If an individual could ever walk away from his greatest triumph, empty-handed and with just the shirt on his back, he would inevitably live to triumph time and time again.
Unfortunately, in today’s society, there are so many people taking life too seriously, and they’ve forgotten it’s all a game. Life was made for fun.
Despite the common belief, seriousness and happiness do not go hand in hand. We can only give what we have, and most of us are giving an attitude of seriousness. How can we expect to attain happiness and success, when most of what we give is seriousness?
The Spirit of Play
A spirit of play has to be rediscovered. Think back to when you were a child, playing for the sheer joy of play itself. Life was a game, and though there may have been a few rules to follow, they were only in place to keep the game alive.
However, one thing was for sure: There wasn’t a goal in mind. There wasn’t anywhere to go, and there was no place better than the present moment.
Play is total creativity. It is more absorbing, engrossing and enlivening than any other kind of activity we can do. It is the first and foremost ingredient that causes us to come into this universe and build worlds of our own.
What is the point of chasing a goal and succeeding at anything, if we cannot experience bliss along the entire path?
Life as a Game
I recall reading a book by Anthony Robbins in which he explains the importance of metaphors. Whether we realize it or not, we all have some sort of metaphor for life. For some, life is a jungle, and for others, life is a gift.
Now, looking at these two perceptions, it’s obvious there are two very different realities here. Each of these individual perceptions is going to cause each one to experience a very different life.
Personally, I have yet to come across a metaphor for life that is as relevant and accurate as life being a game. It really is. Think about it: We set up with a goal in mind, and then in order to achieve the goal, we create a game. The players of the game become everyone and anyone involved, including ourselves. In order to achieve the goal, we make rules and set boundaries to keep us on track.
In this sense, playfulness is really the most valuable thing a person can possesses in the pursuit of any goal. It is not just energy; it’s the sensation of being alive.
Sadly, most people on this planet have almost entirely lost their spirits of play. A huge dogma is seemingly engrained into each of us that we cannot achieve without struggle. It is the “no pain, no gain” mentality. Let me be the one to tell you: It’s a myth.
Do you struggle to do anything good in life? Really, think about it. Do you struggle to breathe? Do you struggle to love? Do you struggle to smile?
If you said yes to any of these, then it’s likely you’re not looking at the full picture. We only struggle to breathe if we hold onto a single breath, or if someone is suffocating us.
We only struggle to love when we get wounded, and we put walls up around our love.
There is no struggle to experience truest joys of life!
So, what happened? How did we become so rigid and unhappy?
The Degrees of Seriousness
There is something I call the degrees of seriousness. It’s really not all that serious, either. It’s actually quite simple, like all good things.
So, imagine you’re playing a game. At first, it’s fun, and you’re just playing for the sake of play. Then, something happens. Maybe you get hurt, someone breaks a rule, or you feel left out. At that moment, you get serious.
If you don’t quickly remember it’s just a game, and no one is playing for keeps, you will become more serious.
Once you start to take things seriously, it’s that much harder to turn back. Seriousness is grave; it’s rigid and heavy.
In its literal definition, it means heaviness. Once you move up the degrees of seriousness, the lightness of play will diminish.
As we all know, once you are in the thick of a mess, it’s that much harder to go out. It’s usually easier to get more serious and upset. When this happens, someone might call us out and let us know we’re being too serious.
However, we are much too serious to take that lightly, so we get damn serious.
To be damn serious is the greatest penalty of any game. We’ve condemned ourselves, we’re upset as hell, and the game is over.
However, the game isn’t really over. We’re still in it, and we’re just wondering why everyone else sucks. It’s like we’ve become a broken piece to the game.
It’s part of the game, but no one likes it. We don’t even like it because we can’t fully play the game.
This makes us that much more pissed, to the point where we’ve had enough. Then, we hit the final stage of seriousness: dead serious. Once dead serious, you can guess what happens next. We quit.
It’s our way or the high way. If we can’t win, no one can. So, we leave the game. Life has officially stopped being fun; life is too serious. But, the thing we don’t realize during all of this is that there are still people having fun. They aren’t playing for keeps, and they’re playing for fun. They realize the amount of fun they’re having isn’t nearly as important as whether they win or lose. They’re blissful, their imagination is rich, and they’re fully tapped into their spirit of play.
Success Through Play
As I said earlier, you do not have to suffer in order to succeed. However, I’m sure by now some of you are having a hard time believing life can be that simple.
It’s astonishing we’ve been duped into thinking we are supposed to suffer and take life seriously, rather than achieve our wild goals and dreams. It just doesn’t make much sense to me.
When we want something too desperately, we actually push it away.
We see this in relationships all the time. We call it “the game.” When we want someone, the person isn’t interested. But soon as we lose interest, the person wants us.
When we hold on too tightly to anything, it slips through our fingers, or worse, it dies.
When we take life dead seriously, things die, just like our dreams. The truest way to achieving our dreams and overcoming the obstacles to our own happiness is found in a heart of play.
We need to approach all we do with the same sense of love, carefreeness and playfulness as we once did as free-spirited children.
So, I ask you, how serious are you taking your life?