Melissa Blake

Melissa Blake

Disabled and Thriving

Roll The Dice of Life

How the skills of Yahtzee help you reach your goals

Posted Oct 12, 2009

I come from a long line of board-game lovers. And there is one game - well, it's not so much a board game as it is a roll-of-the-dice game - that resembles life in its purest form.

Like Yahtzee, life, especially with a disability, is all about taking chances. If you've got three sixes on your first roll, by all means, go for that Yahtzee. Like I always say, if you want to see big returns, you have to take a risk. Yes, you may be scared (and you may have to settle for a puny score), but the point is you tried. And one day, all that trying will pay off. In fact, I once rolled three ones on my first turn. Now, I didn't need ones, but I took the risk anyway and ended up getting a Yahtzee (that's six ones, worth a whopping 50 points for all you novices out there). And the icing on the cake? I beat my mother!

Like Yahtzee, life is riddled with possibilities. There's nothing like a crisp, white scorecard at the start of a new game. It's all there for the taking. Fours. Threes of a kind. Full house. Large straight. The all-mighty Yahtzee. That small scorecard is life in all its infinite possibilities. I've found the trick is to keep shaking or rolling the dice of life until you find something you like, whether that be a new hobby, a career change or even an exotic trip you've been dying to take.

Like in Yahtzee, you win some and you lose some in life. For example, I delightfully found myself on a Yahtzee winning streak a few months ago. To tell the truth, I grew a bit tired of playing because, frankly, I felt under-challenged. As my winning tallies kept building, so did my self-confidence, and, according to my mother, I may have developed a bit of a swelled head. And then, just like that, the wins vanished and were replaced with an endless void of losses. And I'm talking big-time losses. The tide had shifted right into my mother's favor. Let's face it: No one's perfect; we all make mistakes, say things we wish we could take back, even make fashion faux pas that could land us on Hollywood's Worst-Dressed List. At the core, life is about being highly attuned to those peaks and valleys, knowing that each extreme won't last forever and learning to take those bad times in stride and be thankful for those smooth moments, no matter how brief or short-lived.

Like in Yahtzee, there's always room for improvement in life. A few years ago, it must have been during one of my euphoric winning streaks, I bought my mother a Yahtzee strategy book. I thought she needed help in stepping up her game, and who better to give her that gift than me, the Master? She started flipping through the book, reading aloud passages on the statistical likelihood of getting a Yahtzee. She was so enthused. And the beautiful part? Her game improved. With a little hard work and some elbow grease, even if you think your game or life is perfect, there's always room for improvement. You just have to know where to look. It could be something as fun and easy as taking a cooking class, or something a bit more serious like upping your exercise regime.

Like repeatedly rolling those dice, it's all about persistence. The next time my mother and I sit down to that hardwood table, which by now is littered with dice scratches from our many exuberant games, I'll keep those life lessons poised on the tips my fingers. The world is your Yahtzee. Roll it. What are you waiting for?