As we pass through life, it’s easy to think of it as a competition. We hustle through and give 100% all of the time, just as we give 100% when we play a sport or a game. We think there’s a ribbon to be cut and a prize to be won at the end of the finish line, but the truth is, we’re running across a game board that never ends.
Life’s no competition, and there are no winners or losers. The first step to being happy is acknowledging this. Parents chant “don’t compare yourselves to others” to their children as clichés about jumping off bridges with our friends are belted on repeat. Playing life like a game simply means you’re embarking on a journey that will never end in satisfaction.
Treating life as a game is like dancing around boundaries. You’re setting unnecessary limits that mold and withhold your growth. In order to win something, you must choose from a series of calculated moves. Why restrict your choices when you can make a crazy decision outside the 52-card deck?
Once you begin to believe you can win life, Mother Nature shows up and changes the game. You’ll continue playing until you feel her presence behind you, overshadowing the path ahead until you’re taking steps blind sighted. Before you know it, you’re forced to start all over. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.
Now, this does not mean you’re a loser. Not at all. It’s only once we recognize our lives aren’t a game and our peers aren’t pawns that we can approach happiness.
The concept of winning at life is immensely flawed. What is “winning” life? Eliminating suffering? Not having to work? Increased wealth? There’s no one standard that dictates a successful outcome. Life can be lived with gusto and pleasure or with bitterness and anger. Either way, you’re living.
In the end, life gets lived. Life does not get won.
So keep moving forward. Keep chasing your dreams without the weight of the pressure of winning on your shoulders. Do what you want and demand what you need. Set goals so big they intimidate everyone around you.
Chase happiness, don’t chase another win. You want permanent exuberance, not just a temporary high. Don’t let a win or a loss be your only options.
After all, winning only lasts until the game resets.