The Game of Life, a real challenge for everybody, the idea of the topic is game. What is a game? We often hear and think in terms of a game. I looked up all kinds of definitions of it. I want to refer to and bring in the idea of The Game of Life.
A game, something that is structured, has rules or whatever, you use it for play or enjoyment, but it can also be educational. Gee, if a game can be educational, that brings up other topics and other ideas. There are some definitions that say the difference between game and work is that a game you’re not paid for, whereas work you’re paid. But wait a minute, there’s golf, tennis, baseball, football, and lots of games that people are paid for once they learn how to do it well. Even the video games, there are things out there that people make money competing in a video game. The difference between game and work is really blurred, so what I want to do is get back down into it really deep and talk about how YOU can make life a game.
First let me start by telling you what I used to do when I would train some of the programmers, developers, database administrators, etc. across the country. Very often I would go in there and they were at their computers already, etc. or I was standing up front as they entered. After we got everybody there and we got started, I would usually say something on this topic because I already noticed many of them playing things like Solitaire.
Most of them were playing Solitaire. I would say: “I can’t understand why people play games on the computer.” I’d get a lot of odd looks as I’m probably getting right now, but fortunately this is audio, so I can’t see what you’re saying or what you’re thinking, but think about it for a minute. I would say: “Think of it this way, you’ve got Solitaire. Okay, you played Solitaire yesterday. How many games did you win or lose?” They have no idea. “How many games did you play?” They have no idea. It was a mindless exercise of some random occurrence of cards and trying to put them in the right place. What happened? Nothing. You got nothing out of it.
Instead, these are people that are there on the computer to learn. By the way, this involves everybody today. There are things on the computer that you need or should know. That could be anything as simple as learning Excel or Word better. For them it was every single object on the computer.
You notice when you right click something, you see all these things, all these choices and actions, etc. You can set things. As a programmer, you actually develop those and write the code for those items. You write the code to decide that when you click on “Open,” it opens it and maybe opens up a new thing with certain colors, certain properties, what size it is, etc. All of those things are done. Even the idea of clicking on the icon or double clicking on the icon has different events, and those events cause different actions. Those are all things they need to learn.
So, what the hell are they doing playing Solitaire?
What if instead of sitting there, waiting, playing Solitaire, they went to figure one of those things out or two of those things out? I asked them: “What happens if you figure it out? You’ve won. What happens if you don’t figure it out? You get to play the game again tomorrow. No big deal, and you’ve learned something along the way which is what you were supposed to do in the first place, but by making it a game, a challenge.”
By the way, that’s the definition or part of the idea of a game. A game, basically you have some sort of goal, you have rules, you have challenges, and you have interaction. I just described what they’re supposed to be doing. The same thing.
The goal was to figure it out, the goal was to maybe how to set the properties, or figure out how to cause it to do something.
The same thing goes for most of everything you’re doing. You’re sitting there in front of your computer. When you’re sitting there, if you’ve got nothing to do, you can sit there and play Solitaire or you could figure something out: “How do I organize my email in a more efficient way? How do I get interactions on the internet to be saved into categories in some organizing system, such as Evernote?” All of these are beneficial, and if you figure it out, you’ve won. You can make anything in life, your whole life, in a sense, a game.
And, Wow, you’re not just saving time. You may be saving time by learning something that increases all your future productivity. (If you want to see many more of the time saving ideas I used in my life, click here!)
What is it, though? What I’ve really discussed down here is attitude, it’s the difference in the way you think of something and the attitude you have towards it. If you want to think of figuring something out on the computer as: “Oh my god, this is a great deal of work, oh my gosh,” you’re not going to feel really good. If you break them down into little things, and say: “I need to figure out this, this, this, and this,” and you break it down into six categories and you figure out one of them, you’ve won. Tomorrow maybe you’ll do two, or number three, or whatever. The idea is that you have had a repeated set of successes and won each of the games. Break down everything you do and have to do into that kind of scenario.
You’ve always heard and hear so often about the idea: Is the glass half full or is the glass half empty? The people with that negative attitude look at it as half empty. The people with the half full attitude look at it as: “It’s half full, I’ve got more room in it, or I’ve got more to do, or I can put more in it.” They’re looking at it optimistically, and they’re figuring it out. Examples exist from every day. I’ve used examples before of things like my lawn. I really think this is a wonderful example because I have neighbors, etc. and they decide: “Oh my god, it’s terrible.” They spend and waste their entire weekend (some of them like it, but very few) working on the lawn. I can have a much better lawn, but I only spend 15 to 30 minutes at a time every once in a while on it, because every one is a little bitty piece. My successes and my overall success is made up of about six to eight little bitty pieces. I’ll put down the moss killer, or put down lime, or put down that, etc.
The same thing, my washing machine broke. Instead of calling somebody, I decided to figure out how to do it and what was wrong. There was a troubleshooting error on it so I looked it up. The first part of the game isn’t to get it done today, but rather: Can I get it done? Okay, I look it up: Yes, I see what the problem is. It turns out that it has to do with the pump. I go to YouTube, I find out exactly how to do it, how to replace it, and where to buy it at the cheapest price, so I go and order it. Meanwhile, I make sure that I have the proper tool, get the proper tool, and disassemble. Then tomorrow I’ll take the piece and put replace it. Each of them are separate pieces. I didn’t take it as a major project and ruin two days on worrying about the washing machine and get frustrated at each time I had to stop. The very fact of figuring it out and deciding to do it is part of it. There you actually are making a decision: Can I do it or do I need to call somebody in to do it? It turns out the cost of fixing it for me is going to be about $33 instead of $300 to $500.
The same thing, for example, goes with things like my website. What do I do? I take a look at it, and say: “How am I going to have it rank higher? What are my WordPress issues? What are my other issues?” If I try to solve SEO, that’s going to be really depressing. But if I look at gradations of taking a look at the 17 dozen things that need to be done, and I do a few and I see it rise, I do a few others and I see it rise – those are each little things and little games. I win, repeatedly!
You can take anything and everything you want to do. When I was learning Japanese, I used to go, study, and I would study about travel. I’d go and inquire, and start talking about travel to a travel agency desk at an airline, etc., going on the train, etc. I’d learn about shopping, I’d go and I’d ask questions: “Do you have this in another color?” etc., etc. and I would go and practice it. Learning each of those was a success. If you try to “learn Japanese,” it’s a whole different story. People would say: “Oh my god. How did you ever learn Japanese? You must be so smart. It’s so hard.” I have a hint, and don’t tell anybody this: The dumbest person in Japan speaks Japanese, but if they want to think I’m bright because of it, that’s okay.
Whether you’re cleaning the kitchen and you’re doing it while the coffee is brewing, or you’re doing something else and you realize: “If I keep things in a better organized way, when I head into town I can stop at three places, save time, save gas, and get everything done more efficiently,” all of those become games. Take your career and make a game out of it. Take the career that you want to have, and make the learning process and the development process a game. Good luck.
One more quick thing: If you’re willing to take life on as a game and make it a challenge, let me ask you to pick up this PDF and start organizing and deciding what you want: www.LifeUnsettled.com/VisionBoard/. It’s all about not only a vision board, but how to bring it to life and keep it going. Also, go to “Life Unsettled” the Facebook group and ask to join. We’d love to see you there.