It’s called “the Game of Life.” And if you already feel like you’re good at it, well… that’s great! Keep getting better. You can never get too good at Life.
I write this because it has come to my attention that so many people get good at so many different games: video games, Scrabble, card games, board games, and all that stuff. Yet, in terms of Life… these talented people can get very lost. Way more often than should be the case, for such talent.
There is nothing wrong with being good at games, or enjoying the way that they enhance your life. But more often than we realize, getting too deeply involved in these pursuits, we forget… it’s just a game. Leveling up or beating your nemesis at Scrabble can be fun. But what benefits do you get to take with you to other areas of your life? Quick-reaction time, and strategic thinking mindset do indeed count, which is one reason why games are therapeutic in healthy doses. But some folks (I’m sure you know a couple) way overdo it, and suddenly the game they’re playing seems to become more important than anything else.
A good video game is awesome to dive into every once in a while. But I have noticed, as I grow older, just how much time such addictive pursuits can take up (I’m not a gamer, but believe me, I have plenty of other vices). Time that I could have been spending bettering myself. Time and energy that could be put toward my future goals in life. I still have these problems, sometimes. Like when the game of “develop this blog” gets in the way of other, more important things in life. Like sleep. (saves this post as rough draft, turns off computer, and goes to bed) 🙂
(continued the next day) Life is indeed a game, and a very complex one at that, because you’ll never know in advance which tools you’ll need for which conquests! The best predictors of success in Life happen when you are able to raise your Wisdom Quotient and keep your Maturity Index from going empty. The Game or Life is yet more complex than most because there is really no fully reliable way to see how full these bars actually are… rather, you have to feel them. This is better than virtual reality, baby – it’s real reality. That means that your innermost tactile and subperceptory senses are engaged along with the more obvious ones – and sometimes, your comrades in the Game may read your own indicators better than you can, and vice versa.
A rising Maturity Index makes it easier to feel such things, and a higher Wisdom Quotient can give you a better sense of how future phases of the Game may affect your Maturity Index. Wisdom and Maturity are best acquired with a very open-minded approach towards each new conquest; there are pearls of Wisdom lying around everywhere, even in secret corners of different worlds that appear to have no reference point for existence.
Sometimes, to get your Maturity to a point where you can level up, you may need to work with your enemies; basic Maturity can be earned with time as you proceed through the different phases of the Game; however, sometimes the passive acquisition of Maturity over time may not always be enough to level up, and you may find yourself stuck in one phase of Life. This is when you must think about turning to all the things that you ordinarily try to avoid: alternative but more dangerous pathways, encounters with fearsome enemies who know your weaknesses and will strike at them, and tests that can wear you down and make it impossible to continue until you learn how to negotiate them.
Very often it is not the apparent enemy itself that you need to defeat, but rather, the Fear Daemon that has taken it over and altered its senses. You can make valuable friends where you thought you had enemies if you are attentive to this distinction – and gain some of their Wisdom, too, in the process of fighting Fear Daemons together. But these Fear Daemons can also alter your own perception of the Lifescape, getting you to see enemies and dangers where there truly are none. No matter where such Fear Daemons lie, avoid them as you should usually (given how they can wreak havoc on your Mental Stability rating), there will be times when you have no choice but to seek them out and confront them head-on, though it may take a long time and be very frustrating when you aren’t able to immediately overcome the Daemon. Once you conquer a particularly difficult Fear Daemon, though your Health and Mental Stability may be badly affected, often the Daemon will leave behind a Humble Pie – which will greatly increase your Maturity Index once you eat it, and help you to level up – sometimes more than one level at a time!
The greatest predictor of success in Life, however, is not how fast you level up, or how high your Health, Maturity, Wisdom, or Mental Stability is; rather, it is your Fulfillment Ratio. Your Wisdom and Maturity ratings will give you a lot of what you need to achieve high Fulfillment, but such tools are only good if you pause the game, go into your arsenal, and activate them. Do not try to sit and stockpile high Wisdom and Maturity ratings; long-term lack of use passively degrades them. They must be both consistently augmented and put into action.
Fulfillment is a most interesting metric; nobody has quite figured out an algorithm that explains how it works. What has been deduced, however, is that a lot of it has to do with the speed at which you pass through the levels; if you go through them too fast, you miss many of the extra goodies that they have to offer. If you go through the levels too slowly, it can mean that you are stuck in one place, and therefore not getting ahead and learning with you need to learn to properly move on. Your Maturity Index will also likely stagnate and atrophy if this is the case, thus making it even harder to level up.
And a word about Fulfillment: one of the greatest challenges of this Game, one of the reasons it stays interesting and nobody is ever completely able to beat it, is because the Fulfillment Ratio is not something you accumulate; it is almost more of a moment-to-moment phenomenon. The fact that your Fulfillment Ratio is sky high during one conquest does not mean that it cannot go way down low during the next one… indeed, this happens more often than it should, because people get too carried away with other more easily-perceived metrics – the Thrillometer, the Instant Gratification Multiplier, and other such things.
When you get good at the Game of Life, the things that you learn are always with you, always handy, till the day you stop breathing. Because Life is a game you don’t ever stop playing until you’re no longer living. So get good at it, cause when “game over” arrives, there’s no starting over from the most recent level.