Over the last several months I have been sharing excerpts of the 12 axioms that guide the play of the Decade Game®. These axioms constitute some of the new rules to live by in order to design the best decade of your life, so far. Two weeks ago, I shared axiom #4: There is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes. That axiom underscores the reality that your desired itinerary doesn’t always go as planned, however your journey can still be miraculous.
There is an expression that I grew up with – maybe stemming from my “coming of age” in the turbulent 1960s - - If you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem. I find that the old clichés work better if you turn them around. In the Decade Game, axiom #5 in the rules of play state: "If you aren't part of the problem, you can't be part of the solution.
The Decade Game has less to do with knowing the right answer and fixing stuff that is wrong than it does empathetically leaning into what is longing to become right. It is based on the distinction between “change” and “transformation”. Believing that something needs to change comes from a mindset that makes the past wrong in some way. It evokes the underlying belief of “I shoulda, coulda, woulda” in the past. It invokes two of the worst words in the English language, “if only” - - if only things had been different, if only I made a different choice then, If only I had known… This deficit mindset creates a shaky foundation for the future choices – a tentative energy about the wisdom of your next decisions.
Transformation is a different energy. It honors everything that has come before and has gotten me to this point - - all the experiences, learnings, mistakes, scenic routes and encounters. This sturdy foundation is grounded on the belief that I couldn’t have become the person I am now if I hadn’t experienced what I had in the past. Rather than hoping for perfect foresight, I can find security in 20:20 hindsight, knowing I have the choice and power as the designer of my next decade to choose wisely.
Instead of beating myself up for missteps or lost time, by having experienced first-hand the “problem”, I am much better prepared to be smarter on my next moves. In my decades as a corporate strategist, I often told leadership teams that their job is not to predict the future, but to be best prepared to embrace an uncertain future.
This mindset also honors the willingness to own up to my own share of responsibility and accountability for past troubles – to forgive but not forget. By having a gentle, non-judgmental, compassionate and forgiving recollection of the past, I can look to the future to design solutions with clear sight and an open heart, better prepared for what lies ahead.
Both the traumas and the triumphs of the past become the treasures to equip you for the best decade of your life, so far.