A Guide on How to Win the Game of Life
Life really is a game. In August of 2015, I hit a low point – convinced that the change in climate, lifestyle, and culture was going to make a difference couldn’t be further from the truth. When I began to realize that the circumstances of my life didn’t dictate my happiness, that’s when my life began to change.
One year down the line and things are different – I’m more comfortable in my own skin and only growing in confidence, something which is commonly misinterpreted as arrogance, but that’s for another time. This post is about doing what is best for you and understanding that life is a game, and you are the player, the team and the referee – in fact, you make the rules.
Over the past few weeks, the UYP Team has been doing some experimenting. We have been analyzing habits and trying to figure out ways to expand on good habits and rid ourselves of old habits and we might have hit the jackpot. We have been trying to streamline the difficult task of self-improvement and turn that monumental task into one easy to use game.
So what have we learned?
We have all heard the saying that you should concentrate on one thing at a time and don’t spread yourself too thin i.e. saying yes to too many things is burning the candle at both ends and nothing of quality really gets done. This is definitely true. Type A personalities, the people who want to get things done are often caught in this trap of doing many things, but none very well and although they are working hard, they’re not really getting anywhere. Soon, when the inspiration begins to die down and the motivation lacks, they bring into existence the idea that the world is against them and this was never meant to be. Sound familiar? It certainly does to me. UYP believes in making your life as simple as possible because behind simplicity is beauty. Think of Apple iPhones and how simplistic they appear but how beautiful they look. Life is no different and the less moving parts we can have, the less likely we are to crash and burn.
Where does all this take us? It takes us to a simple formula, one that we will soon write an e-book on and one that can be applied to any area of your life. Firstly, you need to do some introspective thinking and see where it is you want to go and what you want to do. Nothing will ever be in vain and that must be kept in perspective because the person you become while chasing the dream of being the best version of yourself is the person you ought to be.
After finding your destination, you begin to figure out the habits that the great people in that field have. Do they get up early? What do they eat? Do they meditate? Do they workout? How do they workout? Etc. and from that list that you build, you must then figure out what are the most important habits that if implemented today would have the biggest impact in your life one year from now. Please be aware that the aim of this experiment is to help you become the person you ought to become. When people look at someone who eats healthily or works out a lot or gets up early, they often idolize that person and think about the discipline required to reach such levels of excellence and yes, discipline is required but it isn’t sustainable – what we hope this game will help you do is learn to live the way you want to live and then just be that way. When someone asks how you do it or how you’re so disciplined, your answer will simply be “this is the way I live, there is no discipline”.
Setting the Game Up
Let’s assume that after some hours of deliberation, you’ve come up with a list of 3-5 habits that you’d like to change or perhaps just do more of, or even something you want to stop. To begin, I recommend three habits, simply because it’s more sustainable and a little easier workload. Write those habits down.
• Wake before 7 am.
• Write a morning Journal when I get up.
• Meditate for 10 minutes per day.
These 3 habits are from my own list and some of the things that I’ve been working on. Once you have you list, you give each a points equivalent on a 1-5 scale. Take into consideration the following.
• How reluctant you are to do it.
• How difficult you find it.
• How good it is for you if you do it.
Based on this, you should be able to rank each habit and hopefully, they’re all good habits that fall between 3-5 on the points scale.
Once you’ve decided how many points each will get, you need to set a goal for the end of each week for each habit. By looking into it ourselves, we’ve noticed that setting the game up so failure isn’t an option is the best way to build confidence and momentum. What does this mean? People tend to overestimate what they can do in a day and underestimate what they can do in a year (see Time Perspectives) and thus, set themselves huge lists of things to do in the coming day or week, only to become paralyzed by the sheer volume of things that need to get done. This is how your week might look if you were to set the game up so failure isn’t an option.
Create a table with the days of the week on the top line and the habit you want to create or break along the left-hand side.
• Wake before 7 am – 4 points
• Morning Journal – 3 points
• Meditate 10 mins – 5 points
Then, on the right of the page, you set your goal. Setting the game up so you can’t fail means making it easy on yourself. There’s a total of 84 points this week, so your goal should look like this.
• Wake before 7 am – 12 points Goal
• Morning Journal – 9 points Goal
• Meditate 10 mins – 20 points Goal
What this does is still gives you freedom and allows you to go about your daily routine without really thinking about these things. Soon, you’ll begin to notice trends such as “I don’t meditate on weekends” or “I haven’t got up early any weekend yet”. This awareness is a catalyst for change. As you see, the goal is to do these things three times per week and meditate 4 times per week. You will then have an overall points goal of 41 and an individual goal for each habit. After 2 weeks, if you’ve met your goals both weeks, you can move onto the next level and allow yourself to aim for an extra day of each activity. In the space of about 3-4 weeks, you’ll begin to see yourself changing and you’ll begin to see these habits emerge as “how you live” and there’s beauty in that.
Try it for yourself and see how it goes. Don’t make the mistake that I made of setting yourself 10 habits you want to change because what ends up happening is that you become paralyzed and feel like you’re fighting a losing battle and that isn’t how life is meant to be lived.
Enjoy my friends,