100 Ways To Live A Better Life – 43. Play A Game

Any game. Just play. Like a child. Allow yourself to do something just for fun, without any goals, pressures or deadlines. It will make you understand that everything is a game. Sometimes a little bit harder, but still a game.

Playing is our natural state, but somehow, we lost it along the way. Every time we play we activate something divine in us, something that tells us everything is going to be just fine.

Playing is by definition the opposite of worry, it’s its natural antidote. When you feel down, just let go and dive into any game you find available around and your mood will instantly change.

Life is just the ultimate game, don’t make it more serious than it is. 

How To Play A Game – The Avatar Approach

A few years ago I stumbled upon an article on a blog I used to read a lot. It was a parallel between life and role playing games. The author of that article happened to be Steve Pavlina, one  of the world’s most popular self-improvement bloggers, who was, before that, a game developer. As a matter of fact, I actually met Steve in 2009 in Vegas, at his very first seminar and then we organized together an event in Bucharest in 2013. But that’s another story.

Back to our article. One of the perspectives described in that article was about an avatar. Steve described how he is seeing himself, at times, as an avatar rather than a person. Like his life is actually a game, and the persona that he is in that game, is acting within some game mechanics. He controls the game, of course. He gives commands to that avatar to go find some gold, then to build something, then to go out and try a relationship, and so on and so forth. At that time, that comparison struck a deep chord in me. It looked both strange and very attractive.

Years later, I find this approach very realistic. As I dissolve my ego (or the collection of ideas about who I think I am) I realize more and more that we’re very close to the situation described by Steve. We really are just avatars, we’re characters in a big, social game. Except we feel the pain, we lose and we grieve. But we also feel the joy, we laugh and we are happy.

At its very core, our existence on this earth is just a big role playing game. We are here on a mission and we travel forward in life trying to solve puzzles (will that career be good for me?), we accumulate artifacts (like cars and houses) and we form alliances (would you marry me?). The biggest difference between a simulation and our life is that, in our life, every action has real consequences. Another important difference is that we also can’t stop life (like we could stop a game). We can’t rewind here. And, most of the time, we can’t use the same cheat codes. I mean, what worked for you, to solve your puzzle, may not work for me. My game is a bit different. We share the same playground, but our games are a bit different.

And yet, we tend to treat our lives like computer simulations. We’re not fully aware of what we’re doing. Although we know that every action will produce a consequence, we act like it wouldn’t. Strange, isn’t it?

The biggest game of all is here, engulfing us second by second, and yet we choose to lose ourselves in brain washing sessions in front of the TV set, or eating ourselves to death, on a couch, staring at the walls.

Life really is a game. An endless, total immersion game.

further reading

Playgrounds And Balloons

Social Games People Play

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