game.

We are all dealt cards/tiles in our lives. I’d like to be 5’ 10” but that just isn’t the body height I was dealt. So I play my 5”3” height the best I can. That’s all I can do.

We all need to learn to accept the hands we are dealt in life. Uncover our gifts and talents and play our life hands extra-ordinarily well.

I covered several other strategies in the class.In a future blog I’ll cover a few more. For now, perhaps the seeds I’ve planted here will get you thinking.

Happy Mahjing!