In the card game of contract bridge, the object of the game is to score 100 points. (I’m going to simplify this a bit, but you’ll still get the essence of the game.) You can score 100 points in one hand (which is one deal of the cards and the subsequent bidding and card play), or more than one hand. The winning bid becomes a contract: the team wins points if they make their contract, and lose points of they don’t make it.
(Bear with me for a minute. This isn’t really going to be about bridge. It’s going to be about who you think it’s going to be about, but in a way you probably haven’t considered.)
One team (one pair of players) tries to figure out how to best win each hand by a more or less overt system of describing their hands to each other by a coded process called “bidding.”
There are two ways this can go. In the first way, they settle on a suit (spades, hearts, diamonds or clubs) where between them the partners have most of the cards in that suit, and most or all of the high cards. When one team wins the bidding, the suit they have bid becomes the trump suit.
Then during the subsequent card play, any card of the trump suit can win a 4-card “trick” even when that card may not be the highest card played. This is called trumping the trick, or playing a trump card—an idiom that has come into general usage. In essence, this is a legal way of stealing tricks. There are rules for doing this, but it’s not necessary to list them out to get the point I’m trying to make.
To make a game and score 100 points, you can bid 5 clubs or 5 diamonds, or 4 spades or 4 hearts. If you make your contract you win a game.
Bidding a suit in this way is the first way to win a game in bridge.
But before I describe the second way to win, let me outline the metaphor I’m using so you don’t miss it. I haven’t actually played bridge in decades, but this brief description is still instructive because, of course, I’m playing on the word “trump” and Donald Trump.
Supposing the bidding in bridge represents the process of primary and general elections in presidential politics. The winning side declares which suit (e.g. political party) is to be “trumps.” So later, they control policies and practices as best they can, and try to win and continue to win the “games” of politics.
See why I’m dredging up all these arcane bridge rules now?
We’re actually going to have a president called Trump, who will try to “Trump” everything in sight. A lot of people are scared—even terrified—of this. These feelings are based on 18 months of listening to his “bidding,” which appealed to some people, but abhorred many more—even some of those who voted for him.
But it’s not my purpose here to review this “bidding.” Plenty of others have already done this.
My purpose is to help those who feel betrayed, scared, depressed or marginalized by Trump’s win, and what it might forebode during the next four years. That’s what this little bridge metaphor is about.
So let’s continue.
No trump play
The second way partners may bid in bridge is to not bid a trump suit at all. Here’s how that goes.
Suppose that during the bidding our two partners find they have a fair number of high cards in each suit. A long suit (lots of cards in one suit between them) is a plus, but isn’t necessary. Their holdings are strong, but are balanced across all four suits.
They now may employ a different tactic: they may bid “no trump.” meaning during the card play no suit will be trumps; no low trump card (real play on words here folks!) can steal tricks from higher cards in other suits.
Now on average, no trump contracts are harder to make than suit contracts. Therefore, to make game, only 3 no trump need be bid and made to score 100 points.
Here ends the main bridge metaphor. Using what we’ve learned, though, I’d like to tell you how you can play your life in no trump, even when those around you—even the government—has a Trump suit.
Playing life in no trump
There are three points to make here. The first is a tactic, the second is a strategy, and the third is a prerequisite to make the first two points successful.
1. The tactic
Don’t bring the outside world—with all its fears, opinions, reactions, speculations, and frankly, crap—into your house prematurely.
Being afraid of what someone or some group might do many months in the future is a complete waste of your time and energy. It is at best only a vague prediction. Neither you nor anyone else knows what the future will bring.
But what’s worse, it’s a distraction away from creating your own life.
It forces you to play in a Trump contract, where by definition your side (you, your family and your friends) holds few trump cards. Your side may well lose playing in/with Trumps.
Instead, what you do is play in no trump. You must see that you and your partners hold balanced hands, with good high cards in all the suits of life.
In no trump, these high cards are called stoppers, and they prevent your opponents from winning a large number of tricks in any one suit. You can step in and stop them with your own high card.
Here, the point I’m trying to make is that in life, and unlike in bridge, you can play in no trump even when your opponents are playing with Trump.
How? That brings us to the next point.
2. The strategy
In bridge you must follow suit. So if someone leads a heart, say, you must also play a heart from your own hand if you have one.
In life, this is called being a follower, and there is no rule in life that says we have to do what someone else does.
In fact, blindly following what others do—which we too often do out of peer pressure, impulse, spite, fear of being different, or just plain ignorance—always carries a danger. It reminds me of a high school kid who copies a test answer from another kid’s paper, but that other kid didn’t know the answer either, so they both got it wrong. A great many people—it may surprise you to learn—may all have the wrong answers to a lot of life’s questions.
Then again, I suppose some of you already learned that the hard way.
If you don’t want to follow the suit “led” in the life around you, or you don’t want to do (or worry about) what everyone else is doing or worrying about, you need to start leading yourself, instead of following.
This means you need to get busy creating.
You must figure out how to be proactive instead of reactive. There is cause and there is effect. You must become your own cause instead of just being the effect of someone else’s cause.
In this way you can avoid having the “trick’s or “plays” or “events” in your life Trumped by someone else—even if this is your own government.
Now in bridge, there is a rule book. One very clear rule is if your opponent does not have a card of the suit you lead, he or she can play a trump card and so take the trick away from you.
This assumes you’re playing a trump contract.
My message to you is that you want to always be playing in no trump with a balanced hand. The question is, how?
Well, in life, there is no rule book. Sure, there are rules, but if there was a rule book it would be a very flexible one. In life you don’t ever have to follow suit, and—surprise!—you can arrange the game of your life so that no one can ever trump you. Also never Trump you.
So, okay, but again, how?
3. The prerequisite
Suppose you could have a rule “book” of life. A set of paths the Cosmos could arrange for your life that was essentially no trump. Trump-free—in both the special, immediate sense of November 2016 and following months, and the much more general sense of your entire life.
Of course, you would need help with this from others. You would have to assemble your own team of experts to help you decide what to “lead.” What your best strategy and optimum tactics should be.
In bridge there are many strategies for making your contracts, both during the bidding and during the card play. In life there are also many strategies—some good, some bad, and some you’ve never considered or believed to be possible.
This team of yours would show you the best strategies so you wouldn’t get “trumped.” Or “Trumped.” There are many different “rules” that can be applied in life, and they can be quite flexible. As flexible as you can imagine.
So great!, but where do you find such a team of experts?
Well, good news! You already have such a team—everyone does—and all you have to do is learn how to contact them.
Winning in no trump
This team I’ve been talking about isn’t merely human. But you and I aren’t “merely” human either, so this isn’t hard to grok. In any event, the existence of this kind of team isn’t something you can throw an opinion at. Because that would be like someone playing a trump card. And here there aren’t any trumps.
In this instance, you have to take action—learn how to contact your more-than-human team of experts, instead of just accepting the opinions of those around you who haven’t discovered their own teams of experts.
Become a creator, right?, instead of the victim of someone else’s “trumped up” beliefs, opinions, and actions. And if you haven’t met your team yet, you probably have no idea how flexible the rules of life can really be.
So here’s how to meet your team and be a creator, in a nutshell.
Find a way to come to peace with the outer world. This specifically means not to worry about getting “trumped.” You have to come into neutral with everything that pushes your buttons. (Hint: This may mean listening to fewer news shows. Or none. Why bring things happening to other people into your house? After all, nearly the whole world is busy “trumping” each other in many different ways. Don’t be doing what they’re doing.) Then,
Be still. Learn how to quiet your mind; learn how to stop the inner chatter your mind is almost always engaged in. This isn’t possible without the Peace part happening first, but it is possible.
Why do these things? Because your custom inner team of experts live within this inner stillness. That’s the only place you can hear them, and only they can show you the strategy and tactics for living a no trump life—using now the widest meaning for the term “no trump.”
Of course, your inner team of guides will have many modalities of contact with you. They may “bump” you in a certain direction, or some chance overheard conversation may suggest something you’ve never considered. Your team is very creative. All you have to do is bring them into your awareness, and pay attention to what they’re telling you.
Peace. Be still. That’s the secret.
That’s all there’s time for and room for now. But you can find out more about all these things—how to actually come to peace and learn to be still, plus much more—at