The Game of (Your) Life
No, not the board game. The messy, uncomfortable, beautiful game that is your life. The game in which you can be any character or walk any path your choose. The one with far fewer concrete rules, infinitely more options, and no instruction manual...not even one of those super vague IKEA manuals. Looks like we're figuring this one out together.
We’ve all had times of deep existential reflection where we examine our purpose for being on this planet. Usually the thoughts are scattered and they quickly overwhelm us. So we busy ourselves with logistics and tasks. We put those philosophical questions on the shelf until the next event that triggers our soul search. Therein lies the ultimate balancing act...
How do we live a life of purpose and intention without getting overwhelmed by the magnitude of it all?
When we can strike that balance, we’re showing up in the world and giving value to others.
When we’re focused on the mission at hand, but keenly aware of the bigger picture.
When we hold love, authenticity, and vulnerability as priority and let it shine in all that we do.
This, my friends, is winning at life.
Now...how do we get there? First, let's expand of definition of “winning”. Our mindset around what it means to win at life is essential to making it happen. It isn’t only synonymous with more money and toys or dominating the competition.
To win at life means we’re thriving in our existence - physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
But we're in the midst of a culture of scarcity. Fear and our economic framework drive a mentality of scarcity. Hoarding, excess, and hyper-competition are the themes.
Beliefs in a scarcity mindset sound like this:
- If another person succeeds, ultimately it means there’s less success available for me.
- Generosity is a fool's game. You should never give without away your resources for nothing in return.
- In order for everyone else to get by, I need to keep myself small and survive on scraps
- It's a dog-eat-dog world out there. Cling tightly to what you've got and don't give up and inch.
I’ve been there, entrenched in a scarcity mindset. Funny thing is that, other than this story, there was nothing scarce about my upbringing. We didn’t have all the things but we definitely had everything we would need…adequate food/water/air, a home, education, and love.
Yet, I look back and see that I was constantly gripped by a fear of "not enough”.
The illusion that I don’t have enough and therefore I am not enough. This led to the thinking that I’ll be happy when…
- When I have enough money
- When I live in the right place
- When I have the right support system
Now, I look around and see evidence of this mindset everywhere. We see obstacles as immoveable and become paralyzed. We deny our personal power to create change.
Instead, we settle into waiting and wasting time...and nothing changes.
a THRIVING EXISTENCE SITS PERPETUALLY OUT OF REACH.
This is rooted in old stories and fairytales. One where if wait we long enough, good things happen and happiness results. We wait for life to happen to us. This vicious cycle is mentally and emotionally crippling.
IF YOU ARE TO THRIVE, YOU NEED TO INTERRUPT THAT BULLSHIT.
The good news is that with just a simple shift, you can begin to deconstruct this inherited story, reclaim your power, and build something stronger. The new story is that you can choose your own adventure.
YOUR PERCEPTION DICTATES YOUR REALITY
It all begins with the awareness that regardless of what happens you have a choice on how you view it. Nothing is inherently “good” or “bad” until you decide it is so. You may choose how you perceive the world and therefore how you show up in it.
To go a little deeper, life is not happening to you, you are creating it.
Understanding this logically is not the same thing as truly feeling it to your core.
When you focus your efforts on what you control, you reclaim your power. You basically become a magnificent unicorn.
However, it is a gradual shift. A process of continually peeling back the layers. Everyday is an opportunity to bring creativity and enthusiasm to your thoughts, choices, and reactions.
Is this some buried secret of the universe or woo woo new age jibber jabber?
For me, it's just a strategy for dealing with the paradox of life. Strip away any context that doesn’t work for you. All that matters is acknowledging that you have a choice. By taking ownership of your internal experience through the changing conditions of the external world, you position yourself to expand and thrive - A.K.A. Winning at life.
GROW YOUR COMFORT ZONE…FOR THE WIN
The old story frames thriving as dependent on ideal conditions - financial wealth, a flourishing career, a loving family dynamic, vitality & health.
I would argue that these are not actually conditions necessary to thrive, they are products. Thriving is the result of accepting and adjusting to the flow of life. Falling into the flow means learning to see the opportunities to for self-development within everyday occurrences.
We all have a comfort zone, I visualize it as our own personal bubble. Within this bubble are all the experiences we’ve assimilated into our lives, colored and textured by our perceptions of them. Beyond the comfort zone lies what is currently unknown to us.
Bubbles overlap where we hold shared experiences with other people. This drives connection and empathy that builds deep relationships. Within these spaces we can redefine ourselves and we can expand our own comfort zone.
This bubble analogy highlights a simple concept, we are constantly shaping and being shaped by our reality. You can choose to outfit your bubble as a bomb shelter and wait life out.
Or the alternative: Fill your sphere with high-quality energy, build empathy in your relationships, and watch yourself and your tribe expand.
Start a winning streak by doing the inner work that stretches your boundaries.
This work is the foundation for how you show up and connect with others. Relationships that hold authenticity and vulnerability keep us growing and thriving.
On the Road to Winning
Winning at life is a process of shaping your perception, showing up as your awesome, authentic self, and expanding your comfort zone. When winning ceases to be dependent on what happens, you can focus on true growth. Regardless of what goes down, you're constantly learning, growing, expanding, winning.
That timeless state of being “unfuckwittable".
You’re going to stumble. It’s going to take much practice. And you’re never going to be anywhere near perfect.
But you putting in the work to play the game of life at your highest level - that shit matters.
The subtle shifts in your perception create subtle shifts in your interactions which, over time, lead to massive shifts in the overall consciousness of humanity. Taking responsibility for your personal expansion is how you play your part.
We’ve covered a lot of ground here. Let me leave you with a review of the key points to keep in mind daily as you build momentum and thrive.
Reality Check. Remember your reality is created and reinforced through your core assumptions of the world. Like a smartphone app, core assumptions need to be updated regularly. Observe how your behavior stems from your core assumptions. From this awareness, you can recognize what assumptions may be revised to drive new behavior and expansion.
Speak to Yourself with Love. Have you ever caught yourself trolling yourself? We say the most bizarre, outrageous, hurtful shit to ourselves. We are our own worst critics. We harp on the illusion of perfection and diminish our power with negativity. Yet, you are the hero of your own story. You get to advocate for your needs, accept your flaws, and continue striving for better. Practice positive self-talk. Cut yourself off when you start spiraling into the negative and start showing yourself unwavering compassion and confidence.
Practice Empathy. Empathy is the frequency of connection. It honors the reality that everyone is doing their best to navigate this human experience amidst their own baggage and pain. When you let go of the need to defend your views, you'll connect more deeply in your relationships Every interaction is an opportunity to practice. Empathy comes through in both words and gestures. It genuinely communicates “I feel you”. When empathy is mutual, everyone wins.
- Join Your Tribe. Lead Your Tribe. The people that recognize your particular brand of weirdness. The people that you gather around the campfire with and share stories. The people that help you get to know yourself. Those are your tribe members. How do you find them? Identify your 3 biggest values and live as an example of them. Stand in those values with no apologies. One-by-one your people will find you and your voices grow louder together. You’ll empower each other to step your game up to new heights. These relationships and spaces are where life is won.
For anyone out there stuck on repeat.
For anyone out there struggling to find their way through this maze.
For anyone out there that feels deep down that they have so much more to offer.
This was for you.
You’ve got all the tools you need and more power than you know. Moving forward starts with your perspective. Your challenge is to keep putting yourself out there, keep exploring. You might have gotten the message that winning life is about keeping up in the human race.
Don’t get it twisted.
The game is won when you go into your depths and emerge to tell your story.