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Life as a Game
Five rules for coming out ahead

By C.K. Hersh

Originally published in Skin Deep, July/August 2009. Copyright 2009. Associated Skin Care Professionals. All right reserved.

We frequently refer to life as a game. As with any game, rules prevail. Yet in life, we're not given a rule book. Each of us plays with our own unwritten game book, made up of our own rules, as well as those that have been imparted to us by our parents, friends, and peers. But the rules are not standardized; not everyone plays the same way and conflicts occur. The key is to be intentional and develop a clear game plan for our own lives. No other person can get you to awaken to the present moment in your life but you. I was motivated by my experience as a physician in relating to patients, my personal ordeal dealing with a potentially deadly health problem, and the unexpected loss of both parents in a short time frame. Following are five rules for winning the game.

Know Yourself. Just as athletes train their bodies to participate in a sport, you also can develop emotional skills and get to know your qualities, weaknesses, and inner strengths for winning life's game. When we know ourselves, we know how we'll react in any given situation.

Create a Vision for Your Life. Principles and values such as honesty, integrity, service, and spirituality, make up the core of this new vision. It should also encompass time spent with your family, personal time for hobbies, exercise, work, and so forth, and include whatever other goals you want to achieve.

Ask for What You Want. If you don't ask for what you want and seek it out, you'll never know what you might have. Ask. Consciously seek what you want in life and be prepared for when it presents itself.

Celebrate Your Victories. You don't have to be an athlete or a movie star to celebrate your victories. The act of commemorating your personal triumphs increases the richness of your life journey. Stop and take a moment to relish the achievement. Record it in a journal and set aside time to read it, savor it, and enjoy the magic in your life.

Share Yourself with Others. As you learn more about yourself and feel more confident in who you are, you increase your ability to share of yourself. Expanding in this area allows other people to expand as well and to feel free to express who they are, to share their emotions, their ups and downs, and their experiences in the game of life. That makes us all richer.

In the game of life, every person has to decide to commit to how to live. Each of us is empowered to be the observer, the coach, or the player. We can write our own rule book for success. That doesn't mean casting aside society's values; it means accepting the ones that reflect how we experience life. It is realizing we're in control, that we have the ability to decide what to experience, to ask for what we desire, and to be surprised at what we can attain.

C.K. Hersh, MD, is author of Conquering the Game of Life: A Guide to Competing and Winning. Contact him at www.conqueringthegameoflife.com.




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