Let me be the first to tell you that life is a beautiful and glorious bitch. I don’t exactly remember with 100% confidence, but I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t given an option to be born or not. It’s incredibly weird and uncomfortable to think about how I just magically came to life one day in a miniature creature’s body after growing inside an older creature; it’s also interesting how I ended up in my body, and not in the body of any of the other 100+ million babies who were born in the same year as me. I’ve put a good amount of thought into questions like these and I’ll be honest, I haven’t come up with any reasonable answers; I’ve just learned to accept how it is.
And here is how it is, I was voluntold to play a game called life. I was plopped onto this giant board game, like an extremely complicated version of Monopoly. There’s a couple major difference though: I didn’t get to choose my player piece or its starting assets, nor did I get to choose when or where I started playing on the board; certain things were chosen for me without my consent. In addition, the rules of the game were already in place before I started; I don’t remember signing a contract agreeing to any of them. The rules also left out some fairly important information like how to win, and how to actually fucking play. We’re all governed by the same set of rules in this life except for those two things. If you haven’t thought of it like this already, let another player pass you a hint: your job is to figure out for yourself what “winning” means to you, and how you’re going to get there; that’s your “how to win,” and “how to play.”
It took me a while to figure out that what I needed to do was define what winning actually meant to me; I was constantly distracted by what other people in my life told me I had to do to win. I was raised a Christian, which means I was supposed to follow a book and build a relationship with a man I’ve never seen or met before, in order to cross the finish line and celebrate in some place called “heaven” at the end. The rest of my society tried to teach me that in order to win I had to have more money and shiny shit than the other players around me. My peers growing up taught me that for me to win, everyone needs to think I’m “cool.” My father growing up, led me to believe that the only way to win would be to go to a fancy school and work my way toward having a prestigious title. (Despite what it may seem, I did not do it for him). I’ve spent my whole life listening to what other players think winning means to them and being told that’s what I need to be doing too. It’s unfortunate that it took me so long to realize that literally everyone was wrong, because they have no fucking clue what I need to do in order to win the game as my own player; they seemed to think that we all play by the same rules, but they didn’t seem to understand that the two most important ones we create for ourselves! No two players can win the game in the exact same way, but indeed, both players can win it.
I can’t tell you what you need to do in order to win, but I can share what it means to me. I believe the greatest wealth in life doesn’t have any dollar amount attached to it, nor is “winning” any specific title of achievement in a person’s life. I truly believe the greatest wealth any of us can ever attain is measured by the level of our true happiness; to me, I will have won if while lying on my deathbed old and grey, I’ll be able to look back on my life and say “you know what? I’m thankful I didn’t give up before I ever had the chance to experience what life was all about; it was worth the entire struggle in my younger years.”
So, the key is to look at life strategically in the third person as if you’re playing a board game. Simply accept the fact that the rules are what they are, and your starting assets are what they are; you never had a choice in the matter, so embrace it. What you do have a choice in is how you play the game; you can waste time bitching (like I did) about how unfair the rules are, or you can use your head to figure out how to use them to your advantage. A lot of people waste valuable time complaining about how unfair life is, instead of doing what it takes to become a winner. If you play actively and are mindful about your player’s decisions, you just might learn how to actually enjoy playing for once; on the other hand, if you focus on fighting the rules and complaining about the game, then you will fall victim to your poor strategy.
No matter how shitty you think your player has it, it’s always possible to turn the game around a put a hotel on one of the properties. There is something to be said about the “Boardwalk” though: if you look at it the wrong way, it’ll always seem like someone else put a hotel on it first. If you actually take the time to learn who you are as a person, you might find something more valuable to you than a little plastic hotel on a blue square. Sure, someone else will always have more money and shiny shit than me, but that doesn’t mean I can’t figure out how to fulfill and live my dreams too. If money is everything, then why do so many people who have it end their lives or die of drug overdoses? I’m in no way suggesting that it isn’t important in our world, and to our quality of life; the game can be stressful when we don’t have it, but I don’t believe a specific dollar amount is what’s going to win you your game.
We alone are responsible for our happiness, and we’re also responsible for most of the negativity and suffering in our lives. If it feels like the game is working against you the same way it felt like it was to me, it’s probably because your lifestyle choices are bringing more negativity to you. These “bad” things happen as a byproduct of your metaphorical driving skills. The idea that your problems are almost entirely your fault probably won’t sit well with you because it sure as shit didn’t with me; but I’m going to venture a guess you wouldn’t be reading a motivational book on turning your life around if you were happy with your life as it currently stands. I always thought cops had it out for me in the past; the truth was I was a thug in my youth, and I deserved it. I was the one doing illegal activities, so why was it the cop’s fault that I was being a shithead? If I didn’t get offered a job after an interview, it’s probably because of the way I acted, dressed, or because of my history that I caused. If you hate your boss and think they have it out for you, it’s probably because you’re lazy, can’t show up on time, and do an overall shitty job. Granted, it’s very hard to motivate yourself when passion is severely lacking.
But this sense of entitlement people seem to have is disgusting to me; let me be clear, and if you happen to be offended by this, then your problems will remain with you until the day you die: nobody owes you jack shit, not the government, not your parents, not the people more successful than you, and not whatever god you pray to. You owe the world something, not the other way around; you were given a gift of life, it’s your responsibility to make the gift worthwhile. The sad truth is most of the world doesn’t care about your problems, the exact same way it never gave a fuck about mine. I was that same self-entitled prick once upon a time; I complained non-stop about how hard and unfair life was, and you know what? No one gave a shit. It’s easy to sit back and say, “oh woe as me, God hates me; the world is out to get me.” It’s a hell of a lot harder to say “you know what, I’m fucking up; something I’m doing isn’t working for me. I’m absolutely repulsed by the child I used to be; but the comparison from the kid back then to the man who’s typing these words to you now, is how I know there’s no excuse for why you can’t change your life around too. Picture yourself happy ten years from now, what does it look like? What is making you happy?
Two paragraphs back I wrote the word “most” in bold. Like Monopoly, the dice do play a factor in the sense of uncertainty. Life’s a bitch and will stop you dead in your tracks at times. “Sometimes there’s only one Boardwalk,” means that although I’m an advocate for giving 100% effort to completing my goals, I understand I can only control my player; I can’t control the dice or the rules, or any of the other players. The simple fact is I might not achieve exactly 100% of everything I’ve set out to accomplish; but I give you the absolute truth on one thing: you’ll achieve 0% of your dreams if you never shoot for them at all. Your chances of success drastically increase with each attempt you make.
We were already given a Ferrari, it’s our job to learn how to drive it, maintain it, and put the right fuel in it; the fuel and the trick to success is passion. We as humans simply avoid doing the things we don’t like to do; it’s in our best interest to figure out how to make a life out of doing what we do like.
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”-Confucius.