Learning to play my game

Learning to play my game
Photo by Ivan Rudoy / Unsplash

Hi there and welcome back.

I hope you are enjoying these blogs as much as I enjoy writing them. Actually I hope more, because sometimes they are hard to write. This one is looking like that will be the case because I have no idea what to say, I just know what the topic should be. So in honour of the blog, let's struggle through this.... (me, not you - this will be a joy for you to read causing you to involuntarily do such actions such as subscribing with your email and sharing the post with a friend).

Let's start with last week. I say last week to build the illusion that I post at least weekly when the counter says it's been 9 days since my last post. I wrote an episode on my friend Nat who challenged my thinking of what growth was and I wrote this line:

'I always thought different people operated on different levels, but the more I think about it - I don't think they are different levels, but are different games' - Dan Lee-Archer (9 days ago).

This came up in a conversation with another friend today. No, he did not quote my blog, but when he told me his situation, it left me with the responsibility of quoting my own blog. So the question was asked 'what are the rules of your game?'

In my family, we love board games and it's my role to read and understand the rules first and then explain them to the family. I always start with one thing - how do you win? So when I am explaining "Ticket to Ride", I start by saying 'the aim of the game is to finish with the most amount of points'. Sometimes this sounds like a wasted sentence because it is obvious but it's not. In plenty of games that is not the goal at all. In Battleships, there are no points, just who can sink the other player's fleet; in Catan, it doesn't matter who has the most resources it's the first to 10 victory points; and in Exploding Kittens to win you have to not explode. If we don't know the answer to the question 'How do you win' then nothing else makes sense. You can explain features, special features, strategy, and winning combos but all of it is for nothing if no-one knows exactly what the purpose of the game is.

So these are my questions, first for me, but then for you. What is the goal of your game and how do you win?

This is where I am almost jealous of those who are motivated by money. That sounds so easy. The goal is to make as much money as possible and it's very easy to see progress and celebrate along the way. If that is you, well done. You don't have to feel bad that you are not motivated by other things, this is who you are, this is the game you have been chosen to play so play it to the best of your ability.

But what if that is not your goal? Sure more money is always nice but it doesn't always bring the same level of excitement. I remember being over the moon about working at my job for 13 hours on a public holiday because I got double pay (at my close to minimum wage job). I could not believe I got that shift and the whole day flew by. But that excitement fades and instead of asking how much am I making, I am asking myself the question 'what impact am I making?'. This makes things a little bit harder to answer.

Now this question is not just for your 'life's higher purpose' but there are many areas where we need to understand the game.

One area where I know I need to answer the question 'how do I win?' is with my youtube channel. I am almost 5 years into consistently uploading videos to youtube. I currently have uploaded 1168 videos. I thought at minimum there would be 20,000 subscribers by now (but I had hoped for a lot more). I put in countless hours of work and tried a lot of things to help it get off the ground including posting daily videos for over two years which I only stopped two months ago. So what are my stats? I have 2,265 subscribers and an average of 25 views per video.

Now those numbers may be impressive to you or you may be embarrassed for me. How do I feel? Well, I don't know, because I don't know what a win is. Sure one million subscribers would be nice but is that what I want? I have no clue. But I do know this, not knowing sucks.

So I am going on this journey to look at areas in my life and try to understand my games and define how to win. If this has encouraged you to do the same then this blog is fulfilling its purpose.