We all have a different set of cards in our hands as we play the game of life. In turn, some of our best moves come from a place of obscurity, where we are not limited by the belief we hold of ourselves and instead, utilize intuition that can only be further refined by our quest for knowledge.
The other day I was playing briscola with my friends. I was a total beginner. I had the best cards in my hand, somehow unaware of this. It is my turn and my teammate suggests me to start slow, we would have plenty of time to see where the game would go. I look at my cards, unsure of what I should do and declare, “The best way to learn is by making mistakes.” With those words still hanging in the air, I swoop the three of briscola onto the table. The others stare incredulously at the powerful card I just wasted and my proud smile turns into an apologetic look directed at my teammate. According to her, she aged 10 years in that instant. This move has been a meme since.
Moving to Milan was the biggest change in my life. And I am not the only one. At least half of the Bocconians have recently started a completely new game, with unknown rules and no experience. But a deep desire to win. Having been accepted already shows that we all have what it takes to succeed, we all have the three of briscola and several other mighty cards in our hands. We might not know what it takes to get there, but we will definitely learn along the way. This path might include failed exams, overnight studying, being lost in parties and having doubts about our capabilities. And it will most certainly come with aced exams, countless aperitivos, and lots of unique and inspiring connections and opportunities.
Casinos are not the only ones saying, “Life is a game.” In a certain way, it really is. We have been playing games since the very start of our lives, but the context changed a lot over the years.
Playing without rules might just be the best thing. Would I have played that card if I knew its true value? I would have been too afraid to do it. Abiding by the rules often goes hand in hand with no innovation and no new ideas, just walking in circles in the same place. And this contradicts the very basis of progress. As Einstein (might have) put it: insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. Universities are not the place for walking still. This is about going beyond the borders of your comfort zone, taking a firm grip on these borders and expanding them as far as you can. In every possible way.
Many are afraid of the unknown, which does not make sense, because the unknown could be a lot better than what you have now. And in this case it has higher probabilities of being fantastic than the chances of being horrible. We generally tend to overestimate the impact of future negative events on our life, while underestimating our capacity of dealing with and overcoming these difficulties. At the same time, we do not find positive happenings to be as fulfilling as we expected them to be. This can all change with a slight turn in our perspective. Think about all the challenges you overcame in your life and how worried you were before. In our case this could be entering Bocconi or coming to Milan for example. Socrates put it this way: “We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.”
We all come from different backgrounds, holding various cards in our hands. So the best thing we can do is to be bold and play them how we want to.
By the way, we won that game.