How to Win at the Game of Life

the game of life

“How to win…at the gaaaa-me of liiife!”

When I was a kid there was an advertisement for a game called “Life.” They sang the line above as a jingle, all happy as the family sat around the table playing Life.

I always thought “what a silly game, how could life be a game? That’s stupid.”

I think very differently now.

Life: A Game or Not?

Life is not a game in the sense that you can come back just as you were if you drive your car off the road, get into a bad accident and die.

Sorry but that’s game over for this life.

Not too long ago, I came upon the concept of “gamification” through my friend and evolutionary mentor coach¬†Michael Stratford. He introduced me to this approach, and I am exploring it everyday.

I now am very intrigued with this idea of approaching life as if it were a game. There actually is an entire field of study in business and gamification headed by the Wharton School of Business, though Michael has been advocating this for years in his life and business coaching.

Gamification: Finite and Infinite Play

In the book “Finite and Infinite Games” there is a definition that really catches my attention. It goes something like this:

“Those who must play cannot play. Those who play must play to win.”

What does this mean? It means no one can force you to play. And if you are forced to play, you aren’t really playing. It also means to really play, you must play for the sake of play (i.e. fun).

This is playing an infinite game i.e. playing the sport of soccer for the love of it. This is the real goal to play for enjoyment, for the sake of play.

Next, we have the finite games that are like points on the line of the infinite game. In our soccer example, finite games are the individual soccer games.

In life, playing a finite game would be going for that new job interview, taking a risk to start a company, asking that girl out, or moving to a new city. A finite game is a game you can win or lose, but in order to really play you have to go for it.

Playing Full Out

So you have to play full out to really play, you must play to win each individual game (goal, project, etc), regardless of whether you win or not. Quite simply if you are playing half-assed or trying to throw the game and lose, you aren’t really playing full out.

That’s lame, don’t do that. I know, I’ve done it too many times before. I imagine we all have.

So what if you do approach life as a game, where you are playing first and foremost for fun, but also you play to win your own game of life?

Since all games have rules, can we make up some rules for this?

I say, what the hell, why not.

Some Baseline Rules to Play With

So here are some off the cuff rules to lay down to have fun and playing a winning game in life:

  • If you come from a state or frame of unconditional love (instead of fear/ego), it makes everything easier in terms of enjoyment and potential success in life. I am currently implementing this one. Believe me it is damn hard a times.
  • You will play as if you are responsible and you have choice, as if you can influence your destiny. You are “choosing” your experience.
  • You realize that in relative terms you influence your destiny, on absolute terms across the entire span of reality, you don’t really have control. This is also part of living in the paradox, which I speak about often. This will tweak out your mind, but if you look in the grand scheme of the universe, the majority of what happens seen and unseen is out of our control.¬†(But this doesn’t mean you should disregard the rule above.)
  • Seek joy and have as much fun as possible, no matter the circumstances.

That’s it. Those are my rules so far. This is all evolving for me as I learn, transform and grow.

It is funny for me to type this, because I am not a sports guy at all. But I can grab onto the game analogy. So we use it as long as it is useful.

So what are your rules to play a winning game in life?

I would love to hear what your rules are in the comments below, so leave one if you please.

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