Playing a better game of life – first of six parts

I was talking with a friend recently who reminded me that employment instability continues unabated so I thought it was time to reprint a few articles from two years ago for those who missed them the first time. If you have joined a company and it now seems like the wrong decision, this may help you.

Playing a better game of life
(This was first published Aug 31,2005)

Life
is a game in that there are barriers to success, rewards for success,
opponents, and potential team mates. There are dimly-understood rules
of a sort, penalties for failure, and you can’t opt out of the game
except by dying. The one saving grace is that you have a better chance
of winning in life if you remain insouciant, that is to say by
remaining carefree.

Just to make the game more complex, you will find there are winners,
losers, and victims. In addition, your environment is an essential
component of the game. Your survival depends on how well you understand
it.

You will get as much pleasure out of playing the game as you are
able to play it in a self-determined manner. You will experience misery
out of the game to the extent that you consider that "they" are forcing
you to play a part that you don’t want to play.

Let’s begin with the easiest concept to grasp and apply.

Life is a team sport. You will survive better when you are part of a
team and you work toward the survival of the team. A good team for you
is one that offers you a role you can play well and helps you to win in
life. A bad team is one that exploits you and treats you as a
consumable, as in discarded or eaten when no longer useful.

People join companies or even criminal gangs, for that matter,
because it appears that they will be more likely to do better as an
employee or gang member than on their own. People get married for the
same reason.

Sometimes these decisions are made unwisely. In a hostile and stormy
environment, it may seem that any port is better than braving the
storm. As a result we may connect up with people who are crazier than
we are and we live to regret our decision many times over.

Then we find ourselves bound into what seems like servitude because
of our earlier decision and we stay in an abusive relationship or in a
destructive work situation when we should be elsewhere.

Does any of this ring a bell for you? If it does, I have some
suggestions for breaking free. If this is all too dreary and unreal,
slip off and read Harry Potter or into some role-playing game. What I
am about to suggest takes more courage than facing Voldemort.

The escape route from a bad decision is to
undo the earlier decision and to bear the consequences of having joined
and now abandoning the destructive group or relationship.

Taking full responsibility for joining and now abandoning the group is the key to your future survival.

This decision will cost you friends and you may lose every material
possession. You could even suffer physical harm depending on the group
you are separating yourself from. The upside is that you will emerge
wiser and stronger and will go on to new and better things if you have
learned from your experience.

If you try to escape the group or relationship without taking
responsibility for publicly and formally departing the team, you
essentially become a fugitive and this acts as a barrier to joining a
better team.

It all comes down to integrity. You compromise your integrity by
joining a group for the wrong reasons, or by staying with a group that
reveals itself to be a destructive influence on you.

Taking a salary for a job you hate, sex in a relationship you
despise, or drugs for favors – all of these are short-term pleasures
with long-term destructive consequences. The longer you continue, the
more damage you cause to your self-esteem and to your sanity in general.

In the next post, I will attempt to suggest how you can select a
team that is right for you and will allow you to play a better game of
enjoying life.

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0 Responses to Playing a better game of life – first of six parts

  1. Andrew says:

    Thank you David.

    I agree with your comments.

    Unfortunately, I did not catch this short series first time around – I look forward to the rest of the articles in the series.

    Undoing poor decisions earlier can be difficult. I have been fortunate in my own life in that I have never had to ‘undo’ decisions relating to drugs or criminal gangs or anything nasty like that.

    The hardest decision I had to ‘undo’ was my decision to persue a professional career in corporate accounting.

    After working for seven years as in accounting, I had to make the decision to change direction.

    I was achieving only mediocre results in my career and I felt that I would be more naturally suited to a role whereby people-orientated skills and not process-orientated skills are the primary critcal success factor.

    Despite the urging of family members, who advised me not to ‘throw my accounting career away,’ I took a job as an English teacher in South Korea.

    I am much more satisfied with my new line of work and feel that I have a much broader experience in life as a result of ‘undoing’ my decision to pursue a professional career in corporate accounting.

    Again, I look forward to the other articles in this series.

    Cheers

    Andrew

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