Are You Playing Life Right? (Part 1)

Life is difficult. An eye rolling statement, I know, but nonetheless, it is a true statement. We are all thrown into this environment, from birth, and we are shaped, good or bad, by those influences around us. We learn our mentalities, patterns, beliefs, and priorities from those around us.

At an early age an influencer pulled me aside and told me that “life is a chess game, and some people are stuck playing it like checkers”. That statement stuck with me for a long time, I went through the majority of life believing that I had an opponent that I had to beat. Whether it was Me VS work. Me VS love. Me VS my friends. Me VS my parents. I was always trying to set my life up strategically, trying to see 3 or 4 moves into the future. If I moved my rook here or sacrificed my queen there, I could achieve checkmate, I could finally win.

Maybe an influencer close to you said something similar. Maybe even without the chess analogy, you have been living your life as if it is you VS the world. That you have to envision the whole board of your life, the big picture, and that you have to think 3 or 4 moves ahead. But the story starts to break down when you look at results. The desired outcome of chess is to beat your opponent, to achieve checkmate, to win. In the course of my entire life, I have never met or seen anyone ultimately “win” and be able to stop playing.

No matter the moves you make, the strategy you invoke, the amount of future actions you can predict, the game is never finished, you are never going to be able to shout “checkmate” and be done playing the game. You never have a known set number of moves or set time on the clock to give it your all. Life is not about you vs. an external enemy or competitor.

One of the struggles our society faces is that we like to internalize an external bad guy. We really need to start looking inside, because life is about the internal struggle of you vs you. Not about you VS someone else. It is about how well you manage your time, your interests, your desires, and the people and obligations in your life. You, for the most part, dictate all of these areas. Which is why I do not see life as a giant game of timed chess, I see it more like a long game of Tetris.

Each job, each friend, family member, hobby, relationship, commitment is represented by a block or number of blocks. There is no strong opening move, no known movement of the pieces, no two games are similar. The moment you are born, the pieces start to fall.

Slow at first. When you’re an infant and toddler, maybe only 3 or 4 blocks have fallen. Did you learn your alphabet? Can you tie your shoes? How far can you count? Do you feel loved? Pieces start to align. Maybe a row was even completed. You begin to feel happy. Stress free. Healthy – emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

Maybe the start of your life was a bit more difficult. Maybe your parents were poor, you experienced a death of a loved one at an early age, a childhood illness. Life keeps throwing L-shaped blocks when we really need an I or Z shape. We attempt to stack them the best we can, but we have holes in our lines. We have holes in our foundation, holes that should have been filled when we were young, but remain empty. Lines yearning to be cleared, but remain unsolved.

And that is where this story starts.

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