In life, we’re always winning the game we’re actually playing. Though we all want to be judged by the best of our intentions, it’s the consistent thoughts we nurture and actions we take that create our results and reveal the game in life we’re really playing — the game that gets us what we really — if unconsciously, want.
I want to be fluent in Spanish but I take three lessons, don’t schedule more, read Spanish for a week, stop, forget about it for a few months and start listening to some Spanish music … Though I really enjoy speaking to people in Spanish at the level I can, I don’t really want to be fluent. What I really want is to keep my level of proficiency up, touch base with something I enjoy periodically and speak a bit of Spanish when the opportunity arises. That’s the game I’m really playing — and winning. It’s confronting — but it’s true.
As we look at our lives, it may be challenging or confronting to acknowledge some of our consistent results but what other choice do we have? If we won’t deal in reality, we’re going to cause ourselves — and others, a lot of pain. But even if we initially acknowledge some of the less desirable results in our lives, it seems to me that we have four ways we can yet respond. The quality of our response will determine the quality of lives: 1) We can be honest with ourselves and change — grow to become the gal/guy who does what’s necessary to get what s/he wants. 2) We can set ourselves up for success by updating our goals — making sure they’re commensurate with what we’ve come to realize we really want. 3) We can just double down, get back to business as usual — but this time, having consciously chosen to subjugate our intellect, emotions and intuition — our integrity, to deny what we know and maintain the lie that we really do want what we’d said and that we are trying. Lying may alleviate some pain in the moment but it guarantees us misery plus interest. 4) We can blame the President, the Pope, the weather; we can blame family that doesn’t understand, unsupportive friends or a job that drains us. This victimhood is pure self-induced slavery.
I do enjoy learning Spanish. It’s just that, relative the other things I need and want in my life, it’s just not as important. That’s ok. This admission frees my time, energy and other resources so I can discover —then take action to create, what I truly want. Should I do that, I’ll start winning the game I really want to play: Being a more authentic, fulfilled and freer man in the activities I do choose to engage in.
So what do you want? Take a quick inventory of your personal life. How’s your health? How are your relationships? Do you like where you live? Do you find your work meaningful? Do you respect yourself? Like it or not, you’ve been winning all of these games. It’s time to get clear about what you truly want — and win that game.