I remember being home sick one day in high school and flipping through the channels when I came across a movie called WarGames. It is a movie about how a young hacker accidentally tricks the US missile defense system to think we are on the brink of World War III with the Soviet Union.
When the computer is unable to tell the difference between a real missile launch and a test run in the program they find themselves on the brink of nuclear war. The details about the movie aren’t as important as what I took away from the movie.
As the computer system thinks that Soviet missiles are about to start reigning down on the US it starts to run every possible scenario as to how to win the war. When to launch, how they will respond, where to strike, and how they will retaliate. Every outcome and millions of possibilities are analyzed and tested. With the clock winding down and missiles about to launch the computer program finally realizes that there is only one way to win the war.
The only way to win is to not play the game. Wow…
This is so counter to so much we are taught in life. We are told to work, struggle, fight, hustle and do everything we can to make it work, be happy, be successful. We are told that someone else is always trying just as hard to have the things that we want, so we better get them before they do. We are taught that life is a battle. That others are just behind the corner looking to take our dream life from us. That if we don’t strike and take action someone else will and we will be the loser. So, we get in the race. We chase. We hustle. We think of all the things we need to do. We go through and analyze every possible action and decision that will hopefully get us to winning the war. Finally getting to the finish line. Having all the stuff, an account overflowing with money, and all the titles and accolades that come with it.
Yet, we know that even the people with all those things haven’t won the war. So many of them still feel the constant fighting of the battle that never stops. They achieved a certain level of success, but now it is time to get the next level. You were the top lawyer, but now you need to be partner. You were the top salesperson in your state, but now you need to be the top salesperson in the region. The battle for who we are supposed to be and what we are supposed to accomplish is never ending. Most importantly though, there is no winner. When you sacrifice everything you have, the person you are, what you care about, and what matters to “win” at life there is no victor.
No matter how many scenarios you play out, no matter how many different ways you slice it, you always lose. We have to realize that the only way to truly win is to not get caught playing the game. Not allowing ourselves to get lost in the rat race.
Choosing to not let fear of what others might have, or what others might do, or what others may think of us drive the decisions we make.
In life, the only way to win is to not play the game.
Choose your path. Chase your goals. Determine what you want to do with your days. When you live the exact life you want there is no competitor. Only you living the most amazing life possible. Chase that.