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To Win At Life . . . Stop Playing Games February 26, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Mindfulness.

Wikipedia ~ Australian Rules Football (in Public Domain)

Tired of getting tossed around on the stage of life?

Tired of scoring touchdown after touchdown only to have another goal post appear on the distant horizon?

Tired of getting sacked, tackled, and smacked around by opponents who don’t want you to score?

Tired of listening to the voice in your head that says you’re not good enough as and where you are?




Who says you have to keep moving down the field you’re on?

Wikipedia ~ Australian Football (in Public Domain)

Walk off the field and claim a seat in the bleachers.

From high in the stands, you can see how pointless the game is.

No matter how many points are on the scoreboard.

You see participants being pummeled and pounded into the ground . . . for what?

Bragging rights?

Just who is it that they are trying to impress?

And if they succeed . . . how long will that success echo?

Wikipedia ~ Goal (in Public Domain)

How soon before spectators turn their attention to another player’s efforts?

How soon before the applause diminishes, dissipates, and  disappears?

What are we striving for?

Will the external applause ever be enough to convince us that we are enough as and where we are?

Stop playing games in exchange for applause.

Do what brings you pleasure.  You might just discover that enjoying the journey IS the elusive destination you’ve been seeking all along.


I “borrowed” this quote from Julie’s Gratitude Sunday post because it ties in so well with the theme of “enjoying life” rather than “playing to the applause.”

I am grateful for what I am and have.
My thanksgiving is perpetual . . .  
O how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches.
No run on my bank can drain it
for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Aah . . . that’s better!


1. Piglet in Portugal - February 26, 2012

Tired of scoring touchdown after touchdown only to have another goal post appear on the distant horizon?
Sounds like our elusive pension.

We are all in danger of seeking others approval.

nrhatch - February 26, 2012

We are socialized to care more about what others think of us than we do about what we think of us. We strive for “goals” that will earn us external applause . . . instead of doing what we want to do with our limited time here.

Your pension sounds like you’re shooting at a moving target.

Piglet in Portugal - February 26, 2012

This is true Nancy. We can only be ourselves and if others do not like who I am I think it’s their problem not mine. I have a tendency to be very direct and don’t take any prisoners. Not always popular because I say to peoples faces what others say behind thier backs, but at least people know where they stand. LOL 🙂

nrhatch - February 26, 2012

Go, you! The world would be a better place if more people would be “kindly honest.”

2. suzicate - February 26, 2012

I really enjoy sitting in the bleacher, but I’m jumping into the game a bit more these days!

nrhatch - February 26, 2012

Being a “player” is great . . . as long as we don’t get caught up in the notion of applause.

When we’re enjoying ourselves, the rewards are evident . . . even if NO ONE else is watching. 😀

3. sufilight - February 26, 2012

A post filled with wisdom. I resonate with the essence of the message, which is to enjoy the journey for the sake of enjoyment and not for ego stroking. I do things that may seem insignificant to others, but for me it’s an expression of who I am and it feels balancing.

nrhatch - February 26, 2012

I am the same way, Marie.

If I’m enjoying myself . . . it makes no difference how “insignificant” my actions might appear to others.

Likewise, if I’m NOT enjoying myself . . . no amount of applause will make me believe that I’m spending my time wisely.

Here’s to using our internal compass to find the right balance.

4. Sandra Bell Kirchman - February 26, 2012

Great post, Nancy. You sure do have a lot of wisdom to share. I feel right now that I’ve been benched, but I’m starting to realize I benched myself, because this isn’t the game I want to play. Now to figure out what I DO want to do.

nrhatch - February 26, 2012

The best way to figure out what we DO want is to pay attention to what isn’t working. Good for you for benching yourself because you realized you were playing on the wrong field.

If we are standing over the treasure we seek . . . all we need do is start digging. But if we’re in the wrong place when we start digging, no amount of digging will get us where we want to be. We just end up with tunnels to nowhere.

5. Julie - February 26, 2012

Thanks for the link Nancy. Although I do like football… LOL

nrhatch - February 26, 2012

Sports are a wonderful diversion from our daily lives . . . they provide us with thrills, chills, and spills. 😀

Thanks for the quote! It’s perfect!

6. souldipper - February 27, 2012

It’s all to easy to fall into the trap of wanting approval. It comes in many forms. Or, rather, we think we invent sleek, new ways to go after it.

The more I think of it, Nancy, aging has a lot of good things going for it. If we aren’t in the acceptance mode, it’s because we don’t give a rat’s behind. Either way, we win! 😀

nrhatch - February 27, 2012

Exactly! As we age, we learn that “people pleasing” gets us no where fast . . . it causes us to say “yes” when we desperately want to say “NO!!!” And doing so creates internal conflict . . . because we resent “them” for asking in the first place. 😉

Once we know WHO we are . . . we liberate ourselves from seeking external approval for our efforts. We shed the “false self” and reclaim our self-confident true identity.

Aah . . . that’s better!

7. Pocket Perspectives - February 27, 2012

Nancy, I keep going back to some of the words from “defying gravity”…. “I’m through with playing by the rules of someone else’s game…” …. I keep coming back to those words again and again and again…to recognize that the game I sometimes tend to get caught up in isn’t my own game…and to let it go, move on and live with richness and integrity within my own choices and intentions…

nrhatch - February 27, 2012

Good on you, Kathy! If the “norms” we’ve been taught made sense . . . we would have a far happier world than we do.

The norms don’t make sense. The rule book doesn’t make sense. The game doesn’t make sense.

Once we lift ourselves into the bleachers, we begin to see the pointlessness of continuing to play to achieve external accolades and applause.

We realize that true SUCCESS comes from within. 😀

8. sweetdaysundertheoaks - February 27, 2012

I like this post Nancy and I like the Thoreau quote. Like souldipper I think aging has some incredible gifts for us. Easier for me to say ‘no’ when I really don’t want to do something and I really am less concerned about what someone thinks about me or what I do or do not do. Enjoy your Monday Nancy!

nrhatch - February 27, 2012

Thanks, Pix. Mondays are easier to face these days then they used to be. 🙂

Learning to say “no” (when saying “yes” would cause us to resent being asked in the first place) is a life lesson well worth learning. As Mohammed Ali said, “You don’t have to be who THEY want you to be.”

Living life to gain the approval of others is like ordering dinner and allowing the waiter to eat it. 😀

My life. My rules.

sweetdaysundertheoaks - February 27, 2012

Absolutely. I am learning 🙂

nrhatch - February 27, 2012

Have a cookie! 😀

9. spilledinkguy - February 27, 2012

Thank goodness, Nancy
(I think I pulled a hammy)!

nrhatch - February 27, 2012

I am often amazed that people will trudge and sludge along (pulling hammies as they go) while striving for a prize that they don’t even want.

Just before I stopped practicing law, I asked myself a simple question: If I could be the BEST attorney in the state/country/world IF I worked 40-60 hours for the next 10 years . . . would it be worth it?

Answer: NO!!! Because then I would be “the best” at something I no longer want to be.

That gave me the push I needed to walk off the field and find a better use for my time and talents. Aah . . . that’s better!

10. thirdhandart - February 27, 2012

I couldn’t agree more. Thank you for validating so many people’s thoughts and feelings Nancy.

nrhatch - February 27, 2012

Thanks, Theresa.

Far too many people “postpone happiness” until they get past the next hurdle . . . and the next . . . and the next . . . and the next. It’s a never-ending quest if we are looking for happiness “somewhere over the rainbow.” Far better to learn to BE HERE (and happy) NOW!

11. eof737 - March 1, 2012

How soon before spectators turn their attention to another player’s efforts? How soon before the applause diminishes, dissipates, and disappears?
Tell me about it.. Humans are so fickle that we are best focusing on our pleasures. 😉

nrhatch - March 1, 2012

Often we get what we need from one “player” and realize it’s time to “move on” and turn our attention in another direction . . . not because we’re “fickle” but because we’ve changed and grown.

Society encourages loyalty, allegience, continuity, and a tribe mentality. I believe we travel best when we travel light . . . and allow the path to unfold before us.

12. JannatWrites - March 1, 2012

Couldn’t agree more. The journey is much more fulfilling than the destination, and it’s much more meaningful to be driven by an internal motivation rather than the approval/support of anyone else.

nrhatch - March 1, 2012

I watched HUGO last night and didn’t like one of the underlying messages ~ Georges had enjoyed making movies and had shared tons of joy with viewers over the years . . . but he discounted all the FUN he’d had on the journey once people stopped watching his films. What’s up with that?

I wish the scriptwriters had talked to me before finalizing the script. I am not consulted nearly as often as would be ideal. 😉

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