Life is Like a Game of Cards: Quote Explanation

Life is a journey filled with challenges and opportunities, and the way we deal with them is what shapes our existence. Jawaharlal Nehru, a prominent Indian statesman, once stated that life is like a game of cards; the hand that is dealt is determinism, and the way we play it is free will. This quote is a reminder that life is not only about what we are given but how we choose to navigate it. In this blog post, we will explore the meaning behind this quote and its implications in our daily lives.

life is like a game of cards

Understanding the Quote

The quote by Nehru highlights two essential concepts: determinism and free will. Determinism is the idea that every event, including human actions, is ultimately determined by previous causes or factors. In other words, our past experiences, genetics, and environment shape our lives and the choices we make. Free will, on the other hand, is the ability to make choices freely, without being constrained by external or internal factors.

In the context of the quote, the hand dealt to us represents determinism. It is what we are given, and it is out of our control. It could be our race, gender, socioeconomic status, or any other circumstances we were born into. These factors significantly influence our lives, but they do not dictate our actions. It is up to us to choose how we play the cards we are dealt. Our choices, actions, and attitudes shape our lives, and they are a reflection of our free will.

The Role of Determinism and Free Will in Life

Life is not entirely deterministic, nor is it entirely free will. The two concepts are intertwined, and it is up to us to strike a balance between them. We are all dealt a different hand in life, but it is our responsibility to make the most of it. We cannot change our past or our circumstances, but we can control how we respond to them. Our choices, attitude, and actions can influence our outcomes, and it is up to us to use our free will to create the life we want.

Moreover, the quote highlights that life is not fair. Some people are dealt a better hand than others, and it is not their fault. However, it is up to us to make the best of what we have. We must learn to accept our circumstances, even if they are unfavorable, and use our free will to take control of our lives.

Applying the Quote in Practice

The quote by Nehru emphasizes the importance of taking responsibility for our lives. We must learn to accept the hand we are dealt and use our free will to navigate life’s challenges. To apply this quote in practice, we must develop a growth mindset. A growth mindset is the belief that we can improve and grow, even in the face of adversity. It is the opposite of a fixed mindset, where we believe that our abilities and traits are predetermined and cannot be changed.

Developing a growth mindset requires us to focus on our actions and not on our circumstances. We must take responsibility for our choices and actions and learn from our mistakes. We should not blame our circumstances or our past for our failures, but instead, we should use them as opportunities to grow and improve.


In conclusion, the quote “Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you is determinism; the way you play it is free will.” by Jawaharlal Nehru emphasizes the importance of both determinism and free will in our lives. While we cannot control the hand we are dealt, we have the power to decide how we will respond to it and what actions we will take. We can choose to give up and let fate control us, or we can take charge of our lives and make the most of the opportunities presented to us.

By recognizing the role of determinism and free will in our lives, we can learn to navigate the ups and downs of life with greater ease and resilience, and create a fulfilling and meaningful existence for ourselves. So let us embrace the challenges and opportunities of life with a spirit of determination and a sense of free will, and strive to make the most of every card we are dealt.

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