The Art of Living As If It’s A Game

I’ve often felt as if life is a game, and as this isn’t a unique thought to me I’m sure your familiar or at least aware of the concept.  Life feels like a game to me for a few reasons. 

As we grow and learn, there are periods of learning, then application of the knowledge into our life, then a period of feeling as though everything is perfect in the world.  Until it crumbles and we begin the trudge of up the mountain of learning a new thing.

A game is much the same way, the character starts a journey, fights off challenges and/or foes along the way until there is a test, “a boss” at the end of the level which we have to beat in order to succeed. 

Once we’ve beat the level we feel great and all is good.  Then we start a new level which is harder and more intricate than what we just overcame. 

While most people understand and accept this concept as a whole, I’ve notice we don’t often consider it during our daily experiences.  When we face a challenge or a hardship, an obstacle we’re not sure how to overcome we look at this as a singular event. 

Often these challenges can beat us down, leaving us feeling tired, sick, drained.  Stress builds and can affect us physically during these periods as well.  How many times have you felt overwhelmed or dreaded the idea of facing the foe? 

Yet if we really experienced life as a game, these situations would look much different to us.  When these situations arise we would know we are on the verge of a breakthrough to a new level, a higher version of ourselves. 

If we felt we were on the cusp of upgrading ourselves, would we then experience the event with dread?  Or would it be excitement?

I too have been taking things too seriously lately which is why I am rethinking my perspective.  Life is simple, it is a game to be enjoyed. 

All of life is a gift and when we can shift ourselves to experience the “bad” as an opportunity to expand things get easier, exciting even.

To enjoy this game stop trying to understand it, to make sense of it all.  We are not the creators of this game, merely the participants. 

Keep moving towards those things which light your heart up, focus on what is with you now and do your best in each moment. 

We don’t know what the next level has in store for us, so we can relieve ourselves of the stress of trying to contemplate it. 

Play the game as it happens, not two steps ahead or behind.  And enjoy the process of the game and the wins (success) will arrive.

Keeping ourselves in this gamified perspective in times of ease and distress is an art. Art, in my opinion is best in it’s simplest, original form, and from the heart.

What’s Your Purpose

While tucking my daughter in to bed the other night she asked me a question. “What if you found a genie lamp, and when the genie came out he only gave you one wish instead of three? With only one wish, what would you wish for?”

In the blink of an eye a thousand possibilities streamed through my mind and only one was clear and easy to choose. “I would wish that I am living my purpose on this earth.”

“That’s it?” says my little girl. “What else do I need?” I respond.

“Hm, that does make a lot of sense” she responds while I can see her pondering the scenario.

Thankfully I’ve done a lot of internal work over the last several years so I don’t have to wish to be on my path, I know inherently I already am. This quick yet powerful interaction between my daughter and I was yet another reminder of the simplistic nature of the world we live in.

The truest answers are almost always the simplest.

I could have wished for more money, a bigger house, to be forever healthy, to travel the world… and while all of these are valid responses and all serve good purposes, they all leave other areas in life lacking.

None covers all the bases.

Yet if we find and actively pursue the purpose for why we are here, all of those other areas in life fill themselves in effortlessly.

Our purpose may or may not have anything to do with what we THINK we want to do. The discovery process for many, myself included can take years of persistent trial and error. For those willing to put in the time and learn to embrace the process, the reward is far better than can be imagined at the start.

It is a journey free of a specific destination and full of surprises, risks, accomplishments to be enjoyed along the way.

If you haven’t found your path yet, or are trying to force a path you think is right, take a step back and evaluate what feels forced and what flows naturally. Lean into the natural flow and release those things which create friction.

Learning is all about perspective, and each “failure” or “hardship” is only a course correction and a grateful heart will notice this and quickly adapt a change on the path.

Leader on Duty

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I have noticed when most people talk of leadership it’s almost always referred to in the environment of a board room, the workplace or sports.

I say this with due humility, as I am a natural leader and have been in management/leadership roles professionally since I was about 19 years old. Now in my early 40’s I have more experience managing people than most people well over my age and based all of the feedback I receive I am a good leader. Feedback to me comes in the moral of my team, the results we deliver to the customers, the observations of customers, vendors and people in and around my company.

Leadership in my experience isn’t just something you do at the office. It’s not a role to play while in front of your employees and customers. Leadership to me is a lifestyle lived in each moment and applies as much to parenting and gardening as it does in our professional lives.

Gardening? I imagine you’re trying to connect the dots on this. Parenting is an easy connection though often not obvious, but gardening? Yes, in the sense of an example. As leaders, when we do a thing like gardening we tend to do it well, with intention of a quality outcome. It may or may not actually turn out well, but the effort and intention is on display as we do the thing we have set to do. This can be exercise, painting, washing the car, cooking, anything we choose to do, great leaders apply themselves to the experience.

This intent-full approach resonates to those around us often in a sub-conscious way. As leaders we don’t turn off this switch when we go home at the end of the day. We are wired to do things the best way possible, and to help others grow in a similar way.

We get to be the example we want to show to others. For me leadership flows effortlessly from the workplace to the home, to fitness and nutrition. Balancing the areas of our lives in a successful way provides the example for others to follow, and is what a new generation of leaders are doing more and more.

I for one treat my employees and my kids with the same level of appreciation and respect, and I expect from them much of the same things. While I certainly don’t believe employees are children or child-like, or that my kids are employees and have measurable expectations for performance, I do believe in treating people with one foundational starting point. I treat everyone as I would want to be treated. This simple and powerful starting point for my interactions in all aspects of my life allows for all my relationships and interactions to draw a clean and consistent pattern through them all.

My job as a father is to mentor and cultivate by kids own unique natural talents. I get to tend the garden of their little worlds, while they grow and eventually flourish in their own light. When we think of leadership in the workplace and employee development, is it really different? In scope certainly, but the concepts are the same thing. No two kids are the same, as no to employees are the same and each must be uniquely tended to.

The world is changing as it always has and will. This means everything gets to shift into focus anew. As we shift gears to the ever-changing world we can update a few definitions. Two stand out for me at the moment, which are the definitions of “Success” and “Leadership“. Leadership is no longer simply a professional capacity and success doesn’t have much to do with a bank account these days.

My definition of leadership is this: A leader is being the example of success in relationships, business, lifestyle, and mental and physical health.  Leadership is the state of being the result of how to balance all of these things with sustainable, healthy results for all persons directly involved with and around the leader.

My definition of success is this: A consistent state of being in harmony with oneself and the world we experience, while we experience it in real time.

To me being successful in leadership and in life is when you can remain calm and collected in the best of times, and the worst. Being the rock everyone else can cling to when the world (or the business, or the relationship, etc…) goes a bit crazy. By being the rock for ourselves, we can truly be there for others.