You Can’t Win If You Don’t Play

There are no guarantees with life.

Sometimes you’ll win, sometimes you’ll lose.

But if you don’t play the game, you will always be choosing to not win.

If you live a life of not winning long enough, you’ll be a loser.

So get in there and play.

The only thing you have to lose… is losing.


  1. Acksiom says:

    Fallacy of the excluded middle.

    I win.

    You only win because you got in the game and left a comment though. :-)

  2. WOPR disagrees.

    Wouldn’t you like a nice game of chess?

  3. True dat!

  4. Being married you have no choice but to say that.
    Marriage is game that can’t be played many times, and when you lose she wins.
    And you’re financially fucked if there’s kids involved.
    A prenup can give some protection, but why would a successful smart man put it all on the online unless she has just as much to loose?

    Well it was a general life thing rather than specifically about marriage. Even so, there’s plenty of positive factors you can choose for with marriage outcomes, making getting married a reasonable risk.

  5. This is a fantastic piece of advice, and a great life lesson I will be passing on to my kids!!!

  6. Alkalannar says:

    Well, simply being born means that you’re already in the game. And we all have only a finite amount of time to play.

    Unfortunately, the players don’t seem to agree on the basic ruleset beyond adhering to basic physics (whether they understand it or not, or believe it or not).

    And people’s definition of winning can be highly personal (in economic terms, my utility function may be far different from yours). Some people might enjoy just drifting along, and in fact ‘win’ if they do that…but they ought to consciously choose it.

    It’s the difference between not doing anything, and doing nothing.

  7. How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?

    Lift weights, get into debates, learn and master a skill, create a business, etc.

  8. Dalton M. says:

    Winners never quit and quitters never win but those who never lose and never quit are idiots.

  9. Dalton M. says:

    My twist on the demotivator poster. :-)

  10. “WOPR disagrees.”

    In the rather limited case of games like Nuclear War or Nut-Punch Fiesta, sure enough, the only sane move is to say “No, thanks, have quite enough already.” But that’s a very limited case.

    In general, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

  11. Only play if you can afford to lose.
    If the first time you play you lose and you get knocked so far down you can never get back up, don’t play.

  12. holdingallthecards says:

    Bottom line is that everything requires daily effort. You’re not going to have a hot body unless you exercise it, you’re not going to succeed at work unless you go above and beyond your job duties and your boss’ expectations, and you’re certainly not going to have a great marriage unless you go out of your way to make your spouse feel chosen and special.

    And when something bad happens (like injuring yourself so you can’t exercise, or missing a deadline at work, or forgetting your anniversary), it requires a doubling-up of efforts just to get back on track. Hopefully that path is chosen rather than the anger/depression route.

  13. Jeigh Di says:

    “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no use being a damn fool about it.” – W.C. Fields

  14. Passing Stranger says:

    If you can’t win, change your victory conditions.

  15. James T. Kirk says:

    If you can’t win, reprogram the computer…

  16. Acksiom says:

    >You only win because you got in the game and left a comment though.

    Except, of course, for how I won regardless of commenting, since all I had to do for that was invalidate your exploitive narrative framing.

    Not to mention how my commenting isn’t even the “only” thing through which other people won. They still had to make the intellectual choice to understand, agree, and reject your exploitive narrative frame.

    “You can’t win if you don’t play” is usually far more a male disposability exploitation con than it is a genuinely helpful aphorism. Because sometimes you can’t win even if you do play, while if you don’t play you can’t lose either. The con persists because if men and boys do play, most everybody else wins due to the game being rigged such the men and boys have much, much worse odds.

    So thanks for offering, Athol, but no, thank you; I don’t want to put on your little mental slave’s harness. Get back to me on me getting back into the game when you’ve found me a community I can rely upon to keep up its end of the relationship contract.

    Get back to me when you’ve kept as many men out of family court as I have.

  17. get it printed on a tea towel.
    ffs Athol, if this glib shit is all you have, don’t post

    How are things going? Haven’t seen you on the forum for a long time.

  18. Well the title says “married men” so i make the assumption that it’s aimed at them.
    I read most of your blog, but this post is a cheap slogan.
    If you have already played the game, then focus on getting a better outcome.
    If you have not yet played, learn the current rules watch others play, make a few small bets and then decide IF you want to play and put your lifehood on the line.

    We have a choice not to play. You did and i hope it works out for you.

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