The World’s Worst, Most Cruel and Dangerous Game – Musical Chairs


Are you still playing Musical Chairs in your life by subscribing to belligerence, fear, and scarcity?


This is a totally serious commentary for which I will volunteer that the childhood game of “Musical Chairs” may be the game that maybe best typifies that which is broken and sets a pattern of fear and scarcity that haunts many to their deathbeds.  Think I am off-base?  Here is my case.

In the game of “Musical Chairs” there is one less chair than there are children circling them.  Music plays and when it stops everyone scramble for an available chair.  The person that doesn’t find a chair to sit on loses and is immediately cast from the contest – a loser.  This goes on until there is only one more chair and one child sitting – the winner.  Watch this and you will soon see “competition,” “fear,” “scarcity,” and “belligerence” at its purest and most savage level among our children.  Often these young people will be thrown down and tears will be shed.  Early on we use this game as an example to model aggression, fear, and scarcity. This is the same fear and competition model that we become carry on into adulthood and embrace in life, many sports, and business.  It shapes our views on abundance and relationships as well.  You have to be aggressive and battle and there is never enough many of us believe.  Eat or be eaten.  Kill or be killed.  At one point in our more primitive past, there was some credence to this all, but no longer; it’s an outdated and broken approach to just about everything.

When you view something from a fear-based perspective that includes fighting, scarcity, and the like you get more of the same.  On the other hand, when your approach is one based in love, abundance, charity, and collaboration, you get very different and will venture to say more effective and pleasing results.  This very fear-based scarcity/competition model stifles our further evolution, but there is a solution.

I say that the more we can replace competition with communication, collaboration, and cooperation and a predisposition toward abundance we can move forward at the speed of light.  Yes, it is fun to observe a sports ‘competition’ because we never know the outcome until the contest is performed, but in business and life, the possibilities to transform favor the other approach.

Back to Musical Chairs, here is how I would change the game.  Continue to play the music and remove the chairs  as before, but each time have the children figure some way for all of them to fit on the remaining available chairs.  Think of the creativity this would inspire.  Can you hear the laughter  and see the smiles and our successors learn and exercise creativity, imagination, collaboration, and communication in this.  This would take a dastardly game that teaches things that don’t work for something that does.

How might you use substitute collaboration, communication, or cooperation in place of competition in your home, school, and workplace?

One Response to “The World’s Worst, Most Cruel and Dangerous Game – Musical Chairs”


    Hi Bob, I googled: Musical Chairs, Dangerous. I have not read your article yet, (want to wait till tonight to absorb).

    I realized last year how haunted I am from this ‘innocent’ game. All the stuff you talk about in the article: (looked at it quickly).

    Every time I look for a parking space, I had the most terrible feeling. I wondered why: I traced it back, MUSICAL CHAIRS.

    Thank you,

    Fred Stein
    Delray Beach, Florida

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