The Game(s) We Choose to Play
There are an infinite number of opportunities presented your way. You have to be selective about which ones you choose to play. And my rule of thumb is only choose the games that lead you towards your own endgame.
Well, how do you even craft an endgame?
First, you have to have an understanding of your past: Where did you come from? How did you get here? What is your story? What were you interested in as a child? What are the most transformative experiences in your life? 1
That gives you an understanding of who you are: What are your natural inclinations? What are your natural strengths? What is your biggest source of leverage? What are you currently good at? What could you do better? What limiting beliefs are holding you back? What can you do to manage these?
From there, you craft your endgame: What is the ultimate goal that would bring you the greatest fulfillment? What is the grand opportunity that aligns with your values and interests that will give you a great source of meaning and pleasure? It has to be concrete enough that it truly gives you a clear destination. It cannot be vague. It has to be explicit, well-thought out, and well-reasoned out target that correlates with your past and who you are. Most of all, it has to be yours alone. You cannot be copying someone else’s endgame because you are different from everybody else and everybody else is different from you. You have a different past than they do. You have a completely different set of attributes and circumstances and strengths. You have completely different personalities and values and interests. This is your story, and as such, is worthy of its original endgame.
This is not an easy exercise by any means. But the clearer you are about your past and who you are, the clearer you can be about your endgame, and the less doubt you have following the path to get there.
Some quick pointers if you have a hard time crafting your endgame:
- There is no way you can be in an elevated league if you play the same games everybody else is playing.
- If you do not know what you want you want (yet), figure out what you don’t want. That will at least pave the way into clarifying what games you should play in the present.
- As much as possible, hold yourself to the highest standards. Even if you’re not where you want to be in life, even if your circumstances are extremely far from your potential endgame, this will help create good habits that get you moving in the right direction. And these will eventually help define what you might want for yourself.
Once you craft this endgame that only belongs to you, you must then choose to only play the games that will lead you towards that endgame. Otherwise, you can play all these other games that have nothing to do with your endgame and you end up fighting a lot of battles and taking on various opportunities that don’t move you towards where you ultimately want to go, and you end up not having made progress on your own path, and you realize you’re exactly where you were—that you are no closer to your own endgame .
And your fulfillment and sense of meaning are directly tied to having made progress on your own mission—on your own endgame. No one will craft your endgame for you. No one will walk your endgame for you. No one will play the games you have to play in order to get to your own endgame for you. You will be unhappy if you constantly play games that don’t align with who you are. You are here to live your truth and see it through, to express yourself fully and authentically, to play your own endgame.
And your endgame is a game you have to play entirely by yourself. Sure, you will need help and you will need to orchestrate things to move forward, but ultimately, it is yours to play. This is your movie. This is your book. This is your story. And you are the lone hero who has to carry the burden of struggle in order to get to victory. And thus, you have to be selective about what games you choose to play in your journey towards your own endgame. You must protect your endgame, and you must say no to every other game masquerading as a decent opportunity that otherwise is not connected to your endgame.
Know your past. Know yourself. Know your endgame. And choose to play only in the games that direct you towards your endgame.
When you see several steps ahead, and plan your moves all the way to the end, you will no longer be tempted by emotion or by the desire to improvise. Your clarity will rid you of the anxiety and vagueness that are the primary reasons why so many fail to conclude their actions successfully. You see the ending and you tolerate no deviation.
— Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power