Concept: Know the rules of the game before you play
Hello, and welcome to earth. In a particular part of the universe, in a particular galaxy revolving around a particular star, you will find a blue and green planet, known by some of its inhabitants as Earth. It’s a very nice planet, with stupendous mountains, beautiful fields and indoor plumbing. As members of this particular population we were given human bodies. Sorry to say, we did not have much choice in the matter. We did not choose where or when we were born, which gender, how tall, how short, how fat, how skinny, the shade of our skin or even to whom we were born. Our total time here is limited to an unknown amount of time. We will be given 100+ years to explore Earth if we are extremely lucky, or maybe even less than a day if we are unlucky.
It is best to make the most of the time we have. In order to do that, it’s helpful to know a few things first. In fact, it can be great fun to learn something new each day; and doing so should become a life-long habit. There are a few simple concepts that will greatly increase your
prospects for success and happiness on this big, round, blue ball.
We’re playing this huge game, the game of life, and it’s terrifically fun. You have, by now, gotten used to the obvious things like gravity, hunger, the seasons and pushy people. These are just facts of the universe. It’s really hard to do anything about them. You can occasionally conquer some of them, like gravity, by jumping in a space ship from time to time. In the end, though, you always end up landing and being subjected to the earth’s mighty pull, not to mention pushy people. So, take a moment if you need to, and fully acknowledge the fact that in this moment, in this place, you are here. (If we truly want to get to some great and wonderful destination, the first step is to know exactly where we are now.)
At around 11 or 12 years of age, you start to notice certain immutable laws of the universe, like the concept that it’s foolish to try the same thing over and over and expect different results (Einstein). We even have systems (e.g. school) set up to get you ready for this great, big game. We go to school for countless years and are taught crazy facts like plate tectonics, so that just in case you should ever encounter a volcano, you will have at least a vague idea of why it exists. This is useful when finding a place to settle, or when deciding whether or not to appease its anger by sacrificing virgins to it; but it hardly affects you on a daily basis. We seem to be taught a random assortment of ideas and methods, and we can’t help but wish there was a little more practicality to it. Were you ever taught how to motivate a large group to get them to do what you want, or how to get people to work for you rather than against you, or even how to pick up a really hot chick? These would have been incredibly useful things to learn. Instead, we know about volcanoes.
Whenever you sit down to play a game or live life, you really want to know what is going on first. There are certain things you absolutely need to know if you’re going to win, regardless of whether your very life is on the line, or you’re just trying to kill some time before Mom gets home. As it turns out, there are four different levels of knowing how to play any game. Not coincidently, there are four different sections to this book.
Know the rules of the game (Understanding the world we’re stuck in)
The first step is to know the rules of the game. All games have rules, even war. If you shoot a bullet through someone’s heart, they die. If one side figured out a way to overcome this rule, they would win. There are always certain restrictions that keep the players from doing something unexpected that the game simply could not accommodate for. Monopoly has the rule of four green houses equals one red hotel. These are the rules and they exist for a reason, just like the rules in life.
Know the resources you have (Your brain, the universe and you)
In every game, you have something to work with. You have control of something. Sometimes it’s a shoe or a top hat, sometimes it’s a gun. This is your greatest resource, the object which you have the most power over from beginning to end. In life, this is you. You have the ground you are playing on, the obstacles in your way, and every now and then you get some sort of chance card, in which you have the opportunity to radically change your destiny. The point is, you do have control. You are in charge of your own destiny. You are your own master.
Know the other players (Working with other people’s behavior patterns)
Across the table or across the battlefield, you will find other people…people with basically the same hopes, dreams and ambitions as you. The trick is to know where they are coming from, what they are likely to do, and how to get them on your side. Every person is different, a complex combination of DNA, emotions and principles. If you have taken it upon yourself to truly understand what motivates your fellow man, then the world and all that’s in it is yours, and victory is just one step away.
Know the strategies available to you (Achieving success)
Too often, people simply jump to this stage, thinking they do not need to understand the rules of the game, the opportunistic resources available, the person across from them or what they might do. Strategy is your greatest gift. A God or universe that endowed you with intellect so vast would not ask you to forgo its use.