How often have you heard, “Life is short”?
Here’s the thing. If we don’t meet an untimely death, if we are fortunate enough to be given a life past our 80’s, then life is actually pretty long. Playing the long game is smart, but it is also the only game we should be playing. Every game has its own unique rules. These are rules that allow players to engage with others and get the most out of the game. Rules create a framework around the game, so players can achieve mastery and enjoyment.
Life too, is a game, and it’s meant to be a long one. And like any other game, a good life has rules that support our ability to play well – to play like a pro. Sadly, life is not taught in school alongside math, history, and science. We are expected to pick up lessons and understand the rules, either by accepting our parents’ version of them, or learning through our own hard earned experience. Both are valid and will allow us to play the game of life to some degree. But there is a third door, and it’s Deliberate Life Education. Some of us are fortunate to receive a level of this education at a young age if we have a wise adult, teacher, or coach in our lives. To understand the rules and best practices of living a fulfilling life, we need to learn from a person who has no personal agenda, and is ONLY interested in our self growth and mastery.
Ironically, those closest to us, especially our parents (myself included) cannot be that person to our children. Later in life, our best friend, partner, and colleague are also somewhat unable to help us, because what all these wise and loving folks have in common, is an agenda. As humans, we have our own thoughts, desires, and advice for those closest to us. However positive and loving our desires may be, it colors our judgement and ability to engage in the kind of conversations that allow each of us to access our own higher wisdom.
So we move into adulthood with a mishmash of others’ life values and principles, and then wonder why we so often feel as though we are living someone else’s life. We work hard and achieve one external goal after another, and still feel like something is missing.
I, of course, have been there, and experienced this sense of being outside of my own life well into my 40’s. Let’s just say it was enough years to feel a measure of shame about having missed the memo. “Where was I when everyone else was informed about the laws and principles of living a happy life?”, I would wonder. I later found out that most of the other “successful” men and women around me were struggling with the same thoughts and emotions of shame, doubt, and confusion.
For me, the start of a new and transformational realization was on the dirt trails of the Santa Monica Mountains, where I first found refuge in walks that allowed my mind to slow down, my body to relax, and begin to hear a still, small voice I had rarely heard before. Through the years, those trail walks have turned into a passion for Ultra-running, a sport that involves running and hiking long distances, and foot races of over 50 kilometers in the mountains. Ultra-running is the teacher that has gifted me with the most valuable life rules and principles for playing the game of life like a pro. My hope and purpose is to give my readers 10% more clarity, skills, and abilities to navigate life with more confidence. These are the rules that were given to me on the long training runs, and the even longer races that make up the world of Ultra-running. I know that if you apply even a third of them to your everyday life, you will slowly but surely move from the passenger to the driver seat of your life.