Play your own game

Every day I feel like I’m doing something wrong.

I’m working on the wrong thing. Or I should be working in a traditional job. My exercise routine? That isn’t right. My diet? Suddenly it doesn’t make sense anymore.

They say you’re the average of the five people you hang out with the most. Now I feel like I need different friends. I learned to code and I absolutely love it. But am I good enough?

Some days I have too much stuff. Other days, I don’t have enough. I should buy a place and stop renting. Coffee is bad for you, I need to stop drinking it. But it also prevents certain forms of cancer, I better start drinking it again.

I heard that I need to read more to be more innovative. I also now know the “Ten ways I’m messing up my company’s marketing”. I can’t wait to read this book I just bought how I should be on an information diet.

Sound familiar?

There’s a whole lot of money and energy spent on making us feel like we’re living our lives incorrectly.

Marketing exists so that we can buy things that solve problems in our lives. It also exists to confuse us. If the product they’re selling can solve our problems and cure our woes. We can be happier, richer, more successful.

I’ve gotten beat out of three jobs by equally qualified candidates who just happened to go to Harvard. Some days I feel bad that I didn’t go to a more reputable college.

Then I remember that going to the University of Colorado was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I remember how incredibly proud I am of what I did in my three and a half years there. How much fun I had. How many amazing, lifelong friends I made there. How much I love Boulder.

Feeling like we’re doing something wrong is impossible to escape and we probably never will.

It’s important to remind ourselves that we’re doing well. That many times, when we feel like we should be doing more, we’re doing the best we can.

The truth in life is that the phrase and the idea “I’m doing the right thing” is a spectrum. Sometimes I feel really good about my habits, the company I keep, and the actions that I take. Other times, my habits need work. Friends are good and I’m happy in those relationships but maybe I’m unhappy with some recent actions.

Like most things, we ebb and flow.

I truly believe there are no rules.

To me what that means is that we should absorb and consider many things that people tell us. But also remember that they probably don’t know what they’re talking about either. Many facts expressed to us are actually just opinions stated very definitively.

We should disregard social norms and “the way things are done.”

We can design our lives, our careers, our relationships, our homes, everything.

Social norms exist because they make things easier. They provide a path of little or no resistance. They act as the things that people already accept and the things that we “should” do to achieve a desired outcome.

A teacher of mine used to say to me “Many roads lead to Rome,” meaning that you could arrive at your goal any number of ways.

You always have the freedom to pick a destination and figure out how to get there.

The things that have made you successful thus far in life will make you successful in whatever you do next.

A friend said this to me a few weeks ago over breakfast. I had to stop and repeat it slowly. Because I never realized that before.

We use the same tools in everything that we pursue in order to try to get what we want. Our experiences build on themselves and we bring our lessons with us but what makes us unique, also helps us establish and play by our own rules.

So we should live our lives in ways that feel good to us. Forget what anyone else thinks! When we don’t like things, we should change them.

We get one shot at life and we should swing for the fucking fences. That sentence should be completely open to your interpretation. Whatever swinging for the fences means to you, do it.

Think for yourself. Analyze and synthesize information. Make your own decisions, even if they’re unpopular. Try not to blindly accept things. Meditate.

Play by your own rules. Stand by them. Your principles make you intriguing, interesting, and sexy. When things change, change your rules.

Do things just to amuse yourself. Do things solely for your own enjoyment. Not everything has to be shared. Not everything needs to be a discussion.

When you make your own rules and live a life that you truly love, people notice. You gain this attraction where others show up in your life who are aligned, just as you are.

You’re not living your life wrong. It’s yours to do with it what you will.

I hope you do the things that mean the most to you. That you do find the work and the people who inspire you constantly. That you create your own reality. Your principles, your terms, your rules.

It’s your game to play, after all.


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