If life is a game and our challenges are here to help us evolve – are we finally waking up?
Even though this time in history is very stressful, overwhelming and uncomfortable for many people, we might be learning and discovering in unprecedented ways. Maybe it is an initiation into a higher aspect of ourselves, if we choose to grow and learn.
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10:45 – Exploring how this intense time in history has helped us grow and change
14:30 – If life is a game, how do we win and how do we end it?
19:30 – Why LIFE wants you to win the game
20:45 – 4 ways to get better at the game
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So, there’s this theory that life is a game and all the challenges you’ve had to face are simply there to help you grow. Or a similar theory is that we’re living in a movie and we’re just these characters going on an adventure. You may buy into that theory or not, but consider this. When I first heard that theory, I totally rejected it. I mean, life is just random, right? There’s no deeper purpose or intelligent design behind it all. How could there be? No one I grew up with seemed to believe that. Yet, that theory just kept crossing my path, so at one particularly challenging time in my life I decided to ‘pretend’ for a week that I believed it, just to see what would happen. It changed my life completely. So I kept going with it. After a while I came to ponder this idea, too. What if the game was uniquely designed for me to…win? Sure it would be challenging, but if I rose to the occasion, LIFE believed I could do it. And that behind it all was a benevolent force, that you could call LIFE, the Universe, God, the Creator, Winnifred, whatever you wanted. But this force, this source of all life, truly wanted me to win. That idea alone helped me rise out of pits of despair like nothing else.
So, in this episode I’d like to share some tried and true, very practical ways to help you move from confusion and frustration to insight and ease…re any particular challenge going on in your life, and to co-create with LIFE what you want. Whether that challenge is triggered by world events, or personal situations, or both, this can work. Anything causing inner conflict, heartache, turmoil, agitation, stress, confusion, overwhelm. Let’s see if any of this works for you as it has for many of coaching clients. If so, feel free to use and share as needed. Hi I’m Carla Rieger, and you’re listening to the Golden Age Timeline podcast.
Even though over the last few years it has been very stressful, overwhelming and uncomfortable for many people, it also helps to pay attention to the ways you and others have benefited, learned, grown as a person. Yes, you may have done that in your own mind, decided to look at the silver lining, the good side, the optimistic, glass as half full. That’s a sign of a highly resilient person, according to all the research I’ve done over 20 years. Now, it wasn’t that highly resilient people only saw the glass as half full, but that they could change perspective at will. I’m sure you know people who are almost always pessimistic, and maybe others who are almost always optimistic. The trick is to not get stuck in any one perspective but to switch, to free your mind to look at any situation from multiple perspectives if you want to find the best possible solutions. So that’s the underlying goal here, and sometimes you have almost to break the spell, to switch yourself out of patterns of thinking that don’t serve.
A good way to discover the learning about a situation is to reverse engineer it, and think about it from the perspective of say a game maker or the writer of a movie. I’ve created novels, screenplays, and games …and so that’s why I think this way sometimes. Maybe you can relate. If you want to take a viewer/listener/participant on an adventure of discovery…what would you need to do to lead them on that path?
Now if you think of most movies people love there is a hero who must overcome obstacles, challenges both inside and out, and must change inside to meet the challenge. He or she must decide to do the right thing instead of the easy thing. If you think of most Hollywood films that were beloved by people they had that theme.
When I teach storytelling to entrepreneurs and leaders, I teach them out to create challenges for their hero. Or if the story is about them, as they hero of their story, they need to pick a time when they faced and overcame a big challenge. Those make the best stories. So they look for times of Conflict, trouble, accidents, mishaps, making a huge decision, discovering something they never knew about….that kind of thing.
When I say conflict, I don’t mean just arguing between two people, but rather two forces opposing each other…like a hero and a villain. The villain could be a person, or a system, or the weather, or the economy, or a group of people. It could be inner conflict or outer. Here is an example of story without conflict. Joanne Smith gets up, feels great, makes breakfast, goes to work and comes home, same as always. End of story.
It doesn’t hold our interest, right? If Joanne gets up and on her way to work falls into a well and can’t get out – now we have a story. Why? Because there is trouble, obstacle, she must discover a way out; there’s an inner and outer dilemma to solve.
For example, Into Thin Air is a movie based on the true story of people climbing Mt. Everest. It had three types of conflict, which helped make it so popular. The hero is in conflict with the other climbers trying to reach the summit, he is in conflict with the dangerous weather on the mountain and he has inner conflict about what to do with the tragic and dangerous situations he faces. And so think like the creator of this experience we’re having.
So there’s been lots of strange and conflicting information in the media, in the alternative media, social media, amongst groups of people you may know. Some people see things one way and staunchly defend it, others see it another way and they fight with each other. Of course this isn’t new but it seems heightened in the last few years, right?
Why? So, why is LIFE or the Grand Game Master of the Galaxy creating this for us to experience? Of course this presupposes the idea that at some higher level of awareness, maybe at the soul level, we signed up for the game, bought a ticket for the movie. Wanted to go on the adventure, have this experience, but just forgot.
So, what is LIFE trying to teach us? What is LIFE trying to activate, why would all this be important? So one possible purpose might be to learn about wise discernment and personal power. At least that’s my theory…you may have your own. Now, by wise discernment I mean the ability to navigate through a maze of falsities, half truths, full truths, outright lies, misdirection by relying on inner knowing, inner truth, rather than on external cues. It’s like trying to find your way out of a House of Mirrors at the carnival.
And by personal power, I mean the ability to do what’s right, and not succumbing to what’s easy or convenient or what others would approve of, you know…not just going along with the crowd…but instead to be a light unto yourself.
For example, think of a time when you had a gut instinct to do or not do something despite logical information and it worked out in your favor. You know, the time you said…I knew in my heart it was the right thing to do. For example, I had a friend who was vacationing in Phuket in December of 2004. Every morning of his vacation he liked to stroll along the beach, which meant on the morning of the tsunami he would have been hit by the wave. But he had a strong instinct to stay put in his 4th floor suite, and convinced his wife to do the same, despite her protests. It probably saved both of their lives.
So, going back to what the creator of this experience is trying to activate in us…I’ve noticed many people over the last few years become more focused on self-care than they did before, finally eating more healthy, exercising more, learning about how to increase their immune system. Others are connecting more authentically with family and friends, or leaving behind old relationships that didn’t serve and making new likeminded friends. Some learned how to bring their offerings online so that people all over the world can benefit, instead of just those who lived in close proximity. Some are taking much needed down time to rest, slowing down, reflecting and doing inner work. Some decided to reinvent themselves, their life, their career, educating themselves, taking a new direction, and re-evaluating their choices, getting clearer on the values they really want to live by. Some got focused again on a back burnered project like writing a book, reorganizing their home, or creating a garden. While others noticed that they are ok, in fact better off, by eliminating activities that used to cost lots of time and money.
So, if that’s what people have learned so far, that’s pretty good. What more is there to learn? That’s a great question to ask yourself daily. What am I meant to be learning here? What is it activating in me that I wouldn’t otherwise do unless I had this challenge? Necessity is the mother of invention, right? I’m sure you can look back on a challenging experience you went through over the last few years and find at least one good thing that came out of it. And from several other times in your life, too. So, think about that moving forward…what’s the gift in all this? As soon as you recognize it, often LIFE changes the situation, because tick, you passed that test. And onward you go to other adventures.
Have you heard of the Black Mirror series? Black Mirror is a kind of modern-day version of the Twilight Zone series. It’s a sci-fi anthology series on Netflix exploring high-tech near-future scenarios where humanity’s greatest innovations and darkest instincts collide. It feels like we’re living in one of those episodes now.
So if Life were a game and the game creators want you to learn lessons about discernment and personal power, what would be the best way to help you do that? Maybe you’d give people a lot of conflicting and half-truth information about a high-stakes issue, so that you have to look inside your own heart, use your gut instinct to decide what’s true and what’s false. If you get clarity on what’s true, you pass the test.
How about increasing your personal power? How about we have the governments of the world start telling people all these things you’re not allowed to do because of public safety. At first it makes sense, so you do it, but it goes on for a while, and you fill the airwaves with doomsday predictions, and many people start to lose their livelihood, mental and physical heath, and relationships, basic human needs for connection, in hopes that people will start wondering if all that is more of a danger to society than the original reason for doing it. This would be like an interesting reality show, or Black Mirror episode, or social experiment, where you see how people react. How long will billions acquiesce to being on house arrest? What kind of information would you need to feed them? Who is going to use wise discernment and who is not? If not enough people practice wise discernment and roll over, you’d need to step it up. Maybe you’d take away a few more freedoms and give a vague, un-verifiable reason why. And still they don’t learn the lesson. And so you give them something else, and you’d keep going like that until enough people pass the test.
All the while you would want to give them clues, like TV shows or movies, or popular songs, or investigative journalism shows, or evidence they could find online. You’d maybe set it up like a treasure hunt, or an Easter Egg hunt… One by one you help them find the clues, you help them piece it together, so they can pass the exam. At the same time, you wouldn’t want to make it too easy, so you’d try to throw them off the scent, by giving them false info that seems real, and if too many people started figuring out too quickly, you’d try ridiculing or threatening people who got close to the truth. Of course, that would also help with the wise discernment lesson. But eventually and hopefully, people start passing the test, they get to graduate to the next level of the game. Maybe that means getting to have a higher level of functioning or higher evolution physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritual or all of that. Maybe this is an initiation into a higher version of ourselves as a collective.
And even though Life is not going to make the journey easy, it does still want you to win. Because if everyone fails then why even bother playing the game in the first place? Humans were designed to take care of themselves, to choose love over fear, to have authentic relationships, think innovatively, have wise discernment, and personal power as long as that personal power is also in harmony with the collective. So the tests and challenges activate these latent skills, if we let them.
That said, many people in this world never take the time to develop mastery over their own minds in this way. But I will say, just by the fact you are listening to this podcast, you ARE one of those people who want to master your mindset, to pass the tests life brings you, and to get greater control of your thoughts and emotions. And as a leader in the world, an expert in your field, the more you do it, the more you help others do it, too.
What kind of future becomes possible when you have evolved in this way? Imagine the results you could have personally over the next year and the impact your offerings could have in the world, and the kind of future that creates for humanity. Think of the impact on people’s mental strength, health and well-being. It’s that confidence, that knowing that you are on the right path and moving towards the next level of your vision and the next level of your personal growth. When you have that as a guiding philosophy, you can see challenging situations as a gift and not something to fear. Once you break free of fear, it’s your ticket to freedom, security, power and connection.
Along with this game metaphor is the whole aspect of goal manifestation. Most of us are born having desires and aversions. Things you want and things you want to avoid. And those drives cause us to set goals and go after them, goals to get what we want, or to avoid what we don’t want. Sometimes we get those goals, sometimes we don’t. From this game metaphor, however, the journey is always more important than the end goal, because it’s who you become on the journey. It’s the lessons you learn or don’t learn. That, however, is easy to forget when you continually miss the mark. But, if you are a real seeker, truly in your heart wanting to grow personally and professionally, you’ll set big goals and lots of them. Life wants you to do that because, of course, this increases the odds that you will learn. But it also increases the odds that you will fail more often. Because if you set no goals, or set really easy goals, you’ll either stagnate or move at a very slow pace. You won’t be able to pass the finish line anytime soon, and as I said, I think life wants you to grow and wants you to win the game of life.
So, if you find yourself disillusioned or disappointed because you missed the mark, become like a detective. Maybe you’ve watched a few good detective shows, they have their list of ways to find who committed the crime, what went wrong. Here’s a few places to look when it comes to discovering why you failed to achieve a goal. Let’s use the example of a business project like launching an online course. You launched it, and hardly anyone signed up, or not enough to make it worth it.
Life has a sense of timing that we often can’t know with our conscious mind. For example, just before the whole pandemic we were going to host a big live event, and all kinds of things got in the way of getting that underway. Now, in retrospect we are glad we didn’t put a lot of time and money into hosting a big live event that would have needed to be canceled because of the pandemic. If things aren’t flowing, maybe Life knows something you don’t know.
All that said, it is important to put a date on your goals, because, without one, it’s just an aim. A deadline gives your subconscious mind a focus and increases your enthusiasm. You are inspired to take more action and work harder if the clock is ticking. But, a date is still only a best guess, so don’t give up if your timing is off. When things don’t work out exactly as we want, that’s when the self-doubt creeps back in. When that happens, just go back to this inner work, ask the right questions, course correct and keep seeing the goal come to fruition. This is so important, because what most people do is they let the self-doubt win and completely give up on their goals instead of course correcting. In our research, the biggest difference between people who achieve success in life and those who don’t, is that the successful people kept course correcting. That was the main difference.
Most people seem to have a subconscious, or even a conscious expectation that the path from A (our vision) to B (vision becomes reality) should be a straight line. In reality, it rarely is. Life is, more often than not, a zigzag journey that goes all over the place. One of the best beliefs to cultivate is that Life is always working for you if you allow it.
That said, the survival brain part of you is programmed to crave security, proof you can be successful before you get there, and instant results. Part of the game of life is to retrain your survival brain, to let go of external security in place of internal security, let go of the need for proof and instant results, and grow into emotional maturity where you understand and accept how the game works.
As Joel A. Barker once said “Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. But vision with action can change the world.” Most people live life either visioning, but not taking action, or being busy for busy’s sake without getting anywhere. I believe that’s so because they’ve consciously or subconsciously commited to a path of mediocrity. They decide: I’ll just do enough to survive, to not be fired, to make just barely enough to live on, to play small, to not rock the boat, to not challenge the status quo, to not break out of my comfort zone, to make sure people approve of everything I do.
Those MindStories keep people enslaved. No one, at the core of their true self, wants to be enslaved in this way. Nor should they be. I believe you’re meant to be the best version of yourself, to achieve mastery. That said, the path there is like the Hero’s Journey. It’s fraught with discomfort, so the survival brain part of us will want to continually give up. But, if you buy into the game theory, or are at least open to it, then you didn’t come here to fail, you came here to win. If you commit to this Path of Game Mastery, then that becomes your guiding light, instead of external circumstances that were designed in the first place to help you become better at playing the game. When you make that kind of commitment, Life conspires to support you, especially when things get tough.
Most people are letting their survival brain run the show, and that makes life unnecessarily challenging. Life often has a better plan for you than the one you have for yourself–one that is often beyond your wildest dreams. Maybe you’ve noticed that Life can bring things to you in mysterious and unexpected ways. You get it when you are ready and at the right time. Staying connected to Life, to your higher mind, to your higher self, or God, or whatever word has meaning for you… helps dramatically.
The problem is people forget to listen; or they let the connection get interrupted, or they misinterpret the message. If that ever happens to you, apprentice yourself to creating a strong, clear, true connection. Is like any relationship in life, it requires your time and attention. If you want a good marriage, or a good friendship, you need to give and receive love, support, caring, listening. It’s the same with this higher power connection to life. If you ignore it, it will ignore you.
And just so you know, worry, stress and negativity block your connection to this higher power. The other thing that blocks it is a conscious or subconscious belief that there is no higher power, that Life is meaningless, or that Life is against you. Truth be told, many people actually believe that. Again sometimes its unconscious. But we’ve all experienced hardships in life, these game obstacles designed to help you grow. But you may have felt like a victim to that challenge, where you lost money, lost an important relationship, got fired, failed miserably at something. The survival brain is programmed to feel like a victim in those situations, a victim of others behavior, a victim of circumstance, in short a victim of life. Then, you might decide you’re not going to trust life anymore. It’s like a friend who ends up betraying you. So you say, That’s it I’m no longer going to be friends with life. I’ve certainly gone down that road before. It was only when I decided to reframe the experience as learning journey, and forgive life for giving me that experience, and forgive myself for any way that I handled it wasn’t the best, that’s when the learning actually integrated, became wisdom, and then the challenge dissolved away. I’ve seen that happen so many times now, that as soon as a big challenge comes into my life, immediately I look at what I’m meant to learn and put all my focus there, instead of feeling like a victim to it.
Of course, that also means going back to past experiences where you felt like a victim, and going through that forgiveness process, learning the lesson, which allows you to grow, and move on. Often that means you also don’t have to repeat it. If you keep dealing with the same challenges over and over again, big clue, you haven’t learned the lesson. Commit to learning the lesson, even if you don’t know what it is yet, and you may never have to deal with the challenge again. That’s why re-interpreting the meaning you’ve given to past experiences can be one of the most life habits you ever cultivate. Because the truth is, often the hardest experiences in life gave you the biggest gifts, if you really think about it, and you really let the learning happen. In fact, in all my studies of resiliency in organizations, the people who had the biggest challenges in life had the most resilience. The people with few challenges in life, crumpled at the sign of any challenge. Now I did encounter people who had lots of challenges who didn’t grow, and just stayed bitter. The truly resilient people chose to rebuid trust with Life, and let Life help them, because they believed that life ultimately wanted them to win.
One thing we also noticed with resilient people who more often successfully achieved their goals was that they let themselves feel the positive feelings of achievement now, before actually achieving the goal. Have you ever booked a vacation and then enjoyed the anticipation of the vacation more than the actual vacation? Same phenomenon. As soon as you set the possibility and you start believing in the possibility, you don’t even have to wait until you achieve it to enjoy it. Isn’t that interesting? Enjoying all your goals as a work-in-progress is the key. The paradox is to set outrageous goals AND be happy at the same time with what you have now.
Staying in a perpetual state of frustration because you haven’t reached your goal defeats the purpose of life. Choose to love the process. The true purpose of any goal is the journey of growing into the person who is worthy of the goal. That’s why you can’t hate your way to success. You can’t stress your way to freedom. If you do, you’ll either block your success or reach the top and hate the view. One tip I often share with my coaching clients is to continually ask yourself, how can I better enjoy the journey towards my goals and dreams? In some senses, that’s the only question that matters, because, as soon as you set a goal, if you feel yourself tightening up, you’ve defeated the purpose of doing it in the first place.
For example, I’ve had many people come to me saying they threw their lives away to create their business. They did it at the expense of their health, at the expense of their family and friends. That’s a trap I help many people resolve, and sometimes it’s hard to resolve that on your own. As soon as you stop loving it, you have inner work to do to realign yourself with the vision.
Some people live from this underlying fear that the world is out to get them. You can tell by how they act, there’s a constant tension, vigilant, furtive energy to their interactions…always on the look out for what’s trying to get them. I’ve certainly lived my life that way in the past. Of course it’s important to stay present to imminent dangers, but staying like that most of the time makes it very hard to wake up, grow and learn. You’re too often in the primitive brain and not connected to the higher mind. What can help a person break free from that constant anxiety is this notion that we’re just in a game, and that LIFE wants you to win that game, and there’s lots of help if you ask for it. And not only that, but LIFE needs you to be part of it, it loves you, cares for you, and anything that seems harsh…in the big, big picture may have a benevolent, loving purpose. If you look for that, you often find it.
I know that can be hard to see in certain situations, but meditating on it a while can unveil previously before hidden gifts. Of course most stories have a villain and a hero, the black hats and the white hats. The black hats challenge you to grow and the white hats come along as allies when you need them. Both are necessary for the ultimate game of growth. But if only look at it with black and white thinking… you can get stuck on the path.
Sometimes when I offer this perspective people say something like… “That’s heartless. You don’t understand the pain and suffering I’ve felt and that others have felt. It’s very real. It’s not a game.”
First off, it’s so interesting to me that people talk like that to people they don’t know. They make an assumption that they know everything you’ve experience or haven’t. So, just for the record I’ve had my share of trauma, as we all have had, as humans living in this messed up world. And I’ve coaching and counselled many people who’ve experienced unspeakable things. And while compassion is important here, to leave them feeling like a victim all their lives, or to leave myself feeling like a victim, is a huge disservice. It just reinforces the pain and keeps a person stuck.
One of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but the most beneficial was to let go of feeling like a victim, where I was solely blaming external circumstances for what was going on in my life. It was the most freeing and powerful thing I’ve ever experienced. So, while it’s true that at one level that these challenges and suffering are very real, it feels very real, and is not ‘just a game’. But to stay there and not be willing to look at it from any other perspective is so very disempowering. To be able to look at it from this higher 30,000 foot view can help you see your life as a mythic journey with intense challenges to help you grow, rather than feeling like life beat you down and you can never recover. Some of the most beneficial people in society are those who’ve faced intense hardship, healed from it, and now help others do the same. If you’ve never gone through those challenges you’re not as able to help others…because you don’t really understand what they’ve gone through, you haven’t crossed to the other side yourself. So, the most resilient, strong, wise people I’ve studied and worked with are those that can look at challenges from many perspectives, and as I said…not get stuck in black and white thinking. The clients I worked with who could do that went onto to heal, grow and help others in unbelievably helpful ways.
So, the good news, is that from what I’ve seen, people are waking up from the virtual reality game called LIFE, seeing what has been true and false in their own lives and in the happenings of the world. But it’s been a circuitous journey through a maze to find it, and sometimes when you think you’ve found it, Ah ha! I found the way, you realize you were wrong, and it’s now time to go another way, see it in another way. And a lot of the Ah Ha’s come in non linear, non logical ways. If you look at movies, games, novels, stories – it’s often the deeper symbolism, the analogies, the non-linear aspects that stir the soul. And it’s not just in these fictional formats, it’s in our everyday lives both personally and globally…the numbers, the symbols, the archetypal characters, the plotlines, the themes of our lives – therein lies the clues.
In the end it’s about your learning, activation and growth, rising above the duality, seeing things from fresh eyes. So, a great question to ask yourself – How can I better build the muscle of wisdom needed to rise to the next level? So, don’t ask from the ego perspective what’s the right path because it will likely send you on the wrong path – seeking shallow ends like approval, control, safety, convenience… but instead from the perspective of what the soul needs to grow which is usually about letting all that go..and doing what’s right in your heart. That’s what seems to be a path freedom and to waking up from the game and achieving what your soul came here to do in the first place.
This podcast episode, by the way, is based on Chapter 15, the last chapter, of my book, MindStory Inner Coach. If you’d like more tools like this, go to MindStoryAcademy.com or find the book on Amazon. You’ll also see the link to that in the show notes. Along with the book, you also get two short guided audios that are called neuro-blueprints. They are form of mental rehearsal that open up communication between your conscious and subconscious mind to deepen this relationship with Life. One is called how to end self sabotage. The other is called your hero’s journey, which is about reframing the challenges of your life in terms of a mythic adventure and how those challenges have forged you in the fire of wisdom to now help others. Sometimes that’s hard to see until you do a process like this.
We also offer personal coaching for people who want the on-going accountability and customization of this kind of material so you see results much quicker. You can see that on the coaching tab at MindStoryAcademy.com.
And, if you’re looking for these principles explored in a page-turning fantasy novel, check out the award-winning book Helio Tropez at GoldenAgeTimeline.com.
So that’s it for today. Until we talk again, just remember each morning when you wake up…that life wants you to win…and move into your day with that in your heart…and you may find a whole different kind of day unfold before you. Until next time, thanks for listening.