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On Playing the Game

Updated: Nov 4, 2019


Photo by Jonathan Petersson

I've been thinking a lot about people who are highly successful, but still unhappy.


I noticed a pattern among them...


They are people who understood the game and the rules.

And they learned how to play the game really well.


By the "game", I mean the man-made system. The rules. The structure. The processes. The instructions. The advice. The way we were taught to see the world. How we were raised. The conditions for success. And the "Right" way of doing things.


Typically, a game is created by someone or a group to achieve a set of goals that matches their desired outcomes, at the moment the system was created.


When you join the game (i.e. join the community, get admitted to school, get hired in a company, born in a society...), they expect you to understand the rules, abide by them, and win at their game.


They add rewards and incentives to get your buy-in and convince you that this game is for you.


The game for a college student is to attend classes, pass tests, submit assignments on time, repeat the same for 4-5 years, etc... The outcome is graduation, a degree, employability, etc...


While the game for an employee is to show up at work 9-5, meet all the sales targets, stay in their role for "X" number of years,... The outcome is receiving promotion, higher position, higher salary, etc...


The game is simply what people, who came before us, have created to provide us clarity in navigating life. It makes the world efficient (but not necessarily effective or flexible).


Okay, now back to those who are successful, but still unhappy!


We are all different in what makes us happy, right?

What brings you joy is different than what brings me joy.


But when we all play the same game, we are assuming that our needs are the same, and that our source of happiness, fulfilment and satisfaction is the same.


And so, we play the game...

We get a degree, or two.

We get promoted once or few times.

We publish a book or two.

We get married, once or twice.

We have kids, one or two.


But we are still unhappy!


No wonder why!


So, what if you acknowledge that the game you are currently playing might be an inherited legacy that was not designed for you?

How different your life would be if you played your own game instead of playing someone else's?


I am not necessarily only suggesting that you ditch the system and start your own project... I am also talking about the option of breaking the existing rules, and attempting to create new rules within the same game/system you are part of.


Whatever game you are playing now...


If you are so good at it, maybe it's time for you to either change its rules, or ditch it.


Either way, your goal is play to be happy. And not only play for someone else to be happy.


Happy playing!

Yours in Magic,

Naser

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