How to Play the Game of Life: Hundred-Year-Old Advice

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Wednesday, June 25, 1912:  Nothing extraordinary done.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

I think that Grandma was in a rut when she wrote this entry.

Here’s some advice hundred –year –old advice about how to get out of a rut:

Dare to be different; dare to take a decisive step to carry out your plans and ideas yourself. Fight your own battle, make a new road if necessary.

Ask no favor of anyone and you will succeed a thousand times better than one who sticks in the old beaten path, and who is always beseeching someone’s influence and patronage.

Aren’t you tired of the rut, tired of walking in file as convicts walk together in stripes? Cultivate enough individuality to refuse to be sewed up in the universal patchwork. The onward sweep of progress in this age has prepared the way for nonconformists. Why not get into line?

As in a game of cards, so in the game of life. We must play what is dealt to us, and the glory consists not so much in winning as in playing a poor hand well. Do not ask for a new deal, but play the cards given you.

You were not born to solve the problems of the universe, but to find out what you have to do and then do it with all your might, because it should be your duty, your enjoyment, or the very necessity of your being.

How many of us exhaust ourselves and wear out our friends by chafing against the chains of the unalterable, by complaining of the cards that are dealt to us in the game of life.

Play the game the best you know how to play it, give your life, your energy, your enthusiasm to the game.

National Food Magazine (June, 1912)

11 Responses

  1. “Cultivate enough individuality to refuse to be sewed up in the universal patchwork.” Now this I like when I think of Facebook, Twitter, and all the other social networking activities…Daring to be a man or woman of integrity in today’s society…now that individuality.

  2. So strong and wise. Thank you! Ellen

  3. Either in a rut or just didn’t have time to write :)

  4. Maybe she tried this break out and think for yourself the day the the chicken got killed.

  5. Great advice!

  6. Good advice even today! Patty

  7. One of the things I appreciate about your grandmother’s diary is the way she tells it like it is. I think for most of us, most days probably consist of “nothing extraordinary done” … so I appreciate the advice on removing oneself from “the rut.” I take away the lesson that we really haven’t changed much in 100 years, as the advice still applies.

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