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  • Shachar Perlman

Life as a Monopoly Game

Monopoly board game

Is there anyone who doesn't love playing Monopoly? Spending the whole evening playing this amazing game?

I remember my first time playing American Monopoly.

My neighbor, who was born in the United States, introduced me to the game - MONOPOLY. Instead of plastic tokens, that were common in Israel, these were made of iron, a thimble and a race car. My favorite place on the game board was Boardwalk, the last spot before you collect $200 and if you owned a hotel you got $ 2,000.

How I loved playing this game. The feeling of pleasure was the heart of the matter. I was always partying, never saving the money for later. I wasn't afraid of losing, though, I certainly wanted to win! I was always buying and developing properties – I was generous while playing and the game was generous with me. Even as a child, I was intrigued with the fact that there were different types of players. I Met them all: the "cautious", the "adventurous", the "fun guy", the "competitive" and the "sore losers".


" Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life . "



When I was the CEO of a software company, the "Tech Bubble" burst got me back to playing Monopoly. Instead of a board game it was real life and I used all my skills as a Manager and as a Human being, to play it well. At that time companies closed down, workers were laid off and employees' wages fell. Our customers asked us to lower prices and I had to ask employees to cut their salaries. It wasn’t easy, and yet I chose to savor this journey/experience. With the ability to think and implement moves just like in the game, I lead my company like a captain in gushing waters. Each conversation with a client was like planning my next move -playing the game, only that there were no dice. Each phone from a client, simulates like I landed on Boardwalk street with a hotel (the highest level of development rent in Monopoly) and I paid the rent, and continued the game.

Since then, this concept of the business world, in general and in life in particular, as a giant Monopoly game is vivid in my mind. I see many executives, leaders, businessmen and private individuals who can't enjoy the game. Any small problem becomes ‘war’ rather than an ‘opportunity’. Any crisis, large or small, turns into drama. People don't invest their money in the future, but keep it under the mattress.


Now let's have some Monopoly rules:

Monopoly rule # 1 – Join the game for pleasure "If you don't do it excellently, don't do it at all. Because if it's not excellent, it won't be profitable or fun, and if you're not in business for fun or profit, what the hell are you doing there?" - Robert Townsend.

Fun allows the ordinary day to look like a great day. Read the quote at the top of the article. Is there a problem? Is there a crisis? Relax! It's just an opportunity for improvement. Smile! – There is also a solution; you just haven't found it yet.

Monopoly rule # 2 – Be generous "In order to win you must be prepared to lose sometime. And leave one or two cards showing." - Van Morrison

If you won't spend money you won’t be able to have a hotel in Boardwalk. You should plan for it, act on it, and some luck with the dice can't hurt. You can't win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket. You can't promote your business if you won't invest money on it.

Every year, plan ahead on what to invest your money.

There are people, just like in Monopoly, who wait for things to happen. They want to buy only a certain Street and nothing else interests them. At the beginning of the game they are the richest because they don't spend money, but later on as others have three streets with houses and hotels, they pay rent frequently and very fast they lose all their money and are out of the game. In life – whoever is NOT willing to invest to promote business and life, remains in the same place instead of going forward (growing).

Monopoly rule # 3 – Railroad is profitable

If you remember the game, you probably know that when you own four railroad cards the player who lands on the railroad space, must pay you a high rent. Railroad is conceived in Monopoly as not a very good business such as hotel in a city. However, a ‘happy player’ enjoys the railroad property. It also applies in business. Don't reject a little deal that looks like it’s not going to bring profit. There are many deals, that even if they don't incorporate lots of money at first, they are hiding wealth in the future.

Like in this story:

“There was an elderly lady that wanted someone to make her a curtain for her small kitchen window. The Sun came through the window every morning and was very bright and sore to her eyes. She looked for help for a long time and did not found one. People didn’t want to work on such small project. Until she met a kind store owner who listened to her request and answered: "no problem, I'd be happy to do the job", He took her in his car to choose the fabric material and within a day he came and installed the new curtain. He didn't want any payment, but the lady insisted on paying him 100$. She was so happy that her problem was finally resolved. Few months later, a limo stopped near this kind working man's store. A respectable businessman, dressed in a suit came out. The man entered the store and asked the store owner if he agrees to take on himself a big project of making curtains for the new building he has just finished– a 60-story skyscraper. The store owner was amazed and puzzled how such big profitable project came to his door step. The businessman saw his puzzled face and said: "A few months ago , you helped my mother generously. Now I want to return the favor and be kind to you."​


Monopoly rule # 4 – Sometimes it's good to stop for a while! Go to Jail! Please do not panic. It's not about a real prison; it's the Monopoly jail as a metaphor! In the middle of all the action maybe it is not so bad to go to jail. If you look at the benefits of it, you can start to enjoy and appreciate it: Other players play now, some will win, some will lose. The one in jail can plan his future steps. He has time to make some thinking. He comes out of jail and has the drive to win. In life it is also vital to take timeouts once in a while. It can be a short daily time-out or a longer one, once a week. These timeouts will be used for relaxation, contemplation, planning. At times the business seems stuck – not getting new deals. Please note that many times during the day of relaxing the phone will ring and on the line will be a new great deal that you never thought about. This is the lady who might want a new curtain.:)

Monopoly rule 5 – The more you play the better you get. In order to be good at Monopoly you need to play a lot. Each game can last for hours. It takes patience and a lot of snacks. Every game brings new situations that require rethinking and creativity. It's a process of ongoing learning. In one game, one minute you are in jail unable to do business, and in the next minute, you find out that your lack of involvement actually gave you a victory, because the other players ate each other and enabled you to win. In another game you just lose! In Monopoly everything is allowed: to be daring, to be economical, to be considered. And then you will be able to learn from every game. In life you have “to play” frequently in order to learn and move forward. You can't play it safe all the time. You should try. The more you experience, the more the more you learn and succeed. Life is one big Monopoly game.

Monopoly rule 6 – Cooperate. In Monopoly each player can buy and own a property. In most cases, it is almost impossible to place homes/hotel uniformly across the group of property. At this point, comes the need for exchange trades with other players. Here, again, the players are divided into different types: those who only want to gain, those who will never deals, and those who believe in Win-Win. Player who wants to have fun, will make a deal even if they think that maybe the other player made a better deal. It's important to play, placing homes/hotel and try to win. At this point the players who wouldn't cooperate will lose the game. In life – cooperation with people, in businesses or companies, is an important key to success. It is not always easy to succeed alone. In any case, it is easier to run fast and vigorously through joint ventures. One of the important rules in life, in General and business in particular, is to think win-win.

"Therefore demanded rich father to play Monopoly again and again, until one day I saw my future at a glance. Today all I do is play Monopoly in real life. No matter how much rich I get: I know that I can always be better. And that improved my game. Getting better is always more important than money."

Taken from "Why we want you to be rich" by Robert Kiyosaki and Donald Trump

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