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Life is "Let's Make a Deal!"

When I was a kid, one of my favorite “stay at home from school sick” shows was Let’s Make a Deal. It was a show filled with suspense, opportunity, and the charismatic Monte Hall. He'd entice contestants with the chance of a lifetime - the opportunity to win a fabulous prize. But here's the catch: to seize this golden opportunity, contestants had to relinquish all their previous winnings. It was a high-stakes gamble.

Once Monte found a contestant willing to gamble their winnings, he would present them with three doors to choose from. Behind one of these doors awaited a grand "New Car!" Yet, behind one of the other two lurked the “Zonk”, nothing more glamorous than a goat munching away on hay. The tension built as the contestant deliberated, and finally made their choice of doors. Then, to further torture the contestant and everybody watching, Monte would reveal what was behind one of the doors the contestant did not select. Typically, what was revealed behind Monte’s door was pretty cool stuff, but not the grand prize. Then he would offer the contestant an opportunity to change their mind and trade their door for the prizes revealed or the other remaining door that remained closed along with the contestant’s door. The audience would erupt, shouting their choices as the contestant danced with anxiety like a 3-year-old overdue for a bathroom visit.

Sometimes, the contestant would take the daring leap and switch their chosen door. And voila! The door would swing open, and there it was. Bathed in bright lights, surrounded by beautiful models, there was the brand-new car. Bells rang, stage lights flashed, and balloons and confetti rained down. The audience jubilantly joined in, creating a celebratory atmosphere reminiscent of New Year's Eve. But very often when the door slowly swung open, there stood that goat, nonchalantly munching on its hay. I can still recall the music that accompanied the goat, a somber chorus of trumpets and trombones crying the slow descending tones of the loser. The glamorous hostesses would put on their most sympathetic expressions as the defeated contestant stood there in humiliation. Monte would console them with a simple, "Better luck next time," and shuffle them off stage.

Life often mirrors the stage of Let's Make a Deal. We are the contestants, and life keeps challenging us to pick our doors. Our "audience" is ever eager to offer their opinions on which door to choose. Facing a life-altering decision can feel like we're under a spotlight, with all eyes on us. The pressure to make the right choice can be paralyzing. We feel compelled to make the perfect decision, fearing the consequences of being labeled a loser, destined for a heap of shame. We dread the exit from life's stage, accompanied by a goat, without the dazzling lights, confetti, and beautiful models. Just a goat and its damn hay.

So, what do we do? We freeze. We hesitate to make crucial decisions or, worse yet, we don't even step onto the stage in the first place. The fear of failure keeps us tethered to our current circumstances. We choose the safer path, even if it means missing out on opportunities for growth, learning, and reaching our full potential. Staying small seems preferable to risking the indignity of the goat and its stash of hay.

But here's the crux of the game - the "winner" of the new car had to take a leap of faith, they had to take a risk. To get a shot at that big prize behind a door, contestants had to let go of or trade in everything they had previously won on the show. If they picked the right door, they won big. If they didn't, well, there's that goat. However, they didn't leave empty-handed; they left with a life-altering experience, a grand story to tell and to relish - the "That time I was on Let's Make a Deal with Monte Hall" story. They undoubtedly forged new friendships, discovered hidden aspects of themselves, and emerged from the show as transformed individuals.

In life, if we risk nothing, we gain nothing. The world offers so much more than the mundane status quo. Sometimes, we must embrace risk to unlock our greatest potential. Can we guarantee that we'll always win the "new car"? No, we can't. What we are guaranteed is a unique experience that has the power to change us in ways we couldn't have fathomed had we not been brave enough to take the risk. So, go ahead, step onto that stage and pick a door. There's no shame in owning a goat; they devour lots of weeds and make great pasture pals. In the end, we're all winners, even if the world wants to label our endeavors as losses. Embrace the thrill of the game, and you'll discover that life's biggest prizes often come wrapped in the most unexpected packages.


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