You compete with others, on an unfair playing field. Are you aware of this?

Are you good at games?

Starting equally

You know in (tabletop) games - think e.g. Monopoly - in the beginning, everyone starts off being equal. In just about every aspect, even. You all start on the same tile, with the same amount of resources (money), and no one thinks that having an earlier turn increases your chances of winning since otherwise it would be seriously fought over as well. So yes - in the beginning all things are equal.

And then you make your first moves, start to plan, strategize, politicize, control and manipulate - even if only your own pieces. At some point, even though everyone started equally (at least from the perspective of the game), someone is going to win. At some point, if the board hasn’t been flipped over, someone won. This is a clear difference to the beginning, where everyone had equal standing.

This is the same with card games. Take just about every game. You start out being ‘equal’, and usually someone, be it a team or a single person, ends up winning or losing. Sometimes both.

Starting unequally

Now take the case where next to you a group of people is playing a game for some time now, one of them leaving, and they ask you to play instead, which you do. Now, this is also a starting point. Is it still an ‘equal’ one?

Depending on the game played and how far it has progressed, it would rarely be one. Usually, trends can be seen, rough indications about where everyone stands relative to each other. Also, quite a few things might be decided already, or ‘kind of’ set in stone. Examples here would be Monopoly, who already owns which streets, or chess, which figures have been taken off the board already respectively.

But then again, here you go. This is your starting point. Complaining won’t do you any good, since the one who got you in this situation already left. So the only thing left is to make the best of it.

Can you? Yes. Will you? Will you?

Advantages in Games

So how come, that even if you start equally, someone wins, while others don’t? That sometimes you win, and sometimes others? Sure, part of it might be due to randomness, e.g. in games like Blackjack, Roulette, or those involving Dice. Even in Poker, there’s a huge reliance on Randomness, but there’s more. Skill. And that’s where the difference comes in. You certainly know this if you’ve frequently played games with other people (e.g. your family), you usually end up around the same position (with the same players). So the difference is within the person. They differ in skill (on this game). But you can improve your Skill.

Life is Competitive

I’m not sure if you’re aware of that yet, but our everyday lives are pretty competitive. Also, we live in a society where no one is saying this. Even on sports-days, they say that ‘it’s all about taking part’. Sure. If you give out prices. That’s what a Competition is. Grades in school? A competition. I’m not sure if it was like this for you, but some give grades based on relative performance (which is an awful measure in my opinion, but that’s another topic). Utterly competitive. Getting a Spouse? Competition with just about everyone else. A Job? Competition with the others wanting the same Job. Is there just about anything not a competition?

Well, a few things, but most are. Back to topic. Our Life is filled to the brim with competitions, but do we see them as competition? Rarely. So what happens when you start seeing it as competition? That’s only the beginning, because you still need to compete. There’s so much to compete for, you can’t do all of it once. If you want to compete (you certainly did unconsciously), you need to improve.

Why is there competition? There are too many reasons, some of them being ‘because it works’ and ‘because it’s fun’. (Might become a future post)

Seeing Life as a Game

So what about this competition called ‘Life’? There is competition everywhere. There are even games about life, like the Sims. Some mirror reality quite well. So what would you do in one of these Games? Be successful and rich? What is needed to get there?

Spend your days at home wondering which series to watch next? Yeah, right. Do some Work, improving your skills? Real Life works the same (if you haven’t noticed).

Sure, there are some differences to be made, you only have this one life, and people don’t like to be treated as ‘objects’, so you shouldn’t do that. But that’s only if you misinterpret some parts because it’s not NPC-Interaction. It’s Player-Player interaction!

There are rounds/stages, even! It’s called age! What did you do this last round? What do you plan on doing this next round?

So what happens if you start playing Sims with yourself? What would you let yourself do? What would you change, compared to your everyday routine?

What to keep in mind

Compared to most games, there is a significant difference: You do not have a second chance. Nor will you ever get a second chance to make the first impression. Saving and ‘loading’ again if the situation was unfavorable is not possible. You need to get it right the first time.

So the biggest difference is that you cannot afford to take it easy. You need to take it seriously from the very beginning, or you can not get that far (as you would expect?). I mean life kind of is that simple: do a lot of things (well), and you have a lot of options. Knowing most shows from Netflix might get you far in a business where you get money for recommending shows to others. Keep in mind that robots are getting good at this. Most people are not doing that much, so if you do it is not exactly hard to out-compete them. If you have the discipline. Did you know you can train discipline? Do you train your discipline?

When to use this View

I found this view particularly helpful when I just had to take a hit emotionally. For example not passing an exam you really put some effort in, or something similarly not easy to take. Hey, you didn’t pass, but this is your starting point.

When finally mustering up the courage to confess, only to blatantly get rejected. You dared to confess. This is your starting point.

When you’re starting to only see the negative parts about life, the bad things, you’d rather not think about (especially if you’re prone to depression, or have depressive tendencies): Sure, things go bad now and then. But they do for everyone. This is your starting point.

This is probably the most effective part since I start to think of myself as being pathetic quite easily sometimes. However, thinking about it as your starting point makes you focus on the future instead of the past. You can not change the past, but the future is still in your hands. Better act now, to increase your odds. This gets me to re-think my current situation, and it usually turns out not to be as bad as I thought.

Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit. - Napoleon Hill

Your Starting Point

Either way, if you accept Life as a sort of game or not, it is a competition. What do you do to compete? How do you train? Will you be better than the competition? Can you do more? They are somewhere relative to you on this huge board, based on skills, endurance, experience, knowledge, and more. What do they do? Can you do more? Will you do more? Why not? This is your starting point, what do you think, how far can you go until next round?

Remember: Nothing is really impossible. So where are you currently going? Where do you want to go? What do you need to do for this?

The future belongs to the competent. Get good, get better, be the best. - Brian Tracy


Edits:

  • 2019-04-30: In the first post, I didn’t say what I wanted to say, but strayed on related topics. So this is the second version, I’m much more content with this one. If you have feedback, I’d love to hear it!
  • 2019-05-24: Added the paragraph about ‘when to use it’.
  • 2019-09-26: Added paragraph about what to keep in mind, and added quotes.
  • 2020-09-04: Grammar fixes