There is a game that the world wants you to play.

There’s no real “winner” to the game, but there are certainly rules to play by.

A couple of those rules:

  • Money and possessions are the hierarchy of the players, and where you fit within it. Acquire more of either and you move up higher in the hierarchy.
  • Don’t step out of line too much. This includes crazy entrepreneurs, artists, and dreamers. Your ambition makes others feel uncomfortable.

While this game is technically unspoken, its words ring loud and clear.

We hear them when we go through a school system that does little to prepare us for adulthood.

We hear them when we go to college for a better job regardless of better skill.

We hear them when we join the workforce and are told to play our role.

We hear them when we express larger dreams and ambitions and the world tells us we’re crazy.

We hear them when collective society tells us to chase security over individual fulfillment and freedom.

These rules and this game are so hardwired into the fabric of our daily lives that we rarely notice they’re there. At times, we get a sense that maybe there are other games we can play – an idea in the shower, a dream to do something bigger, an itch to strike out on our own – but it’s just a matter of time before those unwritten underpinnings of societal daily life pull us back away from these ideas.

But there is good news…We can opt out.

This game is like an addiction. We can’t beat it until we acknowledge it’s presence. But when we acknowledge it, its power over us begins to melt away.

And if you can opt out of this game of worldly ambitions, it frees us up to play a different game. Or better yet? It frees us to invent our own.

Steve Jobs said it best when he said:

Everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you.

Made up.

I lied a little when I said there isn’t a winner to this game. Because the real winners of the game are those that opt out of it entirely. And those people? They’re the ones writing the rules to new games – ones that they want to play.

That can be any of us. All we have to do is opt out.

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