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Life's a game. Did you forget?

Jack was in heaven when he was fishing

Jack loved fishing. Casting his fly across the waters of his favorite fishing stream made Jack's life worth living, more than anything else.

Jack died.

Saint Peter met him, leading him to the most amazing fishing stream Jack had ever seen. Saint Peter also provided him with a state-of-the-art fly-fishing rod, with everything he needed to start fishing right away. Jack was in heaven!

Saint Peter said, "If you need me, just call. I'll hear you."

Jack cast his fly across the beautiful waters of the stream. Instantly, he pulled in the most perfect trout he'd ever seen. He cast again. Within two seconds he got a bite and reeled in a pike. "Oh, my God," he said to himself, almost out loud. "This is like a miracle!" It only took another 17 seconds before he hooked the most awesome bass he'd ever laid his eyes on. Again and again, one fish on the tail of another. Jack was swimming in the unbelievable experience of it all.

Two hours later, he called out to Saint Peter. "I thought this was heaven. But this is not fun anymore. I never have to wait. I never have to think about whether or not another location might be better. I never have to consider whether or not to change the fly I am using."

Saint Peter replied, "Who told you this was heaven?"

Are you loving the game?

"Life is a game. In order to have a game, something has to be more important than something else. If what already is, is more important than what isn’t, the game is over. So, life is a game in which what isn’t, is more important than what is." -Werner Erhard

"After you have enough eat, everything else is a game." -Dwight GoldWinde

Werner might even say that trying to get enough to eat is also a game. Let's leave that aside. If you're reading this, having enough to eat is not an issue in your life. You have no concern about starving to death.

So why aren't you loving the game?! (if you aren't)

The #1 reason is that you've prioritized getting certain results over loving the game, which includes designing and choosing the sub-games (like your job, a project, or a particular relationship) that you love. Attachment to the results trumps "attachment" to the games. If you think there's something wrong when you "lose," then you are at war with the fact that you're playing a game. You are fighting reality. You are fighting the very nature of life itself and what gives life its juice.

Certainly, in order to have a fun game, you need to prefer one result over another. Otherwise, there's no game. Also, if the results are always guaranteed (as Jack found out), then the fun goes away because it's not really a game any more. 

The #2 reason is that we remain unaware of and/or minimize the choices and options we think we have. This occurs not only for the choices available to us in any particular circumstance, but also the bigger options we have regarding the design of our entire life (where we live, our job, our relationships, the glasses we see ourselves and the world with, and so on). Paradoxically, we limit our awareness of the choices open to us in order to feel safer.

The #3 reason is that we have lionized our Next (getting results for the future) at the expense of our Now (having a blast right now) and also at the expense of designing the journey and all the sub-games so that we can't get enough of them.

The #4 reason is that we have lionized our Others (taking care of others and looking good to others) at the expense of our Oneself, taking care of ourselves and listening to our own heart.

But why would we do these "stupid" things (which we start to learn usually before age three)?

Because there are benefits, big benefits (almost all short term). We get to avoid or deny the actuality of risk. See the CCC toolkit. We get to deny the actuality of being powerless sometimes. We get to numb ourselves to the fear that we won't get what we want or we'll lose what we have. In order to assist in doing this, we start to live in the House of Good and Bad, we start to believe in "shoulds" and "should nots." This also reassures us because everyone else has already joined the House of Good and Bad. We get to belong (at least to some group). And everybody agrees. See Undoing Shoulds

Personal note: as a young child I remember my parents talking about how "Jill is a good egg" and "Butch was a drain on society." Of course, I knew they must be right. And then I belonged to my family.

Lionizing Next and villainizing Now

Also, by prioritizing our Next over our Now, not only can we reduce the sense of risk about our future, but we can also get approval from others (and avoid their blame) because we're doing that they think is right also. See the NNI toolkit.

It's important to know who the good guys are: the sacrificers, not the greedy, selfish ones

And of course, when we sacrifice our own needs for others, we get to look like the good guy, to be the rescuer, to be that person who's always kind, the one who's always willing to go the extra mile for another. And hopefully, we can avoid their criticizing, blaming, or withdrawing from us because we are "selfish" and "don't care about others." See the OOI toolkit.​

From the perspective of these benefits, it's easy to understand why we've not prioritized loving the games of our life.

Life is a game

 

And inside of life we have sub-games. To fight with that fact is to fight with life.

 

To embrace that, to use that, is to love life, to love the hour-by-hour, day-by-day living of your life. The tools in AskDwightHow are all about how to give up all that fighting and to aligning with the way things are so that you can love, not only life, but all the games that you choose and design to have in your life. Yes, in every game there is winning and losing. But, if your primary love is for the game, then even when you're "losing," you're still winning. And you'll even learn how to find winning inside of what appears to be losing.

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