The Game Of Life

There are lessons and values we can take away from playing games. Managing our life and finances is akin to playing a game. We can mirror the strategies we use in games and apply the lessons/values as well.

April 27, 2021

I was an avid gamer.

You could say I was an all-rounded, multi-talented gamer who had mastered a variety of game genres: action, adventure, role-playing, strategy and card games.

In fact, there was a time when I have actually profited from a mobile phone trading card game. I have sold off my account which contained many of the rare cards and currency of the game.

While games are fun and entertaining, there are lessons and values we can take away from playing games. In more ways than one, managing our life and finances is akin to playing a game. We can mirror the strategies we use in games and apply the lessons/values as well.

Knowing The Rules Of The Game

In all games, there exists rules and regulations. They are set in place for good reasons.

Rules and regulations in a game ensures the following:

  • Healthy game
  • Reduces possibility of injury to participants
  • Opponents do not gain free points in unfair manners
  • Fair and orderly game

A game’s rules sets its caliber and how well we play by the rules determines how well we play the game.

In the Game of Life, these are the 3 simple rules that I live by:

A) Do what you love. Love what you do.

Life is short.

We do not know what tomorrow may bring or where we'll end up.

So why waste our time on something or someone that doesn't make us happy?

B) Do unto others what you want others do unto you.

This philosophy is known as the “Golden Rule” which basically means to treat others the way you would want to be treated. This is also known as the ethic of reciprocity, which means to behave in cooperative ways that will benefit everyone.

Treat others the way you would want to be treated. Sounds simple and easy, right? Well, many of us actually struggle to execute this golden in our lives. Take for example when you get upset with someone. Your first instinct would not be to remember this golden rule and instead do whatever feels good to justify your anger. Pride might also make it difficult for you to remain kind to the other party when you are heated with anger. However, if all of us could actively practice this golden rule more, the world might be a much better place.

C) Do what you can. Use what you have. Start where you are.

If you can’t fly, then run.

If you can’t run, then walk.

If you can’t walk, then crawl.

Whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.

The last thing you want to do is look down on yourself. All of us have God-given talents and abilities, we just need some time to figure ourselves out. Some of us need more time and that is completely alright. Be patient with the process, make the best of your current situation and trust that God will do the rest and multiply your efforts.

Play To Win Or Play Not To Lose

Playing not to lose means that you don’t exactly have the goal of success in mind and you’re pretty much just cruising along life. This is actually an avoidance behavior people might use to protect themselves from negative outcomes or pain. All of us are surely guilty of this at some point - think about the times you procrastinate on doing something. One of the reasons you’re actually procrastinating is because you want to avoid the pain or negative feelings associated with the activity. However, let’s all gain awareness on how such avoidance behavior actually hampers our personal growth.

Such avoidance strategy sabotages our success by disallowing our potential to truly shine, undermines our self-confidence and true ability to produce possibly remarkable results.

Time for a bit of psycho-analysis on such behavior. If you often adopt the “play not to lose” mindset, you most likely play it safe and are cautious in your ways. You focus more on the negative “what ifs” and get defensive, guarded. To avoid risks and getting hurt, you work towards maintaining the status quo. There is a lot of overthinking which creates more fear and leads to further procrastination. You hold back to avoid getting burned. As such, the stress hormone, cortisol, builds in your brain.

Keep in mind that we are not here to make you feel bad about yourself. These are all brought across so that you gain self-awareness and can hence be more clear on how you can improve yourself for a more fulfilling life. The holding back mentioned above stalls you from reaching your true potential.

It is important to shift your attention and focus away from the negative outcomes because oftentimes, the self-fulfilling prophecy is very real. Think about the saying “whether you think you can or cannot, you are right.” When you only focus on the negatives, these negative things in your imagination will materialize. This is because your actions will be based on the lack of faith in yourself and you’ll be doing things that require much, much less of your actual potential. This results in many missed opportunities, and you’ll feel regret which is further damaging to your self esteem. See how it becomes a vicious cycle?

Playing to win is entirely different than playing not to lose.

The self fulfilling prophecy mentioned earlier can also work to your advantage. This happens when you start playing the game of life with a winning attitude, directing your energy towards your full potential. When you believe that you can and will win, positive chemicals are produced in your brain such as dopamine and oxytocin. These chemicals in turn further drive your desire and win and motivates you to persevere till the end. With such an attitude, you gain courage to face your fears and take more risks, using the most of your potential. You stay focused on achieving the final positive outcome and the self-fulfilling prophecy will lead you closer to where you hope to be.

In a nutshell:

When we are playing to win, we are doing whatever is necessary to move things forward. When we are playing not to lose, we are probably over cautious and holding back and fearful that anything we do will put the deal at risk.

Are you playing to win? Or are you playing not to lose?

Sometimes We Win, Sometimes We Learn

Far too many people view failure as a negative thing, but nothing could be further from the truth.

As an Enneagram Type 3 personality, it is in my nature that I want to win in everything. I am competitive, ambitious and goal-oriented. It is my deepest fear of being insignificant or a failure. To cope with this fear, I look for ways to win in life, be it by hook or by crook, to reassure myself that I am valuable.

But the fact of the matter is, we don’t always win.

There is a Chinese saying: 人上有人 天外有天. It means that there is always someone who is better than us. And we are not perfect. There will be times when we make mistakes.

Losing is hard. Rejection is hard. It might feel like a direct attack on our self worth and confidence. This is because we often associate our self worth with external things and external validation. However, let’s pull away from that and realise that losing or being rejected does not mean you are less worthy. It just means that you have more room to grow, as with any other human being. Truth is no one is perfect. Not even those who seem like they have achieved full success! That is why you are definitely not less worthy just because you’ve fallen a few steps behind. You just need to be humble and learn from the experience, think about what you can improve on. With humility and a keen attitude to keep learning, you will go far in life and achieve higher levels of success than those who allow their own pride to hinder their growth.

3 Takeaways we can apply in the Game of Life:

A) Learn from our mistakes

The hard thing to do is look ourselves in the mirror and try to self-analyze what we could have done differently to avoid this mistake and then move forward.

B) Learn something new every day

When we learn, we grow.

There is another Chinese Saying: 三人行 必有我师. It emphasizes that there is something to learn from almost anybody.

C) Learn to fail

The only way wisdom is gained is via real life experience and trial and error. Remember, losing can be a powerful teacher so long as we learn from their mistakes. Allow ourselves to fail, and pick back up after that.

Solo Or Teamwork

If you want to go fast, go alone.

If you want to go far, go together.

In many MMORPG, there are times where players have to work together for a certain quest or they have to fight alongside to defeat the Boss Villain.

Sometimes it is not just about winning, but it is about winning together.

Throughout my life and career I’ve seen it proven again and again, the lasting solutions are ones where all the stakeholders can find common ground, earn trust and work together. We help people today - but not at the expense of people or nature tomorrow.

Our Wealth Advisory Group has come a long way, with more than 16 years in the industry, and our director clinching the Top Financial Services Associate Director in 2020. But she did not get there alone. This was only possible through collaboration between communities, and partnerships with other like-minded businesses. It was a challenging journey and one we took and built together.

P.S. We are expanding and constantly looking for new talents to groom. If you think you are the right fit, hit us up. Alternatively, if you are looking for collaboration and partnership we open for discussion.

At the end of the day, we must realize that we are all interconnected in one way or another. No one is an island. And we all need one another.

Life is a marathon and not a race, and while we so easily measure ourselves by who has the most likes, the most beautiful features or busiest schedule, it is the full life that ultimately wins the game.

In the Game of Life, the player who finishes first may get a bonus, but they do not necessarily come out on top. So while it’s easier to spend energy comparing our lives with others’ standards, the most fulfilling way to spend our time is making and achieving our own goals.

Junwen Chen

My mission is to educate and empower people to design their lives so that they can live in abundance.

Let me partner with you, to design and nurture your dreams and ultimate life goals.

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