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Life Is The Game And This Is Your Strategy Guide

Life Is The Game And This Is Your Strategy Guide

Life is the ultimate game, and since there’s no re-spawning in real life it’s important we play as best as we can. Oliver Emberton has divided a strategy guide we can all use to complete the game, ready? Go!

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    Real life is the game that – literally – everyone is playing. But it can be tough. This is your guide.

    Basics

    You might not realise, but real life is a game of strategy. There are some fun mini-games – like dancing, driving, running, and sex – but the key to winning is simply managing your resources.

    Most importantly, successful players put their time into the right things. Later in the game money comes into play, but your top priority should always be mastering where your time goes.

    Childhood

    Life begins when you’re assigned a random character and circumstances:

    Select-your-character

       

      The first 15 years or so of life are just tutorial missions, which suck. There’s no way to skip these.

      Young adult stage

      As a young player, you’ll have lots of time and energy, but almost no experience. You’ll find most things – like the best jobs, possessions and partners – are locked until you get some.

      This is the time to level up your skills quickly. You will never have so much time and energy again.

      Now that you’re playing properly, your top priority is to assign your time as well as possible. Every single thing you do affects your state and your skills:

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        This may sound simple, but the problem is you won’t always know what tasks to choose, and your body won’t always obey your commands. Let’s break it down.

        How to obey your own commands

        Many players find that when they choose to do something – say “go to the gym” – their body ignores them completely.

        This is not a bug. Everybody has a state, which you can’t see directly, but looks something like this:

        State

           

          If your state gets too low in one area, your body will disobey your own instructions until your needs are met. Try studying when you’re exhausted and hungry, and watch your concentration switch to Twitter.

          Your willpower level is especially important. Willpower fades throughout the day, and is replenished slightly by eating, and completely by a good night’s sleep. When your willpower is low, you are only able to do things you really want to.

          Every decision you have to make costs willpower, and decisions where you have to suppress an appealing option for a less appealing one (e.g. exercise instead of watch TV) require a lot of willpower.

          There are various tricks to keep your behaviour in line:

          1. Keep your state high. If you’re hungry, exhausted, or utterly deprived of fun, your willpower will collapse. Ensure you take consistently good care of yourself.
          2. Don’t demand too much willpower from one day. Spread your most demanding tasks over multiple days, and mix them in with less demanding ones.
          3. Attempt the most important tasks first. This makes other tasks more difficult, but makes your top task more likely.
          4. Reduce the need to use willpower by reducing choices. If you’re trying to work on a computer that can access Facebook, you’ll need more willpower because you’re constantly choosing the hard task over the easy one. Eliminate such distractions.

          A key part of playing the game is balancing your competing priorities with the state of your body. Just don’t leave yourself on autopilot, or you’ll never get anything done.

          Choosing the right tasks

          Choosing the right tasks at the right time is most of the game. Some tasks mostly affect your state, e.g.

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            Others mostly affect your skills:

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              You need to put time into things that ensure a healthy state – like food and sleep – to keep your willpower high. And then you need to develop your skills with what you have left.

              Some skills are more valuable than others. Good ones can open up whole paths like a tech tree:

              Skills

                 

                Others are dead ends:

                Dead-skills

                   

                  Combinations of skills are the most effective. It’s very hard to max out one skill to be the best – in fact, that’s often impossible. But it’s much easier to get pretty decent at lots of related skills that amount to something bigger, e.g.

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                  Entrepreneur

                     

                    Ladies-magnet

                       

                      ee how psychology just helped you become both rich and attractive? You should study that.

                      Where you live

                      Your environment has a constant impact on your stats, skills, and your chances of levelling up.

                      It’s possible to play the game well almost anywhere, but it’s a lot easier in certain places. If you’re female and in the wrong country, for example, you can’t unlock many achievements.

                      The odds of anyone being born in their optimal location are virtually zero, so research your options, and consider moving early. Location is a multiplier to all of your skills and states.

                      Finding a partner

                      Attraction is a complex mini-game in itself, but mostly a byproduct of how you’re already playing. If you have excellent state and high skills, you’re far more attractive already. A tired, irritable, unskilled player is not appealing, and probably shouldn’t be looking for a relationship.

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                        Early in the game it can be common to reject and be rejected by other players. This is normal, but unfortunately it can drain your state, as most players don’t handle rejection or rejecting well. You’ll need to expend willpower to keep going, and willpower is replenished by sleep, so give it time.

                        80% of finding someone comes down to being your most attractive self, which – like so much in life – just means putting your time in the right places. If you’re exercising, socialising, well nourished and growing in your career, you will radiate attraction automatically. The remaining 20% is simply putting yourself in places where you can meet the right people.

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                        Money money money

                        Later in the game you’ll have to manage a new resource called ‘money’. Most players will find money increases throughout the early game, but that this actually introduces more problems, not less.

                        Money-2

                           

                          The most important rule of money is never to borrow it, except for things that earn you more back. For example, education or a mortgage can be worthwhile (but are not necessarily so, depending on the education or the mortgage). Borrowing to buy new shoes is not.

                          Depending on your financial ambitions, here are a few strategies to bear in mind:

                          1. Not fussed about money. The low-stress strategy: simply live within your means and save a little for a rainy day. Be sure to make the best of all the time you save though, or you’ll regret it.
                          2. Well off. Choose a career and environment carefully, and be prepared to move often to move up. You’ll need to invest heavily in matching skills, which will cost you time, and be careful not to abuse your state or you’ll burn out.
                          3. Mega richStart your own business. It’s almost impossible to get rich working for someone else. Riches do not come from work alone, they come from  owning things – assets – that pay back more than they cost, and your own company is a powerful asset you can create from scratch. Compound your winnings into more assets, and eventually they can remove your need to work at all.

                          Later life

                          Your options change as the game progresses. Marriage and children will reduce your time and energy, and introduce more random elements into the game (“Emergency diaper change!”). This makes it harder to develop yourself as quickly.

                          Older characters usually have more skills, resources and experience, unlocking quests that were previously impossible, like “owning a house”, or “writing a (good) novel”.

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                            All players die after about 29,000 days, or 80 years. If your stats and skills are good, you might last a little longer. There is no cheat code to extend this.

                            At the start of the game, you had no control over who you were or your environment. By the end of the game that becomes true again. Your past decisions drastically shape where you end up, and if you’re happy, healthy, fulfilled – or not – in your final days there’s far less you can do about it.

                            That’s why your strategy is important. Because by the time most of us have figured life out, we’ve used up too much of the best parts.

                            Now you’d best get playing.

                            Oliver Emberton is an entrepreneur, writer, programmer and artist who writes about life and how to make the most of it.

                            Life is a game. This is your strategy guide. | Oliver Emberton

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                            Last Updated on July 10, 2020

                            How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                            How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                            We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

                            We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

                            So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

                            Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

                            What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

                            Boundaries are limits

                            —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

                            Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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                            Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

                            Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

                            Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

                            How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

                            Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

                            1. Self-Awareness Comes First

                            Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

                            You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

                            To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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                            You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

                            • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
                            • When do you feel disrespected?
                            • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
                            • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
                            • When do you want to be alone?
                            • How much space do you need?

                            You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

                            2. Clear Communication Is Essential

                            Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

                            Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

                            3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

                            Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

                            That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

                            Sample language:

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                            • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
                            • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
                            • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
                            • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
                            • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
                            • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
                            • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

                            Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

                            4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

                            Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

                            Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

                            Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

                            We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

                            It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

                            It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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                            Final Thoughts

                            Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

                            Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

                            Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

                            The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

                            Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

                            Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

                            They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

                            Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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