Lessons Learned from a Gameshow

One of the most insightful and clever posters I’ve ever seen was entitled, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” based on the book by Robert Fulghum.  It gave us such wise nuggets as “Clean up your own mess,” “Play fair,” and “Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.”  Fulghum used the metaphor of Kindergarten lessons to expound upon life lessons we still need to follow as adults.  

This concept is nothing new.  The greatest teacher ever, Jesus Christ, took everyday life items such as a mustard seed, a sower sowing seeds, and a feast to teach us greater spiritual, life lessons.  Jesus was the master teacher, and may I say…as a visual learner…His methods were and are still profound.  Following His lead and that of Fulghum, I want to share a few life lessons we can learn from a game show…specifically, “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.”

There are so many things I could use about the show to apply as little nuggets of wisdom, but I wish to keep this short, so let me focus on the element of life-lines.  If you know anything about the show, you are aware that a contestant is given a question and four possible answers.  He/she is also given a time restraint in which to answer.  The questions begin with common knowledge aspects and get increasingly more difficult as the game progresses.  If the contestant gets stumped by a question he or she has the option of calling on one of three life-lines: 50/50, Ask the Audience, or Phone a Friend (earlier versions of the show).

1.   Getting Stumped – There comes a time in each of our lives where we come to a point of indecision or ignorance.  Life throws us a conflict, a predicament,  a challenge, or even a mystery, and we absolutely have no clue what to do.  Many people (on the game show as well) choose to ignore the offer of help and barrel on through the obstacles…come what may.  There’s a sense of arrogance as the player proclaims, “I can do it on my own.”  Well, that’s probably why they usually fail.  Swallow the pride.  We all need help now and then.  Just accept the offer and proceed with the help of others.

2.   50/50 – One of the life-lines offers a 50/50 option, meaning the judges will remove half of the answers, leaving the contestant with a 50/50 chance of being correct.  Of the two answers left, one is wrong and one is the correct answer.  Statistically speaking, life offers us a 50/50 chance.  You could go through life flipping a coin at each and every juncture of your life.  Sometimes you’ll be wrong, but sometimes you’ll be right.  To me, that’s not a very confident way to face life.  So what else do you have to offer?

3.   Ask the Audience – Another life-line option is where the contestant is allowed to poll the studio audience.  They vote for their favorite  choice and the contestant is given the percentages.  In other words, ask others…people you don’t know…to give you advice in each of your decisions.  Sometimes this works well.  The percentages are so skewed that it is obvious the majority knows the question as well as the answer.  In those cases, you can probably trust the opinion of the masses.  But more often than not, the opinions are balanced and the audience disagrees.  What do you do then?  Truthfully, you’re back where you started.  Be careful asking the masses for answers.  The moods and beliefs of the masses ebb and flow with the tides.

4.   Phone a Friend – The third and final choice for a life-line is (or at least was) “Phone a Friend.”  In this case you were allowed to call a trusted friend who, hopefully, was an expert on the topic.  If not, at least he or she was a wise and knowledgeable friend who could point you in the right direction.  The wiser the friend, the more the contestant could trust.  It would be wonderful if we all had that person in our lives whose sage advice could be trusted and followed.  Unfortunately, there are times when our friends are just as lost as we are.

Life’s Better Choice – Let me close with a choice the television show never offered.  There is a source that never fails…never misguides…and is never short of knowledge or wisdom.  “Now, if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.  But let him ask in faith without doubting.  For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind.  That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.  An indecisive man in unstable in all his ways” (James 1:5-8).  Can you imagine having a friend you could phone in every situation and trust His advice to be true?  Can you imagine having all the knowledge and wisdom of the universe at the tip of your fingers?  Can you imagine being able to lean on someone and know, without a doubt, he would never let you down?  Well, He exists, and He’s waiting for your call.  No need to dial.  Just close your eyes and say, “Jesus…”

Have a great day!

Mitchell S Karnes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *