To me, life is one big game, a puzzle to be solved. When you view everything in life as a game, it’s not only fun, but you get to set your own rules. Remember when you’d play a new game as a kid? You wouldn’t read the instructions or rules. Instead, you made them up as you went along and had fun. It’s only as we get older that rules are introduced into games and problems emerge.
Games without rules are creative and fluid. When you view problems as a game, you can set your own rules on how to play with them. Too often, we’re presented with problems and both written and unwritten rules on how to solve them. More importantly, the rules define the problem. Question the rules about problems when you’re presented with them. While the stakes may seem high and the possible results seem catastrophic, remember that you can question the options and predicted outcomes. “Losing” the game may be the best option even though no one around you sees it. I’m highly competitive, but I often question the rules of what’s considered a win. Walking away is sometimes the best way to win, while others see it as a loss.
Nothing is permanent, although most problems present themselves this way. The people around you set that rule when framing the problem and decide what’s a win or a loss. The fact that they don’t see it as a game or that they’re setting the rules for the game is to your advantage. Play the game as you did as a child. Consider your own rules and definition of winning. You don’t have to always play by the rules of others.
When you embrace that nothing is permanent, you can do almost anything you want because you stop trying to hold on to everything. How often have you outgrown what you once thought you couldn’t live without and, soon after, fall in love with something you didn’t even know you wanted? That comes from society setting the rules. You always need something bigger and better. And if you don’t get the next big thing, you have a problem. The challenge of living by other’s rules about problems is they are constantly changing. So why not set your own rules of what’s a win and what’s a loss? The game is all in our heads. As Maya Angelou said, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”