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Plinko Game Analogy

Trish Blain December 29, 2020

It can be helpful to have analogies to help explain concepts to clients. Here is an analogy I use to help describe why we find ourselves getting the same results over and over again and why it is important to be willing to do deeper work to determine the cause. As facilitators, we are helping clients identify, process and remove the pegs that are not serving them while integrating the important information they offer.

The Plinko Game Analogy

The Price is Right is a long standing game show in the US. One of its most popular games is called “Plinko.” This is very similar to a Japanese game called “Pachinko.” The idea of the game is that you have a series of slots at the top and at the bottom of a board, with various prize amounts indicated for each slot. The goal of the game is to insert a disc (or coin) in one of the top slots so that it falls into the desired slots below. But of course, there is a catch. Along the way, there are pegs that randomly influence the disc as it travels.

Each time we have an experience that creates a limiting belief, trigger, trauma or strategy think of it as a peg that is created. Each peg makes it harder for us to have a clear shot to what we want.

Sometimes, we even find that no matter what new slot we try to get our coin to fall into….we have a “peg” that always redirects us to the same slot! The one thing we did NOT want. Or we can decide to play a completely different game with different slots (we think) and when we play we still get the outcome from the game we weren’t even playing anymore!

In this analogy, I’ve found it useful to think of each peg as a place that we are holding unprocessed information that is actually trying to help us get what we want in some way. By consciously exploring patterns that keep happening (we keep ending up in the same slot), we can then start to identify what past experiences, beliefs or misaligned strategies are what are causing the pattern and gain the valuable information that is there.