Not once, but every time I would hold a pack of cards in my hand, my mother’s beady eyes would gore to my very conscience to remind me that I am walking down a path to complete decadence. Of all the games people play, it is those 52 innocent rectangular codes making a deck that is so value loaded that even in the hand of an innocuous child; it raises grave suspicion of an impending doom. And yet! The four suits and the mischievous joker hold for you invaluable lessons; insights that no higher education can truly inculcate into a seeking mind.

Aristotle mentioned that the “whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. Work in any organization, in any team composition for however long, but it is the combination of cards you hold in your hand after a real deal, that really hits it home. You can decide to rely on the aces, or hold all the trumps or instead believe in holding them together to be in the long run in the game. For then, if you can identify the critical card up your sleeve right when you have to play a hand, it’s the turning point of the game! You win it not by one but by them all together, leveraging each against the other that wins it for you.

The numinous magic and enigma of playing any game of cards is the fact that there is absolutely no way that “everyone can get the best cards every time”, no matter how well you know the game. But then that is no reason to sit back. We, at the School of Inspired Leadership, truly believe, that you are considered a seasoned operator, not when you know just how to win, but when you are ready and willing to try, to just believe and try, to play the best hand with the cards you have got. You do not rest, until you play your last card because it is never truly over until it is over. This is what truly makes you an ‘inspired leader’ by doing one year mba. If you pack, you lose your say in the outcome of the game, you lose your human agency to intervene, and you lose your right to make a difference!

There are always decisions to be made; no matter how stringent your circumstances, no matter how rudimentary your knowledge or experience. If you are in the game you have to play and play to win. You have a choice though to either take full charge and determine your calls or let others decide your hands. You need to muster the courage to command the dark black queen, silence the cocky king of spades with your candor or give up even without trying a thing. You can choose to sit back and just respond to how others are playing, based on all that you’ve got, cautiously. But if you play your cards so close to your chest, how would you ever realize what you are capable of. Learning has always been a close relative of risking and it is together that they define the route to success!

If you are stuck in a tricky spot, naiveté and ego may prevent you from laying your cards on the table to learn openly, compliantly and acquiescently. But then, in the game, even your best card may fall to someone else’s trump. Would you rather let yourself be caught off – guard like that or pick up skills to actively anticipate every move, of everyone in the game? If you do not reach out, if you rely to learn only from your endeavors and not capitalize on veteran experience in the game, you will never really be able to play with a full deck!

It takes emotional stamina to learn and courage to last in a game of such intrigue. It takes resilience to hold back your hand, patience to not overplay your cards and most importantly, in a house of cards when you enter, you must know that come what may “No Play, No Call is never an Option”. If you have consented to play, you have to deal a hand! There is no running away!

Learning to lead this thus, a composite process of bringing it all together – the ability to leverage strengths, the enterprise to operate with limited resources in limiting circumstances, building on knowledge to actively anticipate, take charge and never shy away from taking risks. Just a game of cards helps you do all of that, all at once. So despite all innuendos that goes with the game; plunge and play! And start early!!!

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