At the Crossroads of New Rules and Old Game

Have you ever walked around a dog park and watched pet parents interact with their puppies? If you have, you already know canines have a few things to teach us about life.

While at the dog park, a perfect example presented itself when a jet-black Yorkie-Tzu, who looked like he was wearing spats, was attempting to play with a woman.

The woman was holding a ball, and the Yorkie was barking orders.

As she continued to stare at him in defiance, he barked.

Finally, the woman blurted out to the Yorkie-Tzu,

“that’s not how you play!”

The woman gave in and threw the ball a short distance away from herself. She shouted to the Yorkie as he was running to retrieve the ball,

 “now get it and bring it back to me.”

Well, it seemed that’s not precisely what the Yorkie had in mind. His game idea was more like fetch the ball, run away, and have his “mom” chase him to get the ball. The Yorkie’s caregiver was having none of it. She yelled at the Yorkie, complaining about how he was much too smart — to not know how to play. The Yorkie refused to play by her rules and followed his own.

Visibly frustrated, she picked up the Yorkie who had the ball and left the park. Instead of it being a win for the Yorkie — it was game over.

To any onlooker, however, it was a loss for both of them. It wasn’t the Yorkie who didn’t know how to play. Instead, the woman didn’t know how to adapt to the game’s new rules.

Watching those two was like witnessing how different generations interact in today’s society. The younger generations have changed the rules of engagement. The older generations still want to play the game of yesteryear.

In life, it seems when we are unable to adjust to the new rules or even a shift in the rules, many of us want to pick up our ball and go home.

Except, when we do, everyone loses. The new rule-makers lose out on a valuable experience. Those of us, who are unable to adapt, lose out on the ability to reinvent ourselves.

The species that survives is the one that is able to adapt to and to adjust best to the changing environment in which it finds itself.” — Leon C. Megginson, Business Professor, Louisiana State University referring to Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species “

We render ourselves obsolete when we stop trying new things even if they appear “stupid,” as the woman declared was her puppy’s ability to not play her game.

If we find ourselves at the crossroads of new rules and old games, instead of saying that the unfamiliar activity is stupid or the other person (or puppy) is ignorant — frame the unknown as an opportunity to break out of a rut.

Play by the new rule. At the very least, reignite your curiosity, that inquisitive nature that most of us left in our youth, and put it into play.

As a result, you may be the exception to those in your age group who no longer fit in. Or even better, you just might have fun! It could be the fun most puppies have, as a rule.

Photo Courtesy @CheyenneCl_rk