Motivation & Mindset

How to Play the Game of Life

Read Time:15 Minute

When I was a kid, I loved playing video games. During the summer, when I had no school, I would spend hours every day immersed in virtual worlds. I often thought to myself, wouldn’t it be nice if I could just play games all day forever? Interestingly, the more I grow older, the more I see life as an elaborate video game. Life, like a game, has goals, challenges, and achievements, and the strategies we use to navigate it are remarkably similar to those we use in games.

In video games, we level up our characters, embark on quests, and face various obstacles. Similarly, in life, we develop skills, set goals, and encounter difficulties. The parallels between life and games become even more apparent when considering how we build relationships and form teams, much like multiplayer modes in games. The excitement and satisfaction of overcoming a difficult level or achieving a high score mirror the joy and fulfillment we feel when we reach personal milestones or overcome challenges in life.

Moreover, consider a game where all you had to do was press a simple button to win. Such a game would quickly become boring, and no one would play it for long. Life is the same. It is the challenges and obstacles we face that make the journey interesting and rewarding. Just as in games, the satisfaction in life comes from the effort, strategy, and resilience we display in the face of adversity.

In this blog post, we will explore how life can be viewed as a game through the lens of video game analogy. We will also discuss strategies to “win” the game of life, embracing its challenges and relishing the journey towards personal growth and success.

Understanding Life as a Game

Viewing life as a game can provide a unique perspective that makes the journey more engaging and fulfilling. To understand this analogy, it’s essential to identify the fundamental elements of a game and draw parallels to various aspects of life.

Definition of Game Elements

Goals and Objectives:
In every game, players have clear objectives, whether it’s rescuing a princess, winning a race, or conquering a kingdom. These goals give purpose and direction to the gameplay, providing players with motivation and a sense of accomplishment once achieved.

Rules and Limitations:
Games are governed by a set of rules that define what players can and cannot do. These constraints create a structured environment where players must navigate challenges and devise strategies within given boundaries.

Challenges and Obstacles:
Games are filled with obstacles that test players’ skills and patience. These challenges, whether they are enemy encounters, puzzles, or time constraints, make the game interesting and rewarding.

Rewards and Achievements:
Players receive rewards for their efforts, such as points, badges, or new levels. These incentives encourage progress and recognize the players’ achievements, providing a sense of satisfaction and progression.

Life Parallels

Personal Goals and Aspirations:
Just like in games, individuals set personal goals that guide their actions and decisions. These goals can range from career ambitions and educational achievements to personal development and relationship milestones. Having clear objectives helps individuals stay focused and motivated.

Societal Rules and Norms:
Life is also governed by rules and limitations, whether they are laws, social norms, or ethical guidelines. These boundaries create a framework within which people operate, ensuring order and coexistence. Navigating these rules requires understanding and adaptability.

Law of Nature:
Beyond societal rules, the law of nature sets fundamental limitations and conditions under which life operates. These include physical laws such as gravity, biological processes like aging, and environmental factors like weather. Understanding and respecting these natural laws is crucial for survival and success.

Life Challenges and Setbacks:
Challenges are an inherent part of life. Whether it’s facing a difficult exam, dealing with a health issue, or overcoming a professional setback, these obstacles test our resilience and problem-solving abilities. Embracing these challenges is crucial for personal growth and development. Just as in games, where overcoming obstacles makes the experience engaging, life’s challenges keep us motivated and entertained. We often play games to avoid boredom, seeking entertainment and stimulation. Similarly, it is the challenges and hardships in life that make the journey interesting and worthwhile, pushing us to grow and evolve.

Personal Growth and Accomplishments:
Achievements in life, much like in games, are rewarding and fulfilling. Whether it’s graduating from college, landing a dream job, or mastering a new skill, these accomplishments provide a sense of progress and recognition. Celebrating these milestones helps individuals appreciate their journey and efforts.

By understanding these parallels, we can see that life, like a game, is a series of goals, challenges, and rewards. This perspective not only makes life’s journey more engaging but also helps us develop strategies to navigate it effectively.

Is Life a Video Game?

Video games provide a rich tapestry of analogies that can help us better understand and navigate life. From character development to quests and missions, and even the concept of multiplayer modes, the parallels are striking. Here, we explore these analogies in detail.

Character Development

Leveling Up:
In video games, characters gain experience points (XP) by completing tasks, overcoming enemies, and solving puzzles. These points contribute to leveling up, enhancing the character’s skills and abilities. Similarly, in life, we gain experience through education, work, and personal endeavors. Each new skill we acquire or challenge we overcome helps us “level up,” making us more capable and resilient individuals.

Character Customization:
Video games often allow players to customize their characters, reflecting their individuality and style. This customization can include appearance, abilities, and gear. In life, our personalities, skills, and personal choices define who we are. Embracing our unique traits and strengths allows us to stand out and navigate life’s challenges in our own way.

Quests and Missions

Main Quests:
Main quests in video games are the primary objectives that drive the storyline. These are akin to major life goals, such as pursuing a career, building meaningful relationships, or achieving significant personal milestones. Main quests give direction and purpose to our lives, guiding our actions and decisions.

Side Quests:
Side quests are optional tasks that, while not essential to the main storyline, offer additional rewards and enrich the gaming experience. In life, side quests represent hobbies, personal projects, and self-care activities. These pursuits enhance our lives, provide balance, and contribute to our overall well-being.

Multiplayer Mode

Collaborations and Teamwork:
Multiplayer modes in video games require players to work together to achieve common goals. This collaboration and teamwork are crucial in life as well. Whether in a professional setting, within a family, or among friends, working well with others is essential for success and fulfillment. Understanding team dynamics and leveraging individual strengths can lead to more effective and harmonious interactions.

Social Interactions and Networking:
Just as players build alliances and networks in multiplayer games, social interactions and networking play a vital role in life. Building strong relationships, seeking mentorship, and creating a supportive community are key to personal and professional growth. Networking opens doors to new opportunities and provides a support system during challenging times.

Game Over and Respawn

Failures and Setbacks:
In video games, players often encounter “game over” screens, signifying failure. However, these moments are temporary, allowing players to learn from their mistakes and respawn with a renewed strategy. Similarly, in life, failures and setbacks are inevitable. Rather than viewing them as endpoints, we can see them as opportunities to learn, adapt, and start anew with greater wisdom and resilience.

Resilience and Perseverance:
The ability to respawn and try again is a testament to resilience. In life, perseverance in the face of adversity is crucial. Embracing a growth mindset, where challenges are seen as learning opportunities, helps us bounce back from failures and continue striving towards our goals.

What if Life were easy?

Imagine a video game where all you had to do was press a button to win. Such a game would quickly become boring and unengaging. The excitement of a game lies in its challenges, the thrill of overcoming obstacles after multiple failures, and the satisfaction of achieving hard-earned victories.

Similarly, in life, when things get hard, it is easy to wish there were a button you could simply press to win the game. You might press the button once or twice to see what it’s like to “win” the game, but you will soon move on to find something that is more challenging, as it is boring and pointless to just sit there, press a button once, then call yourself a winner.

It’s a worthy reminder that the reason you play the game in the first place is to have fun overcoming challenges and obstacles. You can’t control the challenges you will face, but you can either view them as a game and have fun playing or suffer through them the entire time. Challenges and hardships are what make life interesting and fulfilling. They provide a sense of purpose, push us to grow, and make our achievements meaningful.

By drawing these analogies from video games, we can better appreciate the complexities of life and develop strategies to navigate it more effectively.

How to Play the Game of Life

If we agree that life is one giant game, then what is the objective of this game? What seems apparent is that we all are seeking happiness and peace through attaining personal goals. The beauty of personal goals is that it is personal. Each person’s objectives are unique, reflecting their values, desires, and aspirations. There is no universal objective for the game of life; everyone is playing their game in a different way. You are the one who decides the objective of your game. For some, the goal might be fame or fortune, while for others, it could be creating an impact in the world, or simply building a family with someone they love.

The Sub-Games of Life

There are many sub-games within the game of life, each with different winning conditions. Understanding these sub-games and defining your personal winning conditions is key to navigating life effectively and meaningfully. Here are just some of the sub-games within the larger game called life.

The Sub-Game of Wealth:

One common sub-game is the pursuit of wealth. Strategies for this game vary widely. Some choose to build businesses that provide products or services people want and need. This game has its own rules and winning conditions, such as generating profits, scaling the business, and sustaining market demand. Another strategy might be investing in the stock market or real estate, watching your wealth grow over the long term.

The winning condition in the wealth game varies from person to person; for one, it might be saving $100k, for another, it could be having $1 million, while for some, it might be amassing $100 million.

The Sub-Game of Health:

Another crucial sub-game is the pursuit of health. Strategies for this game also vary widely. Some people focus on maintaining a balanced diet and regular exercise routine, adhering to rules such as consuming nutritious foods and staying active. Others might prioritize mental health by practicing mindfulness, meditation, or seeking therapy. Preventative healthcare measures, like regular check-ups and vaccinations, are another strategy.

The winning condition in the health game can differ greatly. For one person, it might be running a marathon, for another, it could be achieving a certain weight or fitness level, while for someone else, it might simply be maintaining a healthy lifestyle free from chronic illness.

The Sub-Game of Relationships:

The pursuit of meaningful relationships is yet another vital sub-game. Strategies in this game involve building and maintaining connections with family, friends, and romantic partners. This game has its own rules, such as communication, trust, and mutual respect. Some might focus on expanding their social circle and networking, while others prioritize deepening existing relationships.

The winning condition in the relationships game varies widely. For one person, it might mean having a close-knit group of friends, for another, it could be finding a life partner, while for someone else, it might be maintaining strong family bonds.

The Sub-Game of Career:

The pursuit of a fulfilling career is another significant sub-game. Strategies include acquiring relevant education and skills, networking, and gaining work experience. Some people aim to climb the corporate ladder, while others might pursue entrepreneurial ventures or freelance careers. The rules often involve hard work, persistence, and continuous learning.

The winning condition in the career game varies. For one person, it might mean reaching an executive position, for another, it could be achieving work-life balance, while for someone else, it might be turning a passion into a profession.

The Sub-Game of Personal Growth:

The sub-game of personal growth focuses on self-improvement and achieving one’s potential. Strategies include setting personal goals, seeking new experiences, and continuous learning through reading, education, or mentorship. This game involves rules like self-discipline, resilience, and adaptability.

The winning condition in the personal growth game can be diverse. For one person, it might be mastering a new skill, for another, it could be overcoming a personal challenge, while for someone else, it might be reaching a state of self-acceptance and inner peace.

The Sub-Game of Contribution:

The sub-game of contribution is about giving back to society and making a positive impact. Strategies include volunteering, donating to causes, or working in fields that help others. This game involves rules like empathy, generosity, and a sense of responsibility.

The winning condition in the contribution game can differ greatly. For one person, it might be founding a charitable organization, for another, it could be regularly volunteering, while for someone else, it might be making a significant impact on a community or cause.

Defining Your Winning Condition

To play the game of life successfully, one must decide what the winning condition is for the game they choose to play. This means defining what success looks like to you personally, rather than adopting someone else’s definition. A common pitfall when you are unsure of what you want in life is adopting another person’s winning condition, which you don’t truly care about. For instance, you might pursue a career path, lifestyle, or set of goals because they are valued by someone else—whether it’s your parents, peers, or society at large—without considering if they genuinely align with your own desires and values. This can make the whole experience of playing the game miserable, leading to frustration, lack of motivation, and a sense of emptiness despite apparent successes.

Therefore, it’s crucial to carefully choose the sub-game to play and define your own winning conditions to ensure that you find fulfillment and joy in the journey. This requires introspection and an understanding of what truly matters to you. Take the time to reflect on your passions, strengths, and what brings you happiness and satisfaction. Consider what you want your life to look like and what achievements would make you feel proud and content. By setting your own unique goals and aspirations, you create a personalized roadmap that guides you through life’s challenges and triumphs, making the overall game of life more enjoyable and meaningful.

It’s important to remember that sometimes, the point of playing a game isn’t necessarily to “win” in the traditional sense. Winning could simply be an excuse to play the game. The ultimate objective of playing a game to me is to enjoy the journey and the process of playing.

Playing for the Experience

For many, the experience of playing the game itself is the ultimate reward. Life is full of moments, both joyful and challenging, that contribute to our growth and fulfillment. Being able to experience life is already a miracle. Every goal we strive for and every challenge we face are parts of sub-games that make the overall game of life richer and more interesting.

For example, I enjoy playing soccer with my friends. While the objective of soccer is to win by kicking the ball into the net, this winning condition is just an excuse for me to play. My personal winning condition is simply to enjoy the game with my friends. Yet, when I am in the game, my ultimate objective is to win in the traditional sense of scoring more goals than the opponent, because those are the rules of the game and what makes it fun. However, whether I win or lose in that sense doesn’t matter to me at the end, because my true winning condition is just to be able to enjoy playing soccer.

Fulfillment in life often comes from the journey rather than the destination. Engaging fully with the game, embracing its ups and downs, and appreciating the experiences along the way can bring immense satisfaction. Setting personal goals gives direction and purpose, but it’s the pursuit and the experiences that truly enrich our lives.


Is life just a game? I don’t know, and I don’t think anybody can say for certain whether it is or it isn’t. However, if you entertain the thought of it being a game and start viewing obstacles and challenges as part of what make the game fun, then life suddenly becomes much more enjoyable. By defining your own objectives and understanding the various sub-games you play, you can navigate life with a clearer sense of purpose and fulfillment. Embrace the journey, celebrate your victories, learn from your setbacks, and, most importantly, have fun playing the game of life. Remember that sometimes, just being able to play is already a victory.

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