Sunday

Goals vs. Games


People have a lot of goals. I had them too. I gave them up this year, though. I gave them up because goals are dreary exercises in dauntless marching, dragging oneself through the swampy waters of duty. Blecch. And, we all know that if you don't meet one, it can become a real albatross. I'll bet your still kicking yourself over one or two of the awful unmet, aren't you? The word even has baggage attached to it. It's something you say on a job interview. "Why, yes Mr. Jones, I would say that I am very goal oriented." Again, blecch.

I much prefer the idea of games. Hardly ever does someone ask you to play a game and you think: "Oh my goodness, how dreary." No, games are fun. Games can be invented and reinvented. Games can be played over and over again. They teach strategy and sportsmanship and good manners and sharing. Games are awesome! Especially since most of us don't mind losing games every once in a while as long as we learn something from it. And, we don't go around kicking ourselves for weeks afterward either (with the exception of a 1987 Scrabble match that still haunts me).

This blog is a game for me. Doing dishes is a game. Walking dogs, paying bills, making art...all games. I win some, I lose some, but I keep playing. That's the true beauty. You just shuffle the deck, re-deal, and start over.

21 comments:

  1. I have to say I am more goal oriented but I try to have fun in everything I do.

    I tend to wander a bit so I work with to-do lists. I like the feeling of getting things done when I check something off the list.

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  2. Tim - I have lists too. I'm jut talking about a perspective shift in the way I relate to them. Since I've chosen to "play" instead of "slog" through my to-do list, my life is considerably more fun.

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  3. Oh, yeah. I watch kids come alive in my classroom when we're playing games--because all of us are in it, learning together. Playing and having fun seems like a reward: .the level of focus involved in mastering new skills/learning new content is transformed from hard work into play.
    Also, Paul: "awful unmet"--what an evocative phrase! That's going to become a catchword in my vocabulary, I can already tell.
    Thanks for yet another thought-evoking post.

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  4. K - Thanks for that. Salient point about the kid thing. Why do we give up on that as adults? Is it because the word "game" carries with it a sense of trivial or "light" entertainment? I think it's quite the opposite.

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  5. Paul, one of my first on-line finds in 1998 was "10 Hawaiian Rules for Life." Your blog made me smile. It reminded me of Rule #5.

    http://www.somemore.com/hawaiianrules.html

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  6. Kat - Thanks for that! Personally, I like rule #4. Speak softly and wear a loud shirt.

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  7. Well played, Sir. Thanks for the positivity!

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  8. Thank you so much for this post. I often feel I am not accomplishing my goals...maybe a shift in perspective would work for me.

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  9. And every task you undertake
    becomes a piece of cake,
    a lark, a spree, it's very clear to see...
    (insert bluebird here)

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  10. THIS is the attitude I try to use as I approach anything. This article shows you how to turn any mundane task into a DEATH-DEFYING ADVENTURE!

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Turning-a-Cruise-Full-of-Old-People-into-a-Death-D/

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  11. smileybead - Thanks and good luck!

    nom-nomnom - Is that from a book?

    Tim - Great article! Thanks for that.

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  12. Thanks for this post, Paul. I've been subscibed to your blog since my wife showed me some of your cool art links and the "No, No, I Never Go to Work" song. I've started incorporating this sentiment into my life with some wins and lots of losses to date. I think I'll keep playing.

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  13. Jonathan - Nice! Thanks for the comment. Keep me updated as to how it's going.

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  14. I agree, goals do sound dreay and it can be disheartening when you don't achieve them. Games on the other hand sound like fun. I'll have to try to implement that.

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  15. The Nerd Girl - Let me know how it goes. Thanks for the comment!

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  16. I have to echo Roberto here: how exactly are you turning doing the dishes into a game? I'm having a hard time thinking of a way to make it winnable or losable without a goal in there, like "wash ten things before the tea water boils."

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  17. BizMiss-It's more in changing how I feel about something. If I can shift my way of thinking away from task, chore, goal and toward game, it tranforms how I experience things. So, sure, games have goals, but it feels different when you play your way to reaching them.

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  18. I really needed something to help me look at the world differently today. So timely. Thanks.

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  19. bex - You're welcome. Glad it helped. Thanks for the comment!

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