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Over the past few years, I’ve been playing this really cool game. Everybody playing this game starts with a character that’s assigned a random number of abilities (physical strength, creativity, etc.) and amount of resources (money, equipment, time, etc.).
As the game proceeds, you can gamble resources to gain more abilities or gamble your abilities to obtain more resources. You can also trade resources with other players which is a gamble to get more resources. (Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.)
The game is called “Life” and I don’t mean the one where you run a little plastic car around a board. When it comes to success (either at work or at life in general), there are several advantages to thinking of your life as a game:
First, realizing that your genes and your family connections (i.e. resources) were random keeps you from thinking that they make you “superior” to the other people playing the game. As a result, people are more likely to want to work with, or for, you.
The perspective that there’s randomness involved also keeps you from grousing because were given less resources than somebody else. You start focusing on playing with the resources you’ve got rather than focusing on what other people got.
Second, thinking of your life as a game keeps you from taking it too seriously. Yes, there will be ups and downs, which will be big or small, depending upon how you risk your resources and your time.
However, realizing that life is just a game allows you to experience those ups and downs with a sense of perspective. Because it’s only a game, so you’re freer to shrug off the downs and use the highs to your advantage.
Finally, gamifying your life helps you understand that the winner isn’t the guy who dies with the most toys (i.e. his time ran out), but rather the person who manages to extract as much enjoyment as possible from playing the game.
For almost everybody, that enjoyment will come primarily from helping other people rather than helping yourself. You see, life isn’t a “zero sum” game where the number of winners is proportional to the number of losers.
Quite the contrary. In the game of life, winners (people who enjoy life) create more winners. That’s why the game is so cool.
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