Freeing Myself From The Game Of Life | Dear Alexander #039
“Even Socrates, who lived a very frugal and simple life, loved to go to the market. When his students asked about this, he replied, “I love to go and see all the things I am happy without.”
In life, you always have to play a game. Life on a macro level is a giant game and within it contain endless ‘microgames’ that it’s players choose to play.
Here are some common games humans tend to play:
- The money game: become a something-onaire and chase the accumulation of money.
- The wealth and financial freedom game: do what you want to do anytime you want not because you have to or are obliged to.
- The success game: constantly attain higher and higher levels of superficial dopaminergic success activities.
- The knowledge game: acquire as much knowledge and education within a field of study.
- The power and influence game: climb the hierarchical ladder and become the chief lobster that gets to tell the other lobsters what to do.
- The impact game: impact and/or convert as many people as possible towards your cause.
- The innovation game: create ideas, goods and services that push the boundaries of our current understanding and experience.
- The health game: create a strong, conditioned, aesthetic and resilient body with a robust cognitively sharp mind that lasts a lifetime.
- The business game: find solutions to peoples problems through manufacturing valuable products and services.
Whatever game you decide to play, most people never get off the treadmill. Most people always play the game on an endless loop because that is what is expected and conditioned into people.
How many of us have consciously deliberately chosen to play the games we’re playing?
How many of us are playing other peoples games instead of the ones we want to play?
I don’t desire to play a game just for the sake of playing a game — just because its another check box — another ‘thing to do’.
How much of what I do now and what I will do is just another check box that I should stop altogether, or just not begin at all?
Do I need to consume all those podcasts, education and emails, or am I stuck on a loop within the game of consumption and knowledge?
Before deciding the game I’m going to play:
- Precisely define the desired outcome and aim of the game (why are you playing it?) E.G. Get into the best physical shape of my life.
- Define when that game is finished precisely or give yourself a range for when that game is complete and you have won. E.G. 8–10% body fat with visible abs fully relaxed.
How do I know if I should play again?
Once the game is complete and won, be done with it; instead of always adding on more just for the sake of adding on more because that's what societies cultural norms and values expect and admire. When you have won you don’t have to keep setting new goals for yourself — you don’t have to keep making more and more money and accumulating more and more influence and fame. If more is truly needed and the game needs to be repeated, repeat the two steps above.
There’s a time to level up and raise the bar even further. But am I raising the bar just for the sake of raising the bar? If no one knew or could see what I was doing would I still raise the bar and play the game again? Or maybe I wouldn’t have picked the game at all. If I raise the bar again yet no one knew I did it, that’s a game driven by strong authentic intrinsic intent worth playing.
If I’m going to keep pushing, why am I pushing? Is it for somebody else? Is it to boost how I’m going to be perceived? Who is it for? If it’s for someone else and it’s not for me there are cracks in my foundation of reasoning. However, if it’s because I reflect and observe that there is merit and value in me continuing to play and level up in this game, then that is a more authentic resourceful decision grounded in sound reasoning.
Otherwise, am I just hopping on the rat race treadmill and never getting off? I can always keep upping the intensity and incline, but why am I doing it? If I’m going to do that, I need to make sure it’s because I really want to and it serves me to do so.
“Anything done routinely [can] become its own trap of obligation.” — Naval Ravikant
The criteria for choosing tasks, responsibilities and life's games:
- Make it a deliberate purposeful choice and minimise choices based on obligation, momentum, expectation or just because ‘its something to do’.
- Do it because I want to do it.
- Choose it because it serves me.
Summary: Play the games that make my life better, more effective and have a utility to me. If it doesn’t, why am I doing it?
The Final Boss: Being Free of All Games
‘The reason to win the game is to be free of it’ acts a reminder to myself that for the games that I’ve won, it’s time to let go of them and to be free of them and not to unconsciously double down by comparing myself to the Joneses.”
For almost all of us who aren’t born into massive wealth, we have to play some games to fulfil Maslow's hierarchy of needs. The problem is 99% of people who play life’s games never create the opportunity to stop playing if they want to. They end up dying on the treadmill rat race of life not because they necessarily want to, but because they feel they ‘have to’ or are stuck on autopilot for a lifetime.
What if I could play the right series of games at the right speeds and intensities and I beat the game, resulting in me no longer being obligated to play any of life's games? Imagine a life where I don’t have to force myself to play any game?
What if I could live a life where every game I play is a game I choose to play, resulting in a life of decision making freedom to make any decision I like at any time whilst not being obliged to anybody, anything or any game? Thus I am free, or freer, than if I forced myself to play a game out of necessity, need, or lack of something.
How to free myself from all games?
Attain wealth through Ikigai (one’s reason for being).
Wealth = wake up when you want, go to sleep when you want, live where you want and do what you want to do not because you have to or are obliged to. The purpose of money is to buy freedom. How can I optimise for independence and freedom so I don't have to answer to someone or something else and can be free of all games?
How to not get caught on the treadmill even in the midst of wealth? =
Live Below Your Means
“People who live far below their means enjoy a freedom that people busy upgrading their lifestyles can’t fathom…
I don’t want to keep upgrading my lifestyle and my expectations to match my circumstances. Otherwise, I’ll be on this treadmill forever.”
I don’t believe in the entire cessation of all of life's games. I don’t desire to stop playing games, but I want the ability to ultimately choose any and every game and make sure every game in my life is chosen out of thoughtfulness, careful consideration and solid reasoning instead of obligation, necessity, or lack of something. If I beat enough of the right games I can be free of all of them.
Idea inspired by Naval Ravikant
“I want to be able to go through a day or a week not worrying about what I gotta do Wednesday, what I gotta do Thursday because then I’ll never enjoy Monday. Sometimes I surprise myself like oh I’ve got nothing to do today or tomorrow. That to me is retirement and that’s where I want to be. And if I choose to get involved in things [then it’s a deliberate choice] but not to where it takes away from the moment because I’m worried about what to have to do tomorrow. “ — Michale Jordan
Perhaps freedom is not needing to worry about tomorrow and being focused and present on today? However, it seems I must go through times in life where I am worrying about Wednesday, Thursday and the future as the process to create a life where I can focus solely on Monday.