Life is like a game of pool

Pool balls rackedI relate my “brain” to a computer having 15 windows open, simultaneously running different software programs.  So, re-racking my brain like pool balls is a necessary goal.  I like this allegory better than “having many balls in the air” because it aligns with playing and/or enjoying different strategies or outcomes in life as I play my game. (I’m also not good at juggling, so with that metaphor I imagine dropping them – not functionably happy.)  I find it entertaining to correlate my daily reactions to balls that scatter from being hit by a cue ball.

We all use our best judgment the moment our cue stick aims and adds momentum, but how the balls actually end up isn’t always where we’d have predicted them to go.  Getting thoughts back in order, still and calm, just waiting to break out again, is the cycle of life!  My daily game is to get some balls into their pockets, 1 by 1, and then re-rack ‘em for the next “game.”  As I proudly cross something off my to-do list, I smile, envisioning that my cue stick just aimed and sunk a ball in a pocket. Having a sense of balance between serious, focused efforts with the highest goals in mind to stretch life farther than you think, and at the same time being conscious of letting go of results that aren’t what we aimed for, is the ticket to stability!  And stability is a good base for nurturing more moments of happiness.

For years I worked towards the day where all my ducks would line up and stay that way, and I could sit back and relax. But that’s never going to happen.  Once I accepted that some shots will sink balls with a direct hit, and others cause more chaos than order, the more I began enjoying all my shots! I resonate with this metaphor of life as a game of pool, and find it keeps my morale high in moments of chaos or unknown outcomes, almost allowing me to laugh at the “break” of my balls instead of stress out.  Changing position, re-aiming and adjusting for each next shot is the key to happiness.  Thinking of life more as a game can help lessen anxiety, as one would enjoy a game of pool.

So enjoy your aggressive break shots.  Revel in your perfectly aimed, controlled shots which sink a ball or 2.  Learn from, laugh at and accept your scratches and multiple attempts.  And cherish the short time your balls are calm and racked.  Observe all your attempts and results, even if they make challenging feelings arise like failure, frustration, impatience and annoyance.  We all feel these feelings, we’re all the same.  Certain shots trigger feelings or reactions that are involuntary or instinctive, others that are cultural or learned.  It’s kind of fun to start discerning the differences  and fine-tune your aim as life unfolds.

I’m writing this as a reminder to be kind to myself and others as we all strive for our versions of success.  Every time I write, I reflect… and my balls seemed momentarily re-racked, so I highly recommend writing for a functionably happy existence!

Maybe the image of a “cue” stick can be a reminder to cue our attention to the present moment and accept whatever direction our balls roll.


  1. Sam says:

    You would probably agree that playing a perfect game of pool time after time isn’t half as interesting as one that you struggle through. The victory is so much sweeter.

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