In this game of life one of the critical realizations is that you, as an individual, get to define what winning is. You set the goal posts.
There is a dominant definition of success in our culture, for sure. A successful life, the theory goes, meets certain criteria and includes certain experiences. If you have this job or status or amount of money in the bank or live in that neighbourhood then you are a success.
But what about how much you enjoy the game? What about how fulfilled you feel?
The beauty of the game of life is that you can agree or disagree with any idea of success. What winning is for you personally is totally and only up to you. How can you play if you don’t like what the goal of the game is? Exactly. So, you decide.
Anthony de Mello once wrote something I think is just superb. He said:
Nothing surpasses the holiness of those who have learned perfect acceptance of everything that is. In the game of life one plays the hand one is dealt to the best of one’s ability. Those who insist on playing not the hand they were given, but the one they insist they should have been dealt – these are life’s failures. We are not asked if we will play. That is not an option. Play we must. The option is how.
How you play needs to be everything to success.
Sometimes you just don’t have control over the external ‘bits’ of life: where you find yourself or what is happening. Just like a rollercoaster there will be ups and downs. If the basis of your personal definition of winning is in the internal aspect - how at peace or content or happy you are - the possibility of success in the game of life will be available to you in each and every moment.
You are in charge of how at peace you are with what is. How you respond to the ups and downs of life is up to you. You can enjoy it, or not, but this enjoyment isn’t based on anything but your response. Treat life just as if it was a game where winning isn’t so much about what you have but what you are.
So play, and play well, but keep your eye on your big picture. What’s the most important thing to you? Is it having something or being happy? Respond accordingly.
Don’t be afraid, you can’t get it wrong. You define the game, and can change that definition at any time. The only thing you could do ‘wrong’ is hold yourself back from fully playing your game. There aren't any real winners or losers, only those who had an amazing ride, finding complete enjoyment, or those that didn’t.
It’s totally up to you. Play, be full on, have fun.