Play, it’s your Turn!

Play. Why can’t life be seen and participated in as if it were a game?

I believe for some it’s too silly of a thought, for others somehow it’s insulting to their important problems, important successes, important ‘things’. Obviously I’m being a bit tongue-and-cheek here, but I want to unpack this a bit today.

What is a game?

Ask yourself:

Is it a choice? – Most commonly it is.

Is it meant to be fun? – Most commonly, yes.

Who plays games? – Everyone, in all societies, at some point.

Who typically loves playing games?

  1. Kids
  2. people who love to ‘play’
  3. people who like to have fun
  4. people who have experience playing games
  5. people who like trying new things
  6. people who are competitive
  7. people who like to win at ‘things’
  8. and risk takers.

At one point or another, everyone has taken a turn at rollin dem’ dice—some do it more than others but all in all, HUMAN BEINGS love playing games.

But what makes a game a game?

In order for a game to be played, there needs to be a player, an objective, and a measurement for qualifying one’s progress. That’s it.

We know games like Monopoly, Snakes & Ladders, Yahtzee, Uno, Skip-Bo, Poker, Soccer, Football, Hockey, Basketball, Baseball, and hundreds and hundreds of others. Some games were created with kids in mind, some youth, and others adults.

For a moment, bring yourself back to a memory where you were playing a game, preferably one with another person.

In your recollection, was it a linear experience or, was there a ‘back-and-forth’ narrative?

Typically, playing a game involves a relationship with another person where you make a choice, then they do, and you either progress ahead or digress somehow. This combination of back and forth continues until somehow, there’s been a finale—someone has succeeded in the objective prior to the other player.

Now within your memory of playing a game with someone, what types of FEELINGS did you experience?

  1. Fun?
  2. Excitement?
  3. Anticipation?
  4. Confusion?
  5. Concern?
  6. Upset?
  7. Reset fun?
  8. Renewed excitement?
  9. Re-inspired anticipation?
  10. Elevated heart rate?
  11. Anger?
  12. Glee?
  13. Frustration?
  14. Confidence?
  15. Empowerment?
  16. Loss?
  17. Gain?

Within a game, whether it’s on the hardwood floors with kids, at the table with friends, or on the turf with a team, humans experience THE SAME types of emotion while playing a game as they do living their day-to-day life.

If that’s true, couldn’t there be a MASSIVE benefit to ‘playing’ out our days as a game, rather than experiencing them as something altogether separate?

Consider living your day-to-day with this MINDSET.

Rather than participating in your day and experiencing setbacks or obstacles as something personal, ones where we victimize ourselves because of ‘what was done to us’, how about seeing what happened in our day as part of the game of life?

Now you might be thinking, “David, that’s bullshit, you don’t know what happened to me today; I was hurt; someone did ‘x’ to me; or I fucked up today; I hurt someone today; I’m in trouble now…”

But here’s my response: ‘Okay, that happened—fine, now what?’

Look, you ALWAYS have moves to make, pivots to take, ladders to climb, wild cards to play, or free-throw shots to sink. In the game called life, yes, there are rules, consequences, challenges, and setbacks, but there are also highs, when you’re ‘on a roll’, and when the cards are stacked in your favor.

Again, you might be resisting this way of thinking, and that’s fine, but what I’m suggesting and is ultimately true, is that when you CHOOSE to see life like a game, you take your victim-hood off, take experiences less personally, and begin to see choices as plays that maybe do or didn’t work.

From that perspective, you CAN’T lose!!!!!

Do you get it—the only way you lose at the game of life is when you give up, sit on the side, bitch about your life, take other teammates down with you, and waste your time on the field.

Maybe even then you don’t lose, but you sure as hell hated playing the game while you were alive.

Is that what you want? Cause don’t fool yourself, people are going to remember your number and last name from the back of that jersey when you’re gone—how they remember you is up to HOW you choose to play.

 

If you are interested in winning, or at least being the MVP of your own life, then PLAY!!!!!

Have fun, see setbacks, obstacles, and fowls as part of the game THAT DAY.

‘Okay, that happened,’ and then ask yourself, ‘how do I want to pivot, change my approach, score more regularly, get the ball more frequently, and shoot better?’

‘Are my teammates ones that help my performance or jeopardize (wink) it?’

‘Do I want to abandon my current approach, do I want to get better training, attend the gym more often, speak to my coach about how I can improve…?’

This is ‘game-thinking.’

While I’ve chosen at times in my life to think of myself as a sole player, one without resources and options, and chose to sit and bitch, for sometime now It’s been a continual CHOICE to live each day from the PERSPECTIVE of play.

At the end of the day, what I’m suggesting is a REMEMBERING a way of SEEING which, when practiced, changes the stories you tell yourself about who you are, the day, and the people in your life.

What you perceive about anything is what you believe is reality. How you see the world and be in it is not correlated to what you experience in life, it is what causes your experience in life.

The experiment to run today is:

‘Where in your life would it serve you best to REMEMBER that you are playing a game?”

 

Consider your relationship with someone who’s hurt you, is hurting you, and or your own self-inflictions.

Consider your relationship with your partner, your kids, and or your co-workers.

Consider your relationship with your business, your financial goals, and or your 2017 benchmarks.

Consider your relationship with your health, and or your body weight, fitness goals, or daily self-development practices.

 

And finally, if you noticed anything you’d like to change in your game and know how to do it, GO AND PLAY!!!!!

 

 

Affirmation, do I need it?

Affirmation:
to offer (someone) emotional support or encouragement.

To a certain degree, we all crave and desire affirmation–some of us more than others.

When you are in a state where you feel like you want affirmation for something you have done, or are in the process of doing, or are even considering doing, and you do not get it, it really can sting.

What is this piercing pain, and where does it come from? It’s likely linked to a whole host of things: feeling unsupported, misunderstood, devalued, foolish, immature, etc. And while these feelings are real, are they actually true?

What do I mean by that? To clarify I’ll use an example:
Let’s say as a child you had a bad experience on a rollercoaster and ever since the event you’ve said no to any opportunity to ride again. Whether or not you should choose to ride again is beside the point, the event left you with a seemingly permanent posture of ‘roller coasters scare (fill in the blank) me thus, they are bad/wrong for me.’

Your experience of riding a rollercoaster and having had a bad experience is REAL, but to say riding rollercoasters is wrong/bad for you is NOT TRUE.

If we let too many past experiences dictate our outlook of the future and thus, our behavior, more than anything we are living with limiting beliefs about ourselves, and our ability to experience life in new/redeeming ways. When we fall prey to this trap, at the core, fear and or hurt are what we give our authority to.

No one would happily say they’re content to give into fear or hurt in their lives, so why do we do it, or more precisely, do we have a choice in the matter?

With as much passion as possible, I would like to yell, shout, affirm, that YES we DO have the choice, but it requires acknowledging the thing we’ve been fearful/afraid of and consequently, probably for a period, experience the pain that comes with growth.

In my humanness, I would like to assert that sometimes I don’t want to feel the pain of growth, feel uncomfortable, feel isolated/lonely in my experiences, or unsupported. Isn’t it possible to grow and feel good simultaneously? Yes, but it’s not always the case (I have to say to myself).

For the time being, if we can see that fear/hurt can affect us in profound ways, that they are more than just real, then we can say they are a type of actor in our lives. By default it seems we allow them to shape us negatively, but what if we could begin to see them as teachers?

This sounds like some sort of Buddhist philosophical insight now, which I’m not saying it is or isn’t, but what if these emotions in our lives are meant to be mirrors for us, pointing at our opportunities for growth?

How can we interact with this mirroring?
1) Acknowledging what we have been hurt by or fear,
2) Taking responsibility in the matter.

Strictly speaking, this responsibility comes in the form of asking ourselves, ‘why and how have I allowed this pain/hurt to control me/have authority over me in my life’?

3), ‘by having these emotions in the driver’s seat, are they serving or stopping my growth in life?’

Once you’ve answered these questions honestly, hopefully, you will see that more often than not, emotions like fear and hurt are not meant to be truth speaking leaders in our lives, but rather question asking teachers who say, ‘Are you paying attention?’

I get that this sucks, but come on, if our live’s are not being fully lived out because of paralysis by fear/hurt, ask yourself this:
what experiences/opportunities are you missing out on,
and, by limiting your growth, are your actions stalling the growth of the people you love?

Remember, you are an influence in this world.

Take a stand for your life, for the lives of those whom you love, affirm your personal growth, look for lessons in shitty experiences, and give yourself permission to feel whatever it is you need to, but do not let it stop there.

We should not depend on the affirmations of others. It’s in our best interest to grow beyond the limiting beliefs others may have about us or those we’ve placed on ourselves.

Today, acknowledge what you wish or have felt the need for affirmation over, release yourself from it, and take personal responsibility for your dreams, aspirations, hopes, and visions–you see them more clearly than anyone else.

If you’re having insights, have questions, and or like what’s been said here, please comment and share. I’m more than happy to engage here.

Here’s a small list of books for our journey: