Life is a game and you make the rules. Here’s a philosophy to become a winner at love, success, happiness – and your cheat sheet!
Recently I played a few app games with my 3 year old son (Ari Salmansohn).
Or at least we tried to play.
There were no instructions.
Not knowing any of these answers made my son and I feel stressed and unhappy.
We did not enjoy playing this app game. At. All.
I’m a philosophical gal. I even named my son Ari as a “wink” to Aristotle the philosopher – who I have a platonic crush on.
So I wound up thinking about my “app unhappiness” in a philosophical way.
In particular, in an Aristotlean way.
I remembered how Aristotle was a big believer that you must begin all projects with the “final ends” in mind.
This applies to everything from writing a book, to making dinner. Or even when it comes to approaching that gigantic project called Your Life.
Aristotle said: “Shall we not, like archers who have a mark to aim at, be more likely to hit upon what is right?”
When it comes to knowing your mission for life, Aristotle believed your final ends for life are the same as my final ends.
In fact, everyone on this planet shares the same final ends for life.
Plus, Aristotle believed becoming your best self was not only your mission for life – but also what leads to true happiness.
Now, a lot of you right now might be wondering what the heck all of this has to do with that app game. It’s simple.
My son and I didn’t enjoy playing that app game because Aristotle was right.
You must know exactly what you want to achieve – your final ends – before you begin any project. This applies to everything – from playing app games to playing at that gigantic Game of Life.
I thought about how unhappy my son and I were when we did not know the final ends for that app game.
Next, I thought about what it takes to create happiness in life.
A realization emerged….
Once you fully and clearly understand your mission for Your Life, then life becomes less stressful.
Plus once you fully and clearly understand your mission for Your Life, it becomes far easier to score those glorious life happiness points. And that’s how you become a winner at life!
Aristotle had some particular suggestions for scoring life happiness points.
Aristotle recommended aiming yourself at “Best Self” habits – including things like:
Plus Aristotle suggested you avoid doing “Lowest Self” habits – because they’ll simply get you whacked, kicked and fire-bombed.
“Lowest Self” habits are pretty much all the opposites of the items shared on the “Best Self” habits list.
Plus, “Lowest Self” habits also tend to be anything impulse-directed, ego-directed, and/or body-directed – like cheating, lying, stealing, pigging out, sleeping around.
Basically Aristotle suggested you aim yourself at doing soul-directed habits.
I thought about how I wished somebody had clearly told me when I was a kid this final ends mission for life. I could have avoided a lot of painful whacking, kicking and fire-bombing.
Ohhh, how I wish someone had sat me down and stated in a very matter of fact way…
“Yo Karen! There’s a reason why you are here on this planet! Your mission here is to become your best possible self!
You can accomplish your mission by aiming yourself at as many people and/or habits which will stretch you and bloom into a better you. As a result, you’d avoid aiming yourself at people and/or habits which will shrink you or hurt you – or shrink or hurt others – or the world at large.”
Unfortunately, nobody ever sits us down to so succinctly explain that this is our life’s mission.
As a result many of us wind up with highly incorrect “life missions” playing in an ongoing loop in our heads.
These are all ego-directed missions and body-directed missions – instead of missions which the soul can be proud about.
According to Aristotle all of these missions which are purely ego-directed and/or body-directed lead to “pleasure” – a form of “fake happiness.”
According to Aristotle, if you want to be a winner at life you have to do stuff which helps you become your best you – and this happens when you aim yourself at habits your soul can be proud about.
I believe it’s wildly helpful to have a mindful awareness that becoming your “best self” is what leads to winning at the game of life.
I believe this so much, I’m now raising my 3 year old son with this “life mission” awareness.
Specifically, I have told him:
“Ari, there’s a reason why you are here on this planet. You are here to become your best self – which also includes helping others to be their best selves and helping this world to be a better place.”
My hope is to empower my son to develop a wise inner voice – which will guide him to avoid aiming himself at people and habits which whack, kick and firebomb him!
I explain to my son…
Now whenever I catch my son making a less than wise choice, I relate it back to his “life mission.”
I don’t say, “No, don’t do that.” Or, “No don’t eat that.” Or, “No, don’t talk to someone that way.”
Instead I remind him of his mission – to become his best self.”
Next I point out how doing a misbehavior will block him from becoming his best self – and thereby block him from winning at the game of life.
I’ve witnessed a true improvement in his behavior.
My son now on his own loves to brush his teeth, eat healthy, read books, be kind and generous.
And he even told me that his favorite Power Ranger is the red one – because his power is “studying.”
Plus my son explained, “When you study you become your best most powerful you – and you can do anything.”
And I’d love to remind parents and educators how important it is to not simply blurt a “no” or a “stop” when you catch a child doing something unwise.
Instead we must teach kids to understand the “why not” behind a “no” or a “stop.”
We must raise kids to become good choice makers on their own – even when parents and teachers are not around.
I believe an effective way to do this is to take the time to talk with kids about their mission for life – and the importance of doing habits which help you become your best you!
And speaking of YOU….
I also believe that whoever YOU are – however old YOU might be – it’s helpful to think of life as a game.
And if you want to rise up to higher – and higher levels – you’ve got to…
I’d love to hear your insights on the comment section below! What’s something which comes to your mind and heart when you read the message on this essay? Share your personal story or a personal happiness tool!