My novel, Playing the Game, is in large part about leadership. The epigraph in the novel is a quote from Winston Churchill:
“Play the game for more than you can afford to lose . . . only then will you learn the game.”
I took the title of my book from this quote. One of the themes in the novel is that there are people in leadership roles who are unwilling or unable to lead, and others who would like to lead who don’t have the opportunity.
I’ve seen many attributions of this quote to Winston Churchill, but I haven’t been able to find the context in which he said it. For me, it means that you have to throw your whole self into what you’re doing, if you want to become good at it. Risk more than you can afford, and then you’ll learn what the “game”-whatever your game is-is all about.
As people read my novel, I hope they will think about the characters I created. Do any of these characters risk everything? Which are pulling back? In what ways to they pull back, and why?
I also hope readers will reflect on their own lives, as I reflected on mine while I wrote the book.
When do I risk more than I can afford to lose? Not very often.
When am I willing to risk something? Frequently. If I hadn’t risked my time and effort and been willing to face some ridicule from colleagues and friends, I would never have published a novel.
Thank you, and good luck as you strive to play the game.