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  • Writer's pictureGary Roth

How To Play Life On Your Terms

The title is meant to be read the way it's written. Life, as I see it, is a game that can be played and won when you do the right things. The game of life has rules, it has limits, and it definitely has plenty of opportunity. Played well, you can definitely enjoy a great life.

"In school, you are graded on every test—even if it's your weakest subject. In life, you can choose the tests you take—even if they always play to your strengths. Maintain a baseline so your weak areas don't hold you back, but design your life so you are graded on your strengths."

James Clear gave us this quote and, in the right context, it could be life changing. Playing the game of life means that you are able to only enter the game that you can win. No one says you have to play a game that you're destined to lose. For example, don't try and be in the orchestra if you can't play an instrument. At the same time, if you're really good at golf, what is stopping you from entering the local tournament? Play the game you're best at.

"One roadblock almost never ruins you. There might not be 1000 ways to accomplish something, but there is almost always more than one way. Know what you want. Be flexible about how to get there."

Do you ever feel like you are stuck? I know that I have felt that way many times, but like we say in the game of life, there are always more ways to do something. I'm not one for skinning cats, but I do love optimism. If you feel like you are in a rut, I highly recommend that you disconnect, clear your mind, and try again. A good night's sleep can change your entire mindset about a particular problem.

"The gift of a beginner is fresh eyes. The longer you're in a field, the harder it is to perceive new truths. Your mind is biased toward refining what you're already doing instead of exploring fresh terrain. Take your expertise and apply it to something new."

How many times have you disregarded the new guy as a "dumb rookie"? At the same time, have you ever felt like the rookie in a new environment, despite your knowledge? When you can embrace the newness of a situation, the fresh perspective usually offers quite a lot. Try not to always leverage your experience of success, but rather try to remember where you made your mistakes. Shortcuts via experience are incredibly helpful.

Holocaust survivor and teacher, Helen Fagin, gives us powerful insight on the power of hope:

"There are times when dreams sustain us more than facts."

Do you have any dreams? Are you playing the game of life in accordance with those dreams, or are you simply getting by? The dream life is rarely given, and if you're reading this blog post, you are not living it. Despite what the world may tell you on the headlines, you are more than enough to do the things you want to do. Want to make a million dollars talking about The Smurfs? You can do it, and others have already proven it possible.

John Gall, a physician and author, on the importance of enhancing what already works rather than starting from scratch:

"A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. The inverse proposition also appears to be true: A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be made to work. You have to start over, beginning with a working simple system."

The game of life is always complicated when you try and look at it from far away. The truly great among us are able to zoom in and see the micro steps needed in order to do something special. If you can do the same thing, I believe you'll be able to take that next step forward. So instead of feeling overwhelmed at the beginning of a project, try your best to get excited and dig into the details. Don't build a wall, just lay a perfect brick.


What's one decision you can make today that will save you from making ten more decisions in the future? Make the choice that eliminates other choices.

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