Vertical Development

Life Is A Game We Can’t Help But Play

The One Thing Everybody Wants and How To Win The Game We Play To Get It

Science shows that people’s well-being consistently depends upon the degree to which they felt respected by others. That’s status, and it’s more important to people’s happiness than family or money.

Life is a game. There’s no way to understand the human world without first understanding this. Everyone alive is playing a game whose hidden rules are built into us and that silently directs our thoughts, beliefs and actions. This game is inside us. It is us. We can’t help but play.

We play for status, if only subtly, with every social interaction, every contribution we make to work, love or family life and every internet post. We play with how we dress, how we speak and what we believe. Life is not a journey towards a perfect destination. It’s a game that never ends. And it’s the very worst of us.

This fits quite closely in with my last post about finding deeper meaning in life beyond our base needs, with “status” (aka recognition, self-esteem) being our highest base need that we value (as shown in Level 3 of the chart below) but with which it can have limiting values associated with it (i.e. arrogance, pride, superiority) that can bring out the “worst of us” as well.

Levels of Consciousness, Barrett Academy for the Advancement of Human Values

But we need to realize that what’s gotten us here, may not get us to where we want to be in the future. That’s because each “level” of the game is like a whole new game in a whole new reality, kind of like a psychological multiverse.

So gaining “status” will only get you so far. You’ve got to go much further if you really want to understand the deeper game and the deeper treasure at the core of it.

It’s not about “winning” or “losing.” It’s about going beyond zero-sum games and seeing the bigger picture, the bigger arc to life, within the infinite game.

By Nollind Whachell

Questing to translate Joseph Campbell's Hero’s Journey into The Player’s Handbook for The Adventure of Your Life, thus making vertical (leadership) development an accessible, epic framework for everyone.

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