Do you stack the odds in your favor?
Over the last week I have been preparing for the start of a new D&D campaign by designing my character. I know some general details about the type of campaign we will be playing (there will be boats), but not many specifics which means its hard to anticipate what will be helpful, so I’m doing what I can to stack the odds in her favor and hoping that will be enough. This means that I am choosing options that work with each other to build on her strengths. For this character (a Fallen Aasimar, Sorlack, loosely based on Susan Sto Hellit from the discworld) this means making sure she has high charisma scores, as that’s the stat that most of her actions will use to determine success. In order to do that, I’ve had to accept that she isn’t going to be very strong, but I know that in my party there will be other characters to fulfil that role.
While this has been quite easy to do as a paper exercise for the game, it can feel a bit harder to do it for ourselves in real life. So often instead of working with our strengths, we feel the need to fit ourselves into someone else’s mold even when it isn’t right for us. Or we might put pressure on ourselves to be able to do everything well, rather than working with our strengths. It took me a long time (and fair bit of therapy) to allow myself to stop trying to do both these things and take the time to really understand and accept the things that I found more difficult as well as the things that seemed to come more easily. I know there are lots of things I can do, but I no longer feel like I have to do all of it and I choose to put my energy into the places where it is most effective and brings me the most joy. I’m never going to be great at housework, but I do love cooking. I’m not great with plants (I manged to kill mint), but I can sew. I can struggle with small talk, but I love taking a deep dive into big ideas.
Now rather than being cross about what is hard, I celebrate what I enjoy. And because I am now much better at knowing where my skills do and don’t lie I am able to anticipate where I might need support. Sometimes it means doing self-care around particular tasks that I find difficult, or getting help from someone, most importantly it’s about checking in with myself to figure out if it’s something I have to do or if I feel like I should. While there will always be things that I find more difficult, that can’t be avoided I can stack the odds in my favor to minimise the impact that doing them will have on me. This might mean wearing my ear plugs when going to a noisy venue, making sure I am rested and fed before attending an event where small talk is expected, having someone to come with me when visiting a new place or whatever else feels helpful.
How do you stack the odds in your favor?