Solitaire Anyone? How Simple Mind Exercises Can Solve Big Problems

Everywhere I look these days, from the slogan at the YMCA to life coaching advice from Martha Beck in her book, “Finding Your Way In A Wild New World,” I’m reminded that a key to creating a peaceful, joyful life for oneself is feeding one’s mind, body, and soul. The body and soul were easy enough for me, as I signed up for a yoga class, started a walking routine, planned some fun social activities, began reading some amazing books, and buckled down on doing crafts I enjoyed, but exercising my mind took some thought.

I was turned off by the idea of doing things that seemed hard to me like cross-word puzzles or learning something new and difficult, and then I remembered that Martha Beck said all work should feel like play.  I recalled how much I had enjoyed playing Solitaire as a child, and more recently during down-times at work on a computer.   The game was a challenge, but easy enough to be fun, and it was even more exciting to be on the lookout for the boss when playing it at work.

Now it was time to give it a try on a real problem.  My problem: how to get health insurance from an employer when working part time.  After stating this problem, I picked up my computer, and started playing Solitaire like a mad woman.  To my surprise, I started developing strategies, and began winning the games quickly.  After a few days, eureka!  A solution to my problem popped into my brain out of nowhere.

Since employers get health insurance for employees at lower rates than an individual could get on their own, the part time employee would still be ahead if the employer paid for their health insurance policy, and the part time employee had the entire amount taken out of their pay.  The employer would be ahead because they would pay less salary taxes on the part time employee’s lower salary, and the employee would spend less on health insurance, a win win.

I have yet to approach an employer with my idea, but I truly believe my brain exercise of focusing on strategies in Solitaire helped me come up with different ways of looking at health insurance payments.  A right brain exercise creating a left brain solution.  So get out those cards or computers, folks, and start playing, and if your boss catches you, all the better, you can proudly say you are working on a big idea.




Amy enjoys using poetic language to capture the essence of the ordinary. Her work has been published in Word-Dancers: The Poets of Southwest Florida and Florida Weekly.

(1) Comment

  • Amy
    February 22, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    I think you’re on to something!! I’m game!

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