The Game of life
A couple weeks ago — okay, several weeks ago [FINE, it was four months-ish, tops] — I wrote about how you can use game theory to keep yourself organized, and use your time wisely.
It’s time for the follow up lesson that I only recently learned: Don’t forget that all this is just a game.
Let me back up.
A couple months ago, there were the standard changes at work, at home, and with friends. Basically, I saw the changes as new goals that had to be achieved before the game clock ran out. The real pain of that game clock is it’s different for everyone, and there’s seldom a warning before it goes off. But I digress.
Just as I felt I had to spend more of my time at work (time being the only game piece we can exchange for anything else in the game of life), my second child was born.
Boom. Strategy busted.
I could have laughed at the timing and shaken a (faux) angry fist at the sky and cursed the game mechanic. I could have done the obvious choice in reallocating my time to the long-game (it’s a better strategy, by far) but what did I do? I forgot all about the fact that this is a game, and I started to take everything seriously.
I had to be there for my family. I had to go into the office early. I had to put in my time at the gym. I had to —- well, you get it.
The point is, instead of stepping back to see how best to use this new player in the game, I kept trying to push my original strategy, and it was burning me out.
So I had to make a change. I had to reassess where my time was going, and look at it critically with a player’s eye. But most importantly: I had to remember that this was a game, and that it should be fun and not a burden.
There’s a lot I would like to say about this concept, but I once stole a line from a movie that says if you can’t say it better, steal from someone else and go out strong. So I’m going to steal from Bill Hicks.
Bill Hicks – Life is just a ride… The World is like a ride in an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it you think it’s real, because that’s how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down and round and round, and it has thrills and chills and is very brightly colored, and it’s very loud. And it’s fun, for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time, and they’ve begun to question, ‘Is this real, or is this just a ride?’, and other people have remembered, and they’ve come back to us and they say ‘Hey, don’t worry. Don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride.’ and we KILL THOSE PEOPLE. “Shut him up! We have a lot invested in this ride! SHUT HIM UP! Look at my furrows of worry. Look at my big bank account, and my family. This has to be real.” It’s just a ride. But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that. You ever noticed that? And let the demons run amok. But it doesn’t matter, because … It’s just a ride. And we can change it anytime we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings of money. A choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear wants you to put bigger locks on your door, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love, instead see all of us as one. Here’s what we can do to change the world right now, to a better ride: Take all that money we spent on weapons and defense each year and instead spend it feeding, clothing, and educating the poor of the world, which it would many times over, not one human being excluded, and WE CAN EXPLORE SPACE, TOGETHER, BOTH INNER AND OUTER, forever … in peace. Bill Hicks (1961 – 1994)