We're Playing the Wrong Game
The games we play growing up are terrible examples for teaching life lessons. I remember playing a game called The Game of Life. In The Game of Life, the objective was to pass through the board and the various stages of life. Throughout the course of the game a player would, grow up , go to college, get a job, get a raise, have a family, buy a house -- essentially mirror the stages of life -- all to ultimately retire. The problem? The Game of Life is a finite game, there are rules to the game that everyone playing the game understands, and in the end there is a winner. However, life is not a finite game.
I don't know that comparing life to a game is a good idea to begin with, but comparing life to a finite game is even worse. Life is not about how quickly you pass through the stages of life. Life isn't even about hitting all of those stages of life. Life is a journey that is meant to be experienced.
So many of us -- the Millennial generation -- are chasing the joy that we get from winning the game, completely missing the fact that the joy is supposed to come from the experience. You will forever be chasing that high of winning the game if you view life as a finite game. Some of us may not even realize that we view life that way, but we do. It's how we were raised.
We grew up in an era of instant gratification. Everyday, companies are searching for ways to get their products and services in to our hands the moment we decide we want it. If we have to wait for something, we don't want it. The sad thing is that we've let this desire -- this need -- seep into our perception of how life should be because we've been playing the wrong game and we want everything now.
I've been guilty of this myself. It's something I am constantly working at to keep in check, but it's something I've become much better at and I'm happy for that. In my careers I've craved quick advancement, whether warranted or not. I've grown restless, agitated and claimed to be "unhappy" because I wasn't where I felt I should be in my career. However, what I failed to realize at the time was that I had to put in the work to get where I wanted. For those of you that are curious, work does not equal putting in your time. Work is a journey. Simply showing up and doing your job aren't enough. We were told we were special growing up and we expect everyone to see that instantly upon meeting us and place us in positions we feel we are deserving of for just existing, but we don’t put in the work behind it.
Simon Sinek gave a great talk about this at CreativeMornings San Diego in October. We lose the forest for the trees. We see the summit of the mountain, but we ignore that fact that we are standing in the valley where that giant, immovable mountain lives. It doesn't matter how you get to the top, but you have to realize that getting to the top involves a journey. That is the work I am referring to. That is the effort we have to put in to reach our goals and get where we want to be.
Also, realize that reaching that summit is not the end because from the top of that mountain we may be able to see an even more breath-taking mountain in the distance that requires another journey. This is why life is not a finite game. It’s a constantly evolving journey.
If life is any type of game it's an infinite game where no one knows the rule and things are constantly changing. The only goal of an infinite game is to be better than you were before.
Some things you may enjoy if you liked this post:
Simon Sinek's talk about at CreativeMornings San Diego in October.
The Game of Life! Do you all remember this game?
The Myths We've All Been Sold. This was one of our first posts that dives into the ideas we all grow up believing, but just aren't true.