Many of us are experiencing a yearning to awaken to our unique gifts and offer them in service to the world. We’re longing to finally feel fully alive from doing work that is both meaningful and financially sustainable.
Especially for people like myself, an elder, there’s a certain urgency in the face of death of going out with a bang having experienced a well-lived life. However, this urgency isn’t limited to older people like myself.
More and more people of all ages are coming to realize that there’s more to life than what our culture has given us. They’re awakening to the possibility that if humanity doesn’t change its direction, we’re in big trouble. We don’t want to leave this legacy for future generations!
We live in a world, a paradigm of survival, characterized by scarcity, control, fear of loss, “looking good,” withholding, minimizing risk, domination, and being right. These are at a cost to our aliveness, in terns of our self expression, vitality, connection with others and happiness. Life occurs to us as serious and significant.
It doesn’t need to be this way. Consider a new paradigm.
Check out this video from a TEDx presentation in which Steve Keil fights the “serious meme” that has infected his home of Bulgaria — and calls for a return to play to revitalize the economy, education and society. While he’s speaking about Bulgaria, the “serious meme” is a part of our culture.
People are driven to finding more meaning and purpose in life. We’re looking to discover, to find out who we truly are. If we could just find out the right path for ourselves, we’ll be fulfilled knowing that we’re connected to something that really resonates with us.
Here’s the thing. At some point, sooner than later, your life will end. Maybe you’re a “smart rat” like myself, who’s been around the corner a few times- very well educated, well read, participated in many personal development programs and engage in consistent spiritual practice, yet left with a sense that I haven’t found my calling- something unique I have to offer and I’m not clear what that is. And I’m in my 60s!
“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” – Henry David Thoreau
Take on a game worth playing
Our work, our lives don’t have to be heavy and significant. We’ve forgotten what it’s like to play, to relate to life as a game in which there are players, opponents, winners and losers, rules, goals, a scoreboard, penalties, a field, a beginning and end. A key aspect of a game is to play it fully while having FUN– knowing that there’s nothing inherently significant about the game.
Anything that we’re engaged in can be “gamified”– turned into a game, a fun, exciting endeavour that makes a difference, that contributes to others. We don’t need to find ourselves in order to discover who we are. We discover who we are in playing the game.
Play is characterized by joyful experimentation with life, fascination with anything in the environment, unlimited reign of the imagination, trying out various behaviours, freedom to be silly, fantastic and wrong!
What are you engaged with at this time that’s important to you in which you find yourself being very intense, serious and attached to the outcome?
How can you REFRAME it, as Tom Peters says and turn it into a WOW project- “taking a task- any damn task- and turning it into something that makes a difference?”
“Seek, above all, for a game worth playing. Such is the advice of the oracle to modern man. Having found the game, play it with intensity- play as if your life and sanity depended on it. (They do depend on it.) Follow the example of the French existentialists and flourish a banner bearing the word “engagement.” Though nothing means anything and all roads are marked “no exit,” yet move as if your movements had some purpose If life does not seem to offer a game worth playing, then invent one. For it must be clear, even to the most clouded intelligence, that any game is better than no game.” ~ Robert S. DeRopp