Life lessons can come at unexpected times. For me, one came while standing in line waiting to audition for a television game show.
Game shows have been a huge part of my life. I have been on five shows, losing on a show called Hitman in 1983 and on Scrabble in 1993. My first new car was a truck I won on Wheel of Fortune in 1984. I paid for most of medical school with my winnings from Super Password in 1986. In 2002 I was a contestant on Pyramid with Donny Osmond and won $50,000!
While waiting for the Pyramid audition I was conversing with other contestant wannabes about the tryout. I was standing next to a young woman who was extremely nervous. She desperately wanted to be on the show and was afraid that when the time came to play the game that she would not be able to hold it together.
In the course of the conversation I shared that I had been on four previous shows.
"Oh my gosh! Don't you get nervous?"
"Not really, no."
"Before I came here today I told a 27 year-old woman that she had cancer. That was a life. This is a game."
And that was the difference between us. She placed a tremendous amount of importance on a game, got nervous as a result, and did not succeed. I played the game like it was a game, knowing that the outcome would not change my life. In that context it was easy to remain calm, and I was able to do well. Perspective is everything in life!
I think about how much time and energy we waste worrying about things that in the long run really don't matter.
What matters? Faith. Family. Friends.
What doesn't? Almost everything else!