Your life is a game

Idea Journal Weekly 3


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Idea Journal Weekly 3

February 20 · Issue #231 · View online

We combine 3 ideas to help you think differently and be more creative.

Summary: Games are meant to be challenging. But they’re also meant to be fun. What does it mean to view your life as a game? This issue offers a few perspectives.
(~4 min read)

#1. Life is a game you want to *win*
Entrepreneur Emil Anton and his team at Alux say in a video that life is a single-player strategy game. 
Huh? What does that mean?
Well, life is single-player because even though you will have “cooperative quests” with other people, how you play the game is ultimately up to you.
The clearest evidence that life is single-player is that you were born alone—and you will die alone.
And a strategy game is one in which your decisions have a significant impact on the outcome. 
So if life is a game, then what’s the point?
As the Alux team puts it: “The goal of the game is to use the resources you have at your disposal to build a life you are proud of.”
Most people aren’t aware that life is a game that’s meant to be won
“That’s why you see them feeling stuck, tired, and bored.”
The key to winning the game of life is managing your resources effectively. These resources include your health, relationships, money, and your ability to embrace sacrifice. 
But your most valuable resource is time: “You have to protect it and leverage it for long-term fulfillment because it’s the only resource that is not replenishable later in the game.”
You’ll inevitably face obstacles along the way. 
Maybe you’re facing one right now. 
But when you view life as a game, you see these obstacles as tests.
How badly do you want to win?
For Anton and the Alux team: “Everything difficult in your life right now is a test to see if you are ready to level up. If you’re unable to solve a problem, it simply means you don’t have enough experiences or resources to overcome it.”
You have work to do. 
Too many people never level up. They’re stuck playing the same level over and over again.
The game starts to feel boring. 
But if you know a game has hundreds of levels, why would you stop at level 10?
The clock is ticking is ticking in any case: all players die after roughly 29,000 days.
That’s about 80 years.
How many days have you already spent?
#2. Play life with "long-term people"
Entrepreneur Naval Ravikant writes on his blog that many of the benefits in life come from compound interest—whether in learning, money, or relationships.
As Ravikant notes, to be successful in business it’s important to play “long-term games with long-term people.” 
Staying in the game increases your chances of success, and consistent interactions with the same people over time reduces friction, and creates familiarity and trust.
This is a key factor behind Silicon Valley’s success: a network of people in a relatively small geographic area who know each other, do deals together, and have built trust over time. 
“They do right by each other because they know this person will be around for the next game.”
But Ravikant acknowledges that this long-term approach doesn’t always work. 
When it’s possible to make a lot of money with a single move, people sometimes betray one another, thinking: I’m going to get rich enough from this one deal that I don’t care.
That’s why it’s important to determine a person’s integrity and long-term orientation early on.
Ravikant defines integrity as “what someone does, despite what they say they do.” 
Here are two signals for gauging a person’s integrity: 
1. Their track record: As Ravikant points out, people are “oddly consistent” and if someone has has acted in angry, unethical, or vindictive ways with colleagues or rivals in the past, then they are likely to continue doing so in the future.
2. How they treat others in non-work situations: For example, if a person treats a waiter or waitress really badly, “then it’s only a matter of time until they treat you badly.”
#3. *Everything* counts
Assuming we only live once, then the stakes are high in the game of life.
Author and entrepreneur Burke Hedges writes that you can use the phrase “everything counts” to help keep your life on track. 
He first heard the phrase from a friend who would end all of his correspondence with, “Everything Counts.”
As Hedges tells the story, “One day I asked him what he means when he says, ‘everything counts.’“
His friend said: “It means that everything you do, no matter how big or how small, is either taking you closer to your goals or further away from them.” 
The statement is simple but profound. 
Every single one of your choices is either helping you get better or holding you back.
Quote of the week
“If I had my life to live over again, I would have waxed less and listened more… 
I would have sat cross-legged on the lawn with my children and never worried about grass stains… 
I would have cried and laughed less while watching television—and more while watching real life… 
There would have been more I love yous, more I’m sorrys, more I’m listenings, but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute of it, look at it and really see it … try it on … live it … exhaust it … and never give that minute back until there was nothing left of it.”
- Humorist and writer Erma Bombeck in her column If I Had to Live My Life Over, published just before she died of a rare kidney disease
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