Are You Living the Game of Trivial Pursuit?

By Lorie Rosenberg

Whenever we have gTrivial Pursuitame night at our friends’ houses, my biggest fear is that they’ll want to play Trivial Pursuit. You probably remember this board game…the playing area is shaped like the spokes of a wheel. You move your playing piece forward when you correctly answer general knowledge questions from several categories. These include Geography, Entertainment, History, Arts and Literature, Science and Nature, and Sports and Leisure.

When you land on a category junction space and can answer the question correctly, you get a wedge piece that corresponds to the specific category. The object of the game is to collect all six pieces, get to the center spoke, and answer the final question correctly. You then have won the game!

Trivialpursuit_TokenMy biggest problem is that I totally suck at that game. And I feel really bad for the people who get stuck with me on their team. It brings back memories of grade school and your standing there waiting for the captains of the teams to select their players and you dread the fact that you’re probably going to be picked last…again. How humiliating is that? But the truth is you really do really stink at the game so the selection process is probably justified. Well, that’s exactly how I feel about Trivial Pursuit and I think at my age, I should be over that.

The thing is, I’m really not stupid, it’s just that I don’t have a broad knowledge of random facts…or in my estimation…totally useless information. I might have a good guess or two in the game every once in a while, but usually I have absolutely no idea what the answer is. I’m a lot smarter about how to live life rather than knowing a lot of trivia about it.

In my mind, a huge problem with society today is that there is way too much random information and not enough good old fashioned reasoning on how to use that knowledge to live a better life or contribute to society in some way.

You can look up anything you want on the internet. There is so much information there at your fingertips. Yet there are so many people who have no idea how to use that knowledge to better themselves, get a job, advance in their career, handle their finances, or manage their lives effectively. They simply don’t put two and two together and ask themselves, “How does that information relate to me and how can I use it to better myself?”

worried-asian-studentWhat College Doesn’t Teach You

When my daughter graduated from college, she really had no idea how to get a job. When we talked extensively with her, she would explain all about her classes and the skills she had learned in college, yet she had no idea what to do next. She wasn’t able to use the knowledge she had gained and integrate the skills she had learned to find a job or pursue a career. That’s because college hadn’t prepared her to do this. It didn’t provide her with the tools she needed to develop a methodology or action plan for moving ahead in life. That’s why so many college graduates are working at Starbucks! They have no idea how to navigate the waters of life and make the kinds of decisions that will move them ahead on a path towards success.

How the World Is Connected

There is a really funny commercial that I’ve watched – I’m not sure who the advertiser is – but a teenager is touting how she has so many friends on her Facebook and that her parents only have a couple. Yet in the next scene you see her parents getting their mountain bikes out of their car and proceeding to have a great day biking with friends. Their daughter may have a lot of Facebook friends but totally lack the understanding that it’s not the amount of friends you have but the number of meaningful relationships you have that is really important.

The relationships you develop can move you forward in life and help you become successful. Our daughter’s boyfriend, Kyle attended a presentation at his college by the owner of a website design firm. After the presentation, Kyle went up to the owner and started asking insightful questions and told the man how much he enjoyed his presentation.

Kyle mentioned that he was looking for a career in website development and wondered if he could steer him in the right direction. The owner told Kyle to call him when he graduated. To make a long story short, Kyle pursued this opportunity and kept calling and emailing him until he finally got an interview. Out of all of the graduates in his class, he was hired as a website programmer right out of college and within a year got a 12 percent raise. Kyle took the information he had available to him, understood what he needed to do, and relentlessly pursued this opportunity. His reward was a full-time position in his field of study…while other graduates in his class are living back home with their parents and aimlessly pursuing any job that comes available.

The Correlation Between Cause and Effect

As you navigate through life, it’s important to use your ability to reason to gather meaning from the random information in your environment. This will help you develop your values and beliefs. Then, over time, in any given situation you can base your actions on the information at hand and how it integrates with your belief system.

What’s more, you can use your experience to help you anticipate how others will react as you put your plans into motion. You may think they’ll be totally supportive, yet when you mention what you’re doing, their reactions may be the exact opposite from what you had imagined. Much of our reasoning process comes from our experiences. The more experiences we have, the greater our knowledge we have on how to handle them and get the results we had anticipated.

This is the wisdom we learn based on cause and effect. When you’re young, it’s difficult to anticipate what others will do when you act in a particular way. As you gain experience through the years, for instance, you realize that when you leave up the toilet seat, there’s a good chance your wife is going to yell at you because she almost fell in when she went to sit down. Sometimes it’s much easier just to put down the seat and avoid the confrontation that’s sure to happen. Here you used knowledge based on experience to help you make better choices.

This wisdom can permeate all facets of your life, from your personal choices to those in your work environment. When you discover that your behavior at work affects the rewards you get for your efforts, you begin to understand what you need to do to be successful. Here are some ways to make this easier:

decision-makingAsk Yourself Thought-Provoking Questions

The key to making more informed, wiser choices is to ask yourself some thought-provoking questions that will help guide your actions. They need to be stated in a more positive light to help elicit positive responses. Here are some types of questions you can ask yourself:

  • What is the importance of the information provided me?
  • What knowledge or wisdom can I glean from it and use in my life?
  • How does it relate to my beliefs and values so I act with integrity?
  • What is the cause and effect of this information and subsequent actions?
  • How do I need to act on this information professionally and effectively?
  • What is the positive outcome I want to achieve?
  • What will be the reaction of people around me?

Use Intuition as Your Guide

Decisions cannot always be made on facts and data or even seasoned reasoning. In many instances, you need to use your intuition to guide your decisions. This is your gut feeling or instinct. But you need to be aware of what you’re feeling and understand what it means to you. You don’t want to mistake fear for a misguided decision. Being afraid to do something may be the result of your insecurities even though it’s the right thing for you to do. On the other hand, that same type of feeling may be your guide from within that something you’re doing is not right for you. It’s important to develop your intuition by being aware of how you’re feeling at any given moment and determining what that feeling means to you.

Make Your Life a Significant Pursuit

I applaud people who carry an incredible amount of information in their brain and can recall it at a moment’s notice. That’s an amazing gift…one that I don’t possess. But more important than that, is the ability to assess the random information in your environment and see nuances and insights that can help you make better decisions that will significantly impact your life. Information is critical to make choices based on facts and data. Wisdom is the key to helping you create a life of significant pursuit…based on your beliefs and values, diverse experience, and keen insight.

Lorie Rosenberg. speaker, author and coach, works with individuals on the "spiritual side" of business and gain the discipline and motivation to achieve personal growth and business success. Get free marketing tips, tools, and tactics at For more information on Lorie's speaking and coaching programs, contact us at 800-260-0662, or e-mail us at