It All Goes Back In the Box

The Most Important Lesson

When a new mentor of mine, best-selling author Ken Blanchard, was 13 years old, he would visit his grandmother who lived in another town in upstate New York. She taught him how to play Monopoly and, despite always losing to her, he loved the game. He vowed that one day he would beat her, HE would win! She would smile and say, “Remember, Ken, it’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.”

Ken was a competitive kid. He wanted to learn how to win at this addictive little board game. As luck would have it, a 16-year-old boy moved in next door that fall and HE had a Monopoly set. They played every weekend. By the next summer, he had dramatically improved his skills. He couldn’t wait to visit his grandmother.

As he walked through the doorway upon his return, Ken said to grandmother, “Let’s play Monopoly!” His grandmother smiled as only grandmothers can do. In a reasonably short time he had forced her into bankruptcy! He had finally won! As he cheered and jumped up and down, she smiled again and said, “Now Ken, let me share with you the most important lesson this game teaches us. You see, Ken, Monopoly is just like life in many ways. But when the game is over, everything you have earned and worked for, well, it all goes back in the box.” She folded the board and slid the pieces into the box, looked at him with a smile and put the game back on the shelf.

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