Live every day as if it were your last, and then some day you’ll be right.
-A.H. Braker Morant.
I began this book with an idea of providing a step-by-step process for developing the skills to live in the present, being aware of the world around you, and empowering yourself to choose your reactions in that moment. By recounting my journey of the last several years, I intended to provide a game plan that would inspire you to live with full awareness in every moment.
A funny thing happened along the way. I learned that this core idea was naive. I realized that no other person can get you to awaken to the present moment in your life. The past ”however good or bad” is behind you, and the future hasn’t occurred. Yet the future stems from choices made in this moment. You have to decide to use the energy, take the steps, and live. No matter how good the teacher, the process, or the direction, empowerment comes from within. Every student has to decide to commit to how to live.
So now what? Here I was, writing this book, when I came to this realization not entirely on my own, I might add. Now the process has to change, but my intention is still to help you learn to live in the moment. I’m now approaching this intention by sharing my experiences and asking questions, hoping you’ll discover parallels, contrasts, and insights into your own life. Then, through your thoughts, actions, and choices, you’ll reach the point when you begin to live the game of life fully.
There’s a catch: You have to be willing to see yourself for who you are and honestly make choices as you begin your own journey. And because circumstances always change like the waves of an ocean, you must embrace the journey yourself. It’s what determines your own happiness and quality of life.
So if you’ve picked up this book with the idea that someone will do it for you, then stop now and put it down. This is not a quick fix or a twelve-step process to create a fulfilling life. Rather, it’s a book to catapult you along your own path as you learn from others who are like you. The dream is universal; we all seek our own happiness, awakening, and enjoyment of this game called life. We all want to conquer and win our game.
Let’s explore the game of life and living in the moment together.
What’s in the Game of Life
We frequently hear people refer to life as a game, one we play every day. To some, it’s an adventure game. To others, it’s an obstacle course that bogs them down in the mud. Does your game of life fill you with the excitement and the juice of life, or is it filled with pain and sorrow?
With any game, there’s an arena in which the game is played, there are spectators, and there are athletes or participants in the game. In our game of life, the arena is wherever we interact with others and the environment. Its players are people we interact with every day. The spectators are the people around us who watch how we play. And as players, we also function as spectators, observing ourselves as we play our games and observing others as they play theirs.
Yes, I liken life to a game, not to belittle it but to provide a framework and a way to examine our lives. The goal? To help you reach a point of truly experiencing the juice of life.
In basketball, players are faced with multiple decision points, or choice points, when they must decide to either pass or shoot the ball. In golf, the player has to choose which club is right for the particular lie and location on the course. In tennis, the player chooses to slice or lob the ball. In life, we choose how we interpret what we see around us and then choose how to interact with others and our environment. It’s that gap that moment in time when we make a particular choice that makes all the difference in the world.
How well do you make choices in the moment?
The Rules of the Game
Within any game, rules prevail. Yet in life, we’re not given a rulebook or a game book to follow. We each play with a “game book” in our own way. In fact, we come up with our own rules as well as rules that have been taught to us by our parents, friends, and peers. We use these rules in our interactions in the arena, with other players, and with other spectators in the game of life. As men, we only talk to our close friends and don’t openly share our experiences and concerns.
Because the rules aren’t standardized, not everyone plays by the same rulebook. At times, conflicting rules can show up as difficulties in the heat of the action. When we become more aware of how these rules affect our lives, it becomes easier to live in the moment. Playing kick ball in elementary school was so much easier when the teacher set the rules. At summer camp, with players who’d come from all over the country with different sets of rules, the games could become heated. We’d argue over whose rules were right or wrong. Any time different rules are used on the same playing field, conflict can develop.
Any athlete who is training uses specific tools and skills to improve his or her play of a specific game. Tennis players drill their forehands and backhands and different spins to put on the ball. Similarly, we have tools and skills we use to play the game of life. They include points of view and thinking patterns as well as life experiences and lessons we’ve learned over the years.
Just as athletes train their bodies to participate in a sport, we also train to use additional skills and tools that strengthen how we play the game of life. Our goal? To enjoy the game of life fully in the moment.
I genuinely hope you’ll take steps toward discovering who you truly are. As you do, you’ll find yourself living in the present and capturing the moments that make life so magical and give us a centered strength.
Let’s begin this journey with stories from my own game of life that could reflect many truths in yours.