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Paper, Rock, Scissors


I’m sure many of us remember playing, and even to this day, occasionally play the Paper, Rock, Scissors game.  It’s a simple game really.  It’s where you face off against an opponent, making a fist and landing that fist on your opposite palm while you count to three.  On the third count, you choose paper (flat hand), rock (your fist), or scissors (two fingers) to make your selection competing against your opponent who is doing the same.  Paper covers rock, rock smashes scissors, and scissors cuts paper.  Whomever wins the round gets a point, and then you play again.  Maybe a game to five or ten to determine the overall winner.

It’s a simple and fun little game, that as an adult, we still tend to play to this day.  We play it for fun with a child or use it to determine who has to do something that neither you or your opponent want to do.  What I didn’t realize, until I listened to a Jim Rohn video, is that there’s actually some life lessons in this little game. 

Here are three things Paper, Rock, Scissors teaches us…

1.  Strategy

The winning strategy is never to stick to one thing.  You have to guess what your opponent is going to play and then play against that object.  You need to be able to read each situation and determine what approach will best help you succeed.  Though many situations are similar and we can learn from others, we have to be open to every situation being slightly unique.  With this slight differences, we sometimes have to change our strategy.

2.  Vary Your Approach  

Life is far from a one size fits all and one approach doesn’t solve every problem.  In the game, a rock seems like a strong choice, but if your opponent plays paper, you lose.  This is true in life as well.  Winning at life involves trying different strategies, iterating over approaches to life’s challenges and figuring out what can help you best “win” at life.  There are times where being a rock in life is necessary, but other times where being a rock can be the wrong choice.  We need to think about how some choices can be right in some situations and wrong in others.

3.  Be Flexible

The game also teaches us that we have to be flexible in life.  We have to be able to read each situation and be willing to change when something isn’t working.  Success is reached by using the right tool in the right situation at the right time.  If you’ve been trying one way for a while and it’s not working, it may be the wrong time, or the wrong tool.  This is where you have to be flexible and change your approach.

The Takeaway

I’ve played the Paper, Rock, Scissors game hundreds of time, but never thought about it from a life lessons perspective.  Jim Rohn was able to share with us how even the simplest games we play can teach us valuable life lessons if we pay attention.  Paper, Rock, Scissors teaches us strategy, varying our approach, and being flexible in order to advance in life.  Sure, this can be seen as a simple game, but if you look a bit harder, you can see where sometimes you need to be the rock, the scissors, or the paper.  

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