The Real Rules of The Game Of Life: It’s Not About Winning

Table of Contents

For most of my years, I thought life resembled a chess game.

My co-player, the universe, could surprise me or even trap me in a corner. But if I kept a clear mind and made the right choices, I could win the game and experience success and fulfillment.

Now, I know that life resembles more a game of snakes and ladders. I cannot control which side the dice will fall on or whether I encounter a ladder or a snake on my path.

The only thing I can control is that I go on, rolling the dice again and again until the game is over.

By rolling the dice, I mean take my chances, do the work, try the thing and love deeply.

Knowing very well that I could find a ladder or be eaten by a snake at any moment.

 

The rules of the game

The problem is that most people do not understand the game they are playing. Nobody taught us the rules.

Since birth, we have been told that if we work hard or even smart and are good people, we will hit more ladders and avoid the snakes.

Alas, there is no way to avoid all the snakes or keep finding ladders consistently. That is not how the game works.

Most people think they “earned” the ladders they hit. And, when a snake eats them, they cry out in despair at the unfairness of it all. They did not “deserve” this.

Rather than acknowledging that both of these things happen all the time to everyone who plays, regardless of their competence or morality.

They keep comparing themselves with other players on the board, not knowing that the ranking can change at any minute. The one who was first can easily be eaten by a snake and go last, and vice versa.

Comparing is a waste of time.

Nobody told us that getting what we want is mostly out of our control. We can keep thinking positive, maintain a high vibration, and align with the flow of life. By the way, all these are great things to do, but not enough to avoid all disappointment.

Think about it. For every goal we manifested, we have plenty of goals that we didn’t.

If we could get everything we ever wanted, we would not have that many failed projects or relationships in our trail. We would all have a six-pack and a fat bank account, and everyone we love would still be alive.

The notion that life is under our control is an illusion that keeps us stuck in suffering.

 

What is the point of the game?

What is the point of this game if you cannot control whether a snake eats you or you find a ladder to climb?

Maybe the point is not to hit the finish line and achieve what you want. This masculine-energy, western, “winning” model only leads to burnout and disappointment.

Maybe the game’s objective is to awaken to the fact that it is just a game.

It seems that all religions and spirituality point to the same truth: that we are not the same as our pawn on the board. We are not the ones climbing the ladders or being eaten by the snakes.

We are the ones rolling the dice.

We are not our thoughts, emotions, ego, body, or circumstances. We are the one observing all that. And in the observer’s seat, we can have some peace amid the chaos and change.

What if awakening, nirvana, enlightenment, liberation, salvation, or the kingdom of heaven – you call it what you want, is the realization that this all is just a game?

We are not the pawns; the board is not all there is. When we get too sucked into the game, it is normal to be scared or devastated. Only by maintaining a certain awareness of the nature of the game can we enjoy it.

 

Final thoughts

What if the point of the game of life is not to win it but to play it?

What if the ultimate goal is not to reach the finish line with a perfect record but to understand and accept the nature of the game itself?

Realize that we will encounter both snakes and ladders on our path. It will mostly be out of our control.

It is our ability to manage ourselves through all this turmoil and keep on playing that matters.

 

Download my free guide about How To Let Go Of Everything That Does Not Align With Your Vision.

Discover:
Identify what to let go of first.

Choose one of the 7 strategies to let go with grace and without burning any bridges.

Ensure unwanted activities do not creep back in.

 

Link here

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Picture of Caterina Kostoula

Caterina Kostoula

Caterina Kostoula is an executive coach and founder of The Leaderpath.

Her mission is to coach pioneering leaders for impact and fulfilment.

She has worked as a Global Business Leader at Google where she was
also a 5-star rated internal coach. She has coached leaders and teams from Google, Amazon, Stripe and Workable, as well as a number of startups.

Caterina teaches the popular Life Vision Programme at INSEAD Business School.

Her work has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company and Thrive Global. Her best-selling book, “Hold Successful Meetings”, was published by Penguin in 2021. Her TEDx talk is called “Do your goals prevent your success?”

Education

– MSc in Executive Coaching from Ashridge Business School (EMCC-accredited)

– INSEAD MBA

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The Real Rules of The Game Of Life: It’s Not About Winning

For most of my years, I thought life resembled a chess game.

My co-player, the universe, could surprise me or even trap me in a corner. But if I kept a clear mind and made the right choices, I could win the game and experience success and fulfillment.

Now, I know that life resembles more a game of snakes and ladders. I cannot control which side the dice will fall on or whether I encounter a ladder or a snake on my path.

The only thing I can control is that I go on, rolling the dice again and again until the game is over.

By rolling the dice, I mean take my chances, do the work, try the thing and love deeply.

Knowing very well that I could find a ladder or be eaten by a snake at any moment.

 

The rules of the game

The problem is that most people do not understand the game they are playing. Nobody taught us the rules.

Since birth, we have been told that if we work hard or even smart and are good people, we will hit more ladders and avoid the snakes.

Alas, there is no way to avoid all the snakes or keep finding ladders consistently. That is not how the game works.

Most people think they “earned” the ladders they hit. And, when a snake eats them, they cry out in despair at the unfairness of it all. They did not “deserve” this.

Rather than acknowledging that both of these things happen all the time to everyone who plays, regardless of their competence or morality.

They keep comparing themselves with other players on the board, not knowing that the ranking can change at any minute. The one who was first can easily be eaten by a snake and go last, and vice versa.

Comparing is a waste of time.

Nobody told us that getting what we want is mostly out of our control. We can keep thinking positive, maintain a high vibration, and align with the flow of life. By the way, all these are great things to do, but not enough to avoid all disappointment.

Think about it. For every goal we manifested, we have plenty of goals that we didn’t.

If we could get everything we ever wanted, we would not have that many failed projects or relationships in our trail. We would all have a six-pack and a fat bank account, and everyone we love would still be alive.

The notion that life is under our control is an illusion that keeps us stuck in suffering.

 

What is the point of the game?

What is the point of this game if you cannot control whether a snake eats you or you find a ladder to climb?

Maybe the point is not to hit the finish line and achieve what you want. This masculine-energy, western, “winning” model only leads to burnout and disappointment.

Maybe the game’s objective is to awaken to the fact that it is just a game.

It seems that all religions and spirituality point to the same truth: that we are not the same as our pawn on the board. We are not the ones climbing the ladders or being eaten by the snakes.

We are the ones rolling the dice.

We are not our thoughts, emotions, ego, body, or circumstances. We are the one observing all that. And in the observer’s seat, we can have some peace amid the chaos and change.

What if awakening, nirvana, enlightenment, liberation, salvation, or the kingdom of heaven – you call it what you want, is the realization that this all is just a game?

We are not the pawns; the board is not all there is. When we get too sucked into the game, it is normal to be scared or devastated. Only by maintaining a certain awareness of the nature of the game can we enjoy it.

 

Final thoughts

What if the point of the game of life is not to win it but to play it?

What if the ultimate goal is not to reach the finish line with a perfect record but to understand and accept the nature of the game itself?

Realize that we will encounter both snakes and ladders on our path. It will mostly be out of our control.

It is our ability to manage ourselves through all this turmoil and keep on playing that matters.

 

Download my free guide about How To Let Go Of Everything That Does Not Align With Your Vision.

Discover:
Identify what to let go of first.

Choose one of the 7 strategies to let go with grace and without burning any bridges.

Ensure unwanted activities do not creep back in.

 

Link here