By Jay Forte
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
Someone once told you that life was supposed to be hard, difficult and challenging. They told me the same thing. So for the longest time we believed that work and life were to be difficult if they were to matter.
I don’t believe that any more. Life is not meant to be won or lost, only played. And “played” is the operative word. We are here to play in life. We are here to enjoy, experience, learn from, improve and be thrilled by the amazing things on our planet.
So imagine this: we are each given an undisclosed amount of time with the only instruction to go discover what you love and are good at, then use it to make your life, and that of others, amazing. The guidance isn’t to go find what is difficult for you and the things that make you unhappy and go do those. Rather, find what moves you and plays to your intrinsic and unique abilities – your talent, strengths and passions. This is so that as you move through life, you love it.
There are over 7 billion people on the planet. No two of us are exactly alike in abilities, talents, passions and interests. There is room for each of us to define a great and happy life according to what moves, inspires and excites us. There is room for each of us to play in life.
Most of us struggle in life because we don’t know ourselves well. We don’t know what we are good at, passionate about and what matters to us. When we don’t this, we don’t know how to build our lives and work in a way that allows our best to come through. We follow where others tell us to go. We work in jobs that don’t fit us. We believe things we are told to believe, and follow others rules instead of following our hearts. Everything then feels like work. Life isn’t fun when we live someone else’s life. Their definition of a great and happy life will never be exactly ours. And until we live ours, we will always feel that things are more work than they should be. Until we live our definition of life, we will never play as much as we could to fully experience and love life.
Suppose for a minute that instead of telling yourself that life is hard, difficult and a challenge, you heard that life is wonderful, joyful and fun. What if the story we tell ourselves is one that is uplifting, powerful and amazing? What would change? What opportunities would present themselves that can’t surface with such catabolic thinking and energy? Our thoughts create our emotions, which drive our actions. Change our thinking and we change our lives. Change from “life is difficult” to “life is meant to be played” and see what life becomes for you.
We choose everything in life – everything. So if we choose to love life, appreciate what shows up, learn from everything and stay focused on the joy of life, we intentionally and consciously build a happier life. We can shift our energy to one that is optimistic, encouraging and empowering. We have that power. We just need to believe that it is possible and choose it. There isn’t anything else involved.
For this week, start each day with an intention to have more fun and play more in life. This doesn’t mean you aren’t serious about your work and your life decisions, but these decisions can also bring you great joy. Change your thoughts, change your life. Tell yourself how you want your life to be. We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop play. Play on.