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A life lesson from Tetris, turned on its head

A life lesson from Tetris, turned on its head

I’ll start this out by saying that I love Tetris. My brother found an emulator for an old version a few years ago, and I was hooked for the better part of a month. I am spatially challenged—especially when it comes to gauging distances, but also with rotation—so I’m not the best at it. But, much the same with standardized testing, that didn’t stop me from trying. The only difference is that my parents didn’t get a yearly score report/analysis from Tetris saying “Your daughter’s pretty cool, but she has exactly zero spatial skills”.

Anyway, onto my response:

I would argue that accomplishments make the errors disappear, but that’s probably because I interpreted the blocks (as opposed to actions that don’t put them in the right place) as the errors when I first read this. But even if you have stacked-up blocks, you still have some degree of control as to how you arrange whatever is thrown at you next, leading to you being able to take back control over your earlier “failures”. What seems like a bad situation at the time may be a windfall later. Yes, there is a good chance it will cost you the game, but how do you know if you don’t play?

Also, if you don’t “play Tetris” (i.e. live life, perhaps slightly dangerously), you won’t make any mistakes, but the blank board you’ll have to show for that isn’t nearly as impressive, given that your score will be zero instead of elebenty bajillion… or slightly less if you still have stuff stacked up. AND ONE THING MORE: No matter how many times you lose in Tetris, you can always restart. I’d say that’s actually pretty optimistic.

And really, if you play Tetris, even if you make mistakes, you’ll have a brilliantly-colored array (okay, 2D array) to show for it. And maybe, at what seems like the last minute, you’ll get lucky and start being able to pare it back down.

It’s all in how you look at it, really. In any case, Tetris is a really good metaphor for life, albeit one that I may have turned on its head just now. Like Tetris, life takes practice. I’m willing to play.


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