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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 March 13, 2019

                            How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                            How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                            Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                            You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                            Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                            1. Work on the small tasks.

                            When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                            Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                            2. Take a break from your work desk.

                            Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                            Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                            3. Upgrade yourself

                            Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                            The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                            4. Talk to a friend.

                            Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                            Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                            5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                            If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                            Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                            Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                            6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                            If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                            Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                            Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                            7. Read a book (or blog).

                            The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                            Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                            Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                            8. Have a quick nap.

                            If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                            9. Remember why you are doing this.

                            Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                            What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                            10. Find some competition.

                            Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                            Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                            11. Go exercise.

                            Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                            Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                            As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                            Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                            12. Take a good break.

                            Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                            Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                            Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                            Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                            More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                            Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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