The Solitaire Experiment

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I enjoy playing Solitaire. Okay, sometimes, I don’t really enjoy it, but I play anyway, usually to kill a little time. [We’re all killing something.]

This morning, I was in a bit of a foul mood, after reading something in the newspaper. It doesn’t really matter what created the mood, but let’s just say I was cursing in four-letter-words under my breath, over and over, incredulous and ticked off at the same time. I was even adding in religious curse words — that’s the kind of mood I was in.

So, to use up a little time, I started up a game of Solitaire. Only, this time, I decided to do an experiment.

The Experiment

In the past, I have noticed that my overall mood seems to affect the way my game of Solitaire goes. If I am in a crappy mood, I don’t seem to get any of the cards I need and it never takes very long before I’m stuck with no moves. If I am happy and looking forward to the future, it usually goes pretty well and I am able to win. So, with me cursing-in-my-head, I started a game. (To help you count ’em, I’ll tag them like this: [1].) I’d never played in that state before, so I was curious about what would happen.

It went terribly, to say the least. I was only able to make 1 move from the starting cards, and I didn’t get a single ace in the face-down cards. In about 6 moves, I was stumped, although I kept cursing away and going through the dealt cards, hoping there was a move I hadn’t noticed.

So, I decided to do take-two of the experiment. I actually had to laugh at myself, cursing and clicking and cursing some more! So, my mood had lifted and I felt more-or-less “pleasant.” [2] I focused on this idea — being pleasant, having a pleasant day — for a moment before starting a new game, and kept that word and general mood humming along as I played. The game went quite a bit better. I had about 7 starting moves from the cards dealt, and by the time I had gone through all the face-down cards once, I had made several more moves and had all 4 aces up. But I wasn’t able to win. I made quite a few moves, but in a typical way, I got stumped later on.

I wondered why I didn’t win when I was “pleasant?” I decided that the underlying mood was more of boredom than happiness. So, I decided to try the “boredom” vibe [3] for round three and see how it compared.

It was very similar; I made a few moves off the start and had 3 aces before the face-down cards were done. I made quite a few more moves, got a couple of chains started, but I just wasn’t getting the cards I needed. I was so bored!

A little bit of time passed — I started writing up this article — and I started round four. I mustered up the most positive, eagerly-anticipating-all-the-awesome-things-to-come feeling, [4] sat with it a moment (the same amount of time as I had for round 2 and 3 preparation), and started up. I had one ace in the first lay-up, which is always a nice bonus, and about 3 initial moves. After that, for the first 10 face-down cards, I was able to play each and every one. I tried to keep the positive vibes going. It was going quite well! But, for some reason, I still wasn’t able to win the game.

What was going on? Why couldn’t I win with those amazing vibes I had going on? Maybe they weren’t real? Maybe I was fooling myself? Maybe it was just too far to go from cursing up a blue streak to pure positivity in less than half an hour, or from boredom to chipper in ten minutes.

I took a break, and did something I enjoy (knitting), and let my mind relax. I realized I was actually kind of tired and a little hungry, and my overall state could be described as tired-but-okay. [5] So, another round.

It went moderately. Not nearly as smoothly as my positive round; it was very similar to “pleasant.” By the time I was stumped, I only had one ace up, 4 small chains underway, but I was just not getting the cards I needed. My mind had wandered to family illnesses and conversations from yesterday. I was pensive, not positive, and my Solitaire game showed it well.

Was I playing badly? Not particularly. Was I making mistakes? No. The cards just weren’t coming up right. Something that by all accounts should be random wasn’t — the cards were worse when my mood was poor. I decided to try one last round, with the best attitude I could muster without faking.

I gave myself another break. I really spent some time appreciating the day — the sun, the clouds. I had some chocolate, sat in a sunny window, and did a few light exercises to get my blood flowing — all the things that I know help my mood improve. I was feeling pretty good when a friend called. He always makes me laugh and we have such great banter, I decided to play a game with that light-hearted, appreciative feeling going on. [6] While we were chatting, laughing and teasing each other, I started up a new game. Can you guess what happened?

I won. It wasn’t the absolute best game I ever played, but I had all four aces by the end of the first run through the deck, and a few good chains on the go. Almost every card I flipped over was playable. I had to do a little fiddling to get to the last few cards — if you play Solitaire, you know what I mean — but it wasn’t hard. It was play!

The Results

My Solitaire experiment showed that my mood has everything to do with the “random” way the cards are dealt, and I am far more likely to win when I am upbeat and positive. I can even use Solitaire to gauge my mood — a “mood-o-meter”of sorts — as the progression of the game is directly related to how I am feeling. When I am bored or bummed-out, I won’t get far. When I make efforts to feel better, the game goes better. And lest you think I am a totally crappy scientist, drawing conclusions from only 6 samples, let me say that I have actually noticed this trend over hundreds of games over the last year or so. When I feel better, the cards come up better and I play better.

Can you see the profound wisdom that comes out of this experiment?

  • Things that you think are random are not.
  • You affect everything in your surroundings and your life.
  • Your mood indicates where you’re at and what kind of things you can expect to come your way, from random things to proactive things.
  • You can change your mood and therefore change your life at any time.
  • Your mood is not a result of what happens to you; it causes what happens to you.
  • In scientific terms, your mood is an independent variable. You pick how you want to feel.
  • A playful attitude is crucial to being successful and happy!

This is the Law of Attraction at work, yet again! How you feel, or in metaphysical terms “vibrate,” is the direct cause of things that happen in your life. The Universe brings you what you ask for, whether you are asking in words or, more importantly, in vibration. You can’t fool the Universe, as was evident when I tried to muster up “pleasant” but was really stuck near “bored.” The game went accordingly. You have to play your way to a truly better mood to see the results!

I can’t help but recommend my good friend Darlene Navarre’s book Play is the New Way (which I edited). Go buy a copy and see how it changes your life!

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Getting Out of a Funk
Create Your Own Universe
May the Force be With You