room on the edge

inspiration (+ a push)

5 Games to Play When The Going Gets Tough

“Ha ha ha ha, ha ha ha ha! Do you like my evil laugh?” (from me to Hugh MacLeod on Facebook)

I’ve been playing games all this week. Well, no, when I haven’t been coping with our poorest cash flow week this year, and working until 2 or 3am every night, I’ve been playing games. It’s funny how life manifests in extremes sometimes.


Game No. 1: The Prosperity Game
I started playing precisely 13 days ago and I really like this one – on the first day, the lovely people there (Elyse Hope Killoran) gave me a virtual cheque to spend for $100. The next day they gave me $200 and so on. All I had to do is write down how exactly I was going to spend it, then track my level of desire and my level of resistance.

This morning my cheque was for $12,500, which I chose to spend completely clearing 2 long-standing (dream home building) debts. How did I feel when I blew the whole cheque on clearing? Lighter, freer and somehow larger. You get the idea?

Since your subconscious mind can’t distinguish between ‘real’ events and ‘virtual’ or imagined ones, you send daily messages to it through playing The Prosperity Game that your life is becoming more abundant. That by-passes the Fear and the scarcity mentality and moves you into a much more productive and empowering mindset.

How this will even out though, against the current backdrop of 10 €uro ‘fill-ups’ at the gas station and single basket shopping for 4 at the supermarket, remains to be seen… watch this space!

Game No. 2: Days Left
In a fascinating chat to Michael Bungay Stanier about doing Great Work instead of doing just good work, (click here to listen) Michael told me about a tool that helps him really get focused on what’s important. That is, guestimating the date of your own (impending) Death and counting down from there.

You do this by looking at average life expectancy tables (life insurance predictions) and then entering the date into a little app you can download; this one’s for mac.

When Michael first mentioned it, at first I thought, Is that not just a bit morbid? but then I tried it and I actually found it comforting in several ways. In case you’re wondering, my date is 14,181 days away – Saturday 13 June 2048.

We’re all going to die sometime, and the date will almost certainly be a different one than predicted, but thinking about it rather than avoiding thinking about it seems a good thing. Like Michael says, it definitely makes you question what you’re doing with your time. Good stuff or Great stuff? A reminder to spend every day that you have left wisely.

And you don’t know how long you’ve got, even if you think you do. A wonderful friend died last week after a year long fearful fight with a rare illness. I want to remember him full of life, laughing, telling outrageous stories, breaking the rules – being himself. Playing the Days Left game helps me remember to spend more of my time being myself and less doing what’s wanted or expected of me.

Game No. 3: Giant Snakes and Ladders
I wrote about this game before in a different context, but it’s still providing insights into life, the universe and everything. This particular game version (from Tesco- thanks Adam & Netty!) has a fun inflatable dice (or die if you want to be grammatically perfect) and slippery blow-up snakes as well!

However, when you’re playing with a 4 year old who really just has to win, the snakes tend to slide off their spaces, as your opponent barges across the mat to move his player, so the game morphs and changes before your eyes (a bit like the chess set in Harry Potter without the special effects!).

The rules change too, courtesy of the 4 year old sense of what’s possible, so you can’t win. The only way you can enjoy playing is to accept that you can’t win and just have fun in whatever way you choose to play. It’s an exercise in applied Zen thinking in my opinion.

Game No. 4: Evil Laugh
I read a lot. A huge lot – blogs and articles and reference books and newsletters. Since I’m a life coach, a huge percentage of this material fits under the Positive Thinking umbrella, even the stuff about the economy – ‘you can overcome anything’, ‘my own economy is booming’, ‘there’s never been a better time…’ and so on. So, how refreshing to know that Hugh MacLeod for one, possible single-handedly, has hatched an evil plan or three over at his blog at Gaping Void.

Inspired by his dastardly acts, I’ve been practicing my Evil Laugh all week – it really helps me see the smaller picture – I have fun perfecting my evil laugh, while the usual day-to-day problems, or ‘challenges’ in Positive Thinklish, rage around me, not un-noticed, just not so dramatic any more in comparison to my Evil Laugh!! Try it, it might work for you too…

Game No. 5: The Mad Inventor
So what game do you play when the going gets tough?

If you don’t have one yet, follow these steps to invent your own:

Step 1 Ask yourself: What disappears when the going gets tough? your sense of humor? love? joy? generosity? your social life?
Step 2 When the going’s great, what 3 situations trigger your humor or love or whatever most?
Step 3 Take a single element of each of those situations and write them on separate pieces of paper.
Step 4 Lay the pieces out on the floor, then invent some game rules using any or all of the three elements in whatever order occurs to you. (If you can’t think of any rules, get some random ones from any games you have in your home or surf the internet for alternatives.)
Step 5 Once you’ve got your game clear in your mind, have a little practice run while the going’s fair to middling, and tweak the rules if necessary to get your desired results. (ie. More of whatever disappears when the going gets tough).
Step 6 Know with confidence that if the going gets tough, you have an ace up your sleeve… (sorry)

So, I hope these musings might help at least one other person laugh in the face of adversity.

Please post your game suggestions, inventions and comments below… 🙂


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