What Game Are You Playing?

Games have taken over the world, haven’t they? I remember playing checkers with Granddaddy as a boy. My brother and I made up games in the woods or on the beach. Dad would throw footballs for hours with us. We played Ms. PacMan and Mike Tyson’s Punchout on the Atari for as long as our parents could stand the music.

(I believe the record was about 34 minutes….)

Now, all of pop-culture seems to be screaming about Fortnite, the Final Four and Game of Thrones. Games certainly take up a lot of our attention. In fact, I’ve found myself looking at the scores in the WGC Dell Match Play championship writing this!

Those games, the physical ones we can all participate in, are not what I’m talking about with the title to this piece. Instead, I want to focus our attention on the social, mental and emotional games we are playing.

Your Billboard

Tim Ferriss, the writer and podcaster, asks almost all of his guests this question: if you were given a billboard and could write something up there for everyone to see, what message would you offer? Graham Duncan, a recent guest, brought up a quote from Kwame Anthony Appiah:

In life, the challenge is not so much to figure out how best to play the game; the challenge is to figure out what game you’re playing.

In the podcast, Graham talks about the games of ‘making money’ and ‘building power.’ Those games aren’t in your wheelhouse right now, camper.

That’s not to say that you aren’t playing any games, though.

What’s Your Game?

Is your game ‘I want to look good to the teachers and just get by’ or ‘I want to learn as much as I can regardless of what it looks like?’ Perhaps you are older and playing ‘whatever I can do to get into college x.’ Or maybe you are playing the ‘I’m scared and I don’t want anyone else to know’ game.

We all play games, kiddos. Your parents (and your camp director) do, too.

Some games are easy to play without even knowing it. Trying to keep up with those around you that you deem to be doing better in whatever we than you. Going along with the herd. Those are easy to do… and not always worthwhile.

The game I would have you play? Here are two ideas:

  • How can I make a positive difference in someone else’s life today?
  • What I can do to become a better ‘me’ today?

I was going to write down a few more. The more I think about the important games we can play, though, the more I believe these are the two most valuable. If you ‘win’ at each of those games each day, the world around you gets better. And that ripple effect will surely be a powerful thing.

Campers, it’s the quality of the relationships in our lives that matter most. That idea has been proven by both life and science.

Therefore, if you want to lead a life of meaning, fill it full of games that draw you nearer to those you love and the person you want to become. We all play. Choose your game wisely.

Have a great week!