Card games & self-awareness

>> Find something to get self-aware <<

Maybe you’ve read or heard about how Donald Rumsfeld launched a new app called “Churchill Solitaire”. I’m not going to write about him or about his app, but about what it taught me.

I love games and as soon as I read his article I downloaded the app and started playing. Eventually, I deleted it again and used real playing cards to play this game during my breaks. I really liked it. It’s challenging and something to give my mind a break. But it was so much more than this.

What I realised after a few weeks of playing was that this card game told me more about my mental state than many self-help and productivity books could. I noticed this on a day when I wasn’t feeling motivated. I knew it, but I couldn’t say why or how it affected me.

In my break, I was starting to play this game. I lost several times in a row until it finally hit me. This game was an indicator on how I acted when I was feeling good or bad.

If I was looking for more options in the game to “win”, I was in a positive state, but if I was in a negative state I gave up more easily. I barely checked the cards to find other options to win.

I was shocked. How could a simple card game tell me so much about how I was feeling. It still baffles me and since then I’m paying, even more, attention to it.

Of course, it’s not the card game itself, it’s still me, but the card game acted like the trigger which let to more self-awareness.


Self-awareness is really key to being successful and building a good life. But it’s not only the self-awareness of your strengths and weaknesses it’s also about what you are doing in certain situations.

I realised that I was coming up with fewer ideas when I was feeling negative and that I gave up more easily. As soon as I realised this and persevered I often got back into the game. I tested the same thing with my work.

On some days, I just “didn’t feel like it” which is a really stupid thing to do. On other days, I woke up late and thought “I can’t do as much work as I would like to, so just chill”. I now know that both of these scenarios are really stupid and as soon as I got started and stuck with it for 15 or 25 minutes I got back into the game.

I didn’t need any self-help books or anything, but just a few playing cards and a little time and attention on my side to realise how all of this was connected. I probably already knew all of this before, but the card game showed it to me in such an easy way that I could not not do it.

Of course, this is only what worked for me, but I think the concept of self-awareness still holds true. Whether it’s finding out about your strengths and weaknesses or finding reasons why you can’t get to sleep in the evening or to work in the morning. It’s all about self-awareness.

In order to change yourself and your surroundings, you need to be self-aware of them.

Another benefit of self-awareness is that it keeps you in the present, which is the only thing we’ve got. The past and the future are only concepts in our head. The present, on the other hand, is the only thing we ever have.

The moment in the future you are thinking about, will also be the present as soon as it is realised.

Unfortunately, we forgot how to stay in the present. Our minds are constantly jumping from the past (“our regrets”) to the future (“our wishes”), but they don’t like to stay in the present.

I can’t tell you how you can become self-aware. You need to experiment with this. For me, it was a card game that showed it to me (again). It’s also cooking, eating and exercising. All those things keep me in the present. Writing is another thing that makes me aware of the present.

For some people, meditation does the trick. You need to experiment with this.

Try to find something that helps you become more self-aware. The quality of your life will improve.

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