When I’m really pushing for something, when I’m stepping into new places and spaces and looking to aim higher and really stretch myself into creating something that's only a vision in my mind, it helps me to see the experience as a game.
Creating and achieving in life — whether it’s building better businesses, marriages or bodies — is a game. And it is a game that will be won or lost, depending upon how you set up the rules and agreements.
Maybe you are committed to increasing sales in your business. Easy enough. We sell the number of widgets that match the goal for the month, and we’ve won! But if it doesn’t happen? Yeah. Tally in the "loss."
Maybe you want a “better marriage.” So you create a structure within which to measure that. It’s quite simple, and we do it all the time. If x, y or z happens, then I have won at the better marriage gig. But if it doesn’t…
I know for all you stellar types, this doesn’t sound all too enlightening.
You have your goals in mind. You know what you’d consider a big WIN and anything else less than would be a loss.
For those of you really all-in, the end game is posted around the house and office and on your phone, and you’re constantly telling everyone what you’re going to do and how you’re going to WIN.
This is perfect. And it helps to move the ball forward because these types of games do require you to take steps from “here” to “there” in order to bridge the gap. It’s nice to know what the rules are, what the timeline is, and how you can approach the whole situation in order to give it your best.
But want to know what keeps me SANE when I’m in the middle of those types of games — aiming for the sky, trying to break through ceilings and going all out??
It's remembering that I am actually playing an entirely OTHER game that I DIDN'T set up the rules to.
So, there are TWO types of games in life.
One is voluntary.
The other is involuntary.
One is designed for the purpose of winning (like the things we discussed earlier.)
The other is designed for the purpose of continuing the play.
James Carse would call the first a “finite” game and the second an “infinite” game.
See, as humans, we design the first type of game. We say we want this, that or the other, and we say that this is the structure within which we will play in order to win that.
And then we go play. And sometimes we win. And sometimes we lose.
But when we lose - and we will sometimes, it’s important to remember that there’s a whole other game going on!
In fact, all of the games designed for winning are being played INSIDE of the involuntary game designed with no winners in mind at all -- just designed to keep the play going.
Speaking from personal experience, it’s been absolutely critical to my own sense of continuity and healthy mental states to keep in mind that no matter WHAT happens inside of the finite, voluntary, winner/loser game that I made up for myself (or at least agreed to), I am playing an entirely other game too.
And that game is designed with no end. It is simply meant to continue the play — to keep the players moving.
So go for it!
Put the game together that you play to create and achieve and succeed — and show up! Play and play hard. Do your best to win.
And whether you DO or you DON’T win, remember two things:
1. You get to create a new, finite game anytime you want. Winning and losing isn’t the end of anything, other than that particular game. So start again!
2. You’re playing the infinite game, always. It’s the real game of life that everything else is happening inside of. It’s in this game that there are no winners; there is nothing to prove and nothing to earn. You are literally playing for the mere enjoyment and pleasure of it.
So, let’s play on!
If you want to play better inside both games every day, join in on the training happening next Friday, Saturday and Sunday -- replay will be available if you can't make it live AND price is only $49 through Monday. It will go up after!