“It’s the game of life. Do I win or do I lose? One day they’re gonna shut the game down. I gotta have as much fun and go around the board as many times as I can before it’s my turn to leave.” ~ Tupac Shakur
“Life is a song – sing it. Life is a game – play it. Life is a challenge – meet it. Life is a dream – realize it. Life is a sacrifice – offer it. Life is love – enjoy it.” ~ Sai Baba
Who doesn’t love a good game? There is something that gets sparked in us when we play. We open up to fun, adventure, laughter, and flow when we engage in a game we love.
So why not create a life like that? One that filled with that spark of fun, adventure, laughter and flow? Well for one we take life very seriously and that sternness shuts off our ability to get in that zone. So how can you shift from life being a serious endeavor to life being a fun game? Here are three steps to transition you.
Decide to Play
Your first step is to decide to see life as a game. The reality is life happens every day. We get up, we go through our day, we have good things happen, we face challenges, we deal with the same irritation for the ten thousandth time, we feel a wide range of emotions, we judge whether or not the day was good or bad, and we go to bed so we can do it all over again tomorrow.
Those things are going to happen every day we wake up. But what we can control is how we approach life. It’s easy to get all wrapped up in the seriousness of life. The bills, the pressures, the daily irritations; these things tend to draw our attention to a dark place. Especially when they build up over time. We forget we have a choice about how we see life, but you do and I’m here to remind you to make a different choice today and give yourself a gift.
Decide to approach life as a game. You can still be serious about it, but with a sense of playfulness thrown in. Take for example those Green Bay fans, they take wearing those cheese hats very seriously, yet there is something very playful about their convictions! That’s what deciding to play the game of life will feel like for you.
Design the Game
Every good game first starts as a design in someone’s mind. You are your game master so it’s up to you to design your game. Pick an outcome you want in your life. Is it a better job? Or maybe a better relationship with your kids? Whatever it is decide on a topic.
Take out a really big sheet of paper or get a sheet of poster board. Make it a fun color. Now work backwards. Design it like The Game of Life or Candyland. Put on the end point you want to arrive at and draw a game board that gets you from where you are now to where you want to be. Include along the way the steps you need to get there and the obstacles that might pop up to get you off track. Make up some cards to help you out, maybe your version of a Get Out of Jail Free Card would be Give Myself a Pass for Making a Mistake Today. Get creative and create a small deck of reward cards and help cards.
By designing a game board you are infusing your process with the lightness of play.
Get in the Game
In order to play you must actually get in the game. This sounds obvious but many times my clients think they are playing their game but they are just watching from the sidelines. To get in the game you must take the actions needed to move you along. You must roll the dice, which looks like taking risks and making choices so your game piece can advance. Then you must take action and actually move forward. And then you must play the hand you get dealt. If you get stuck, pull a card. If you need help, phone a friend. If you lose a turn, take that time to rethink your strategy and look for the road that has the most fun and head that way.
“Life is like a game of cards. The hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play it is free will.” ~ Jawaharlal Nehru
July’s joy-full lesson is life happens. You will have to deal with the same stuff whether or not you feel burdened or you feel playful. You can’t control what happens out there but you can control how you react inside and that determines how much you enjoy your game of life. So please play. Please design a life filled with that spark of joy that comes from seeing life as an adventure instead of a burden.