Playing a better game of life – part 1

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 make another decision to undo the earlier decision and to bear the consequences of having joined and then abandoned the destructive group or relationship.

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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