Playing to win

I was never a big fan of the attitude behind the YOLO culture, but the message is clear and I agree: we have one life to live, and it’s not a practice run.

I spent this past weekend in Vegas with some family from out of town.

Predictably, I was a little bit neurotic about my inability to eat and exercise properly, my inability to spend time with my friends, and my lack of personal time to study. My focus on self-improvement easily borders that of obsession.

What I tend to forget is that while getting better and better each day is good, ultimately there must be an end to accomplish, a purpose behind it.

As an example: I bought jeans in December to wear for Christmas. I called up my tailor and let her know I would be coming in soon to have them tailored. Then I took one look at myself in the mirror and realized I didn’t like the state of my body, and I was probably better off focusing on diet before getting the jeans tailored.

That was December. It’s almost June, and I still haven’t gotten the pants tailored. Eventually, though I don’t plan to quit going to the gym, I need to get them tailored so I can wear them, don’t I?

This weekend was similar. I’ve spent so much time reading books so I can be more skillful, educated and interesting — the test came this weekend when it came time to represent my household in front of my visiting relatives, who I haven’t seen for several years. I spent, on average, about five days a week in a church bubble over the past 10 months — but the test came when my “treasure hunt” group wasn’t by my side and I needed to pray over strangers in Vegas for healing.

I am a big believer in practicing the fundamentals. I believe it is the secret to success in the long run.

But imagine a professional sports player who practiced every single day with their team, but never made it to the playoffs. The true test is not in one’s ability to practice, but in one’s ability to produce when the stakes are high.

Question: As your game of life unfolds, are you playing to win, or are you playing not to lose?

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