If you sit down to play a game, it is wise to go over the rules with everyone before you begin. Once the rules are understood you are in a better position to play by them and enjoy the game. But often people skim over the rules or skip them altogether. This leads to frustration, anger, and fights during the game. Some are tempted to make up new rules to suit themselves, while others justify cheating to win. We often have to go back and read the original rules to restore peace.
We have noticed that in the game of life, this is also the case. Without understanding the original rules and agreements of living we are prone to a lot of unnecessary stress and suffering.
We have also observed that the number one complaint of children throughout the world is “But it’s not fair!” Recent studies have shown that this underlying grievance does not diminish with age. It might be helpful if we go back and understand the original rules of the game and see what they were before we infused them with our projections, assumptions, expectations, and wishful thinking.
THE RULES OF THE GAME OF LIFE
Congratulations, you have been lucky enough to be given the gift of life! Are you ready to play? First let’s go over the nature, rules, and objective of the game.
1. YOU GET WHAT YOU GET.
You have been born at a certain time, in a certain place, with a certain DNA code, to a certain set of parents, and into a certain family, sex, race, culture, etc. These are your cards. They contain advantages and disadvantages. Whether you believe you chose these before birth or feel you had no choice, it is best if you accept these realities. There is no return policy. “It is what it is!” But here’s the good news it is not the hand you are dealt but how well you play it that will determine your progress in the game.
Hint: There is an element of chance. The cards are dealt at random. Don’t try and figure it out. Just play your hand.
2. YOU DIDN’T GET WHAT YOU DIDN’T GET.
Accepting this will keep you from the wasted energy of wishing you could be someone else or have what they have. You will be able to avoid feeling victimized, resentful, jealous, and angry. With a new perspective, you may find your self becoming grateful for what you’ve been given. You will begin to see the benefit of both blessing and curse. As you accept what was, it will be easier to accept what is, and you will be better prepared to face what will be. A huge weight will drop from your shoulders and you will be free to roll up your sleeves and focus on your next move.
3. THE GAME HAS A HIDDEN EXPIRATION DATE.
The game begins with your first breath. It ends with your last. No one knows how much time they have. The only guarantee you have is that YOU WILL DIE… at some point. If you can accept this, you will have a huge advantage over other players, simply because you will tend to make the most of the time you have and appreciate it more. You are less likely to complain when your times up. You will be able to count the time you did have as a gift, rather than feeling ripped off that you didn’t receive something that was never promised.
Hint: If you are still breathing, you are ahead of the game.
4. EVERY GIFT WITHIN THE GAME OF LIFE, ALSO HAS AN EXPIRATION DATE.
If you are fortunate enough to have extensive time in the game, you will receive gifts. Some of these will seem like blind luck, while others you will perceive as having been earned. In either case, please remember that all gifts must be returned during the course of the game. Many of these gifts will expire without your consent or understanding. Gifts can be returned or exchanged, according to your assessment of their value. Any gifts that remain at the end of the game will be returned automatically with the expiration of life.
Hint: This rule can be a cause of great suffering or enhanced joy, depending on the perspective of the player.
5. THE GAME HAS ITS OWN SPEED BUT IT IS NEVER POSTED
The speed of the game is not given to players at the beginning of the game or at any point during the game. This means that all players must sense the speed of the game intuitively. There are two mistakes that players make that hinder their progress and enjoyment of the game. They are either going to fast or going to slow. Going too fast is trying too hard or being driven by impatience. Going too slow is not giving your best, or just being downright lazy. The speed of life is somewhere in the middle and varies slightly depending on the hour, day, week, etc.
Hint: The only advice we can give is to travel at the speed of life.
6. YOU GET TO CREATE YOUR OWN OBJECTIVE
Unlike other games, the game of life does not set the objective for you. You get to decide what winning is for you. This rule can be deceptive though. Players often set objectives and find towards the end of the game that they are unfulfilled and resentful. Some players make the mistake of playing by the objectives of others and automatically lose because they weren’t true to their own.
Hint: Take the time to go into your own heart and find out what it is your good at, what it is you love, and what it is you care about and value. Build your objective on these.
(Don’t tell anyone we told you this. You’re supposed to figure this one out on your own.)
THE GAME IS NOT FAIR
We have seen many players get tripped up by demanding that the game be fair. When this does not work, they concoct unprovable metaphysical theories that explain why everything in the game is perfectly fair. Many players spend their whole lives pouting that it isn’t fair, while others spend their whole lives trying to make it fair. All end up confounded as the game proves to be impersonal, unpredictable, and mysterious. Bad things happen to good people. Good things happen to bad people. Holy men and women are not spared injustice, suffering, and death. Our advice is to just play the game, follow your heart, be true to yourself, and see how far you can get.
Hint; It is rumored that from the perspective of eternity, that the game is fair. But if this is true it will not be fully known until another moment in time. So relax, first, last, always, and enjoy the game.
STRATEGIES FOR THE GAME OF LIFE
Here’s where it gets fun. The rules of life deal things you cannot control. Strategy deals with the things that are within your control. A wise strategy will lead to growth, progress, and success in the game.
Hint: It is said that Master Game Players are the ones who accept the rules and optimize their strategy.
1. CHOICE IS THE STEERING WHEEL OF DESTINY
Let’s end the controversy right here, the earth is round, and you have free-will. Yes, you are free! You can do whatever you want! But here’s the rub, every choice has a consequence.
This is a critical factor in the game. Step back and begin to be aware of how your choices are affecting your circumstances, outcomes, and destinations. Using free-will to gain your personal objectives is called wisdom.
Hint: No one is wise at first, it takes practice, awareness, and a willingness to learn.
2. PERSPECTIVE ENHANCES EXPERIENCE
Outer conditions and personal history are not the prime determining factors of whether or not you achieve success and happiness in the game of life. Unless you insist they are. Two people can go through the exact same event and perceive it differently. It turns out that changing your perspective can change and enhance your experience and expression of life. You can literally experience the same Universe as heaven or hell depending on your point of view.
Hint: Attitude determines altitude!
3. CHOOSE AWARENESS OVER FEAR
It is natural when you enter the game to experience fear. But if you are to make progress in the long run, you cannot afford to be ruled by fear. Awareness can liberate you from fear and provide better results in all phases of life, past, present, and future. Fear, as it pertains to your past, is called guilt, shame, and regret. Awareness of your past will allow you to learn, grow, and develop wisdom. Fear in the present infuses your decision making with hastiness, overcautiousness, or paralysis. Awareness in the moment delivers an expanded point of view, clarity, and confidence, which will guarantee superior action and power in a living moment. Fear of the future brings with it worry, anxiety, and a weakened immune system. Awareness will lead to vision, preparedness, and faith.
Hint: Go beyond fear, prepare, be aware, and then act!
4. CHOOSE PERCEPTION OVER JUDGEMENT
We watch from one generation to the next, as human beings are demoralized and defeated by judgment. Judgment is a three-fold trap. People judge themselves, are afraid of the judgment of others, and then spend an inordinate amount of time engaging in the judgment of others. All judgment is a form of prejudice. Perception is the lens of pure awareness through which human beings may see the truth. The nature of reality, events, situations, and people, are distorted through the eyes of judgment, but seen clearly through the eyelet of perception.
Hint: Be aware, see things as they are. Clear perception is the best problem solver.
5. THE DISCIPLINE OF RESPECT
Respect is the guardian of all that is valuable in the game of life. Every form of disrespect is a waste of time and energy. The wise and successful player makes a firm decision to make respect a discipline. Being respectful to others not only conserves energy for more important conflicts and challenges, but it eliminates many unnecessary and costly conflicts that drain energy, morale, and resources. This leaves the player bankrupt when their moment of truth comes. But the flip side of being respectful of others is demanding respect from others. If other players in your life cannot be respectful, release them immediately. This will free you to healthier and more beneficial relationships. This, of course, assumes that you want to achieve your objective.
Hint: Do not confuse being respectful with respect. Respect is reserved for those with sincerity, integrity, courage, and honor. Therefore, true respect is earned not given.
6. WITHOUT COURAGE THERE CAN BE NO VICTORY
Courage is that moment where you decide to rise up and take action based on the best within you. With all due respect to strategy and wisdom, and yes they do apply, without courage you will be dead in the water. With the gift of life comes the responsibility to search your heart, find out what your values are and then having the courage to build your life on them. The greatest treasures have remained buried simply because when the moment of truth came the player hesitated, and then lacked the courage to take action. To us. the most heart-breaking tragedies within the game of life are the unwritten story, the unsung song, and the unfinished masterpiece.
7. THE BIG SECRET
We would feel bad for spilling the beans on this one, and you probably think that if every knows the big secret your chances of winning will be diminished, but research shows that 9 out of 10 people will not believe the big secret when it is revealed directly to them. So, in case you are one of the few, here it is. Everything you are seeking to win the game of life is hidden within your heart. That’s right! Love, Peace, Joy, Truth, Wisdom, Goodness, and Creative Power are not to be found on the playing board. They are not chips that you need to earn or be rewarded with. They exist within the heart of the player and are to be given and utilized during the course of the game. Now instead of spending the whole game trying to get something you imagine you don’t have, you can give and express what already lives within you, and watch it increase! If you believe this you’ve already won!
Hint: Don’t worry about keeping the big secret, a secret. The even bigger secret is that the score of every winner increases with the number of winners.
P.S. So there you have it our best tips on the Rules and Strategies of the Game of Life. We believe it will be helpful to review these throughout the game, but you will still have to navigate the game by yourself. In the history of the game, there has never been two games or players alike. Each life and pathway is as unique as a fingerprint. And no… it is not fair. Pain and pleasure, justice and injustice, joy and sorrow, are like rain that falls on every life. Do your best with what you’ve been given, look for life’s blessings, and be willing to accept the outcome.