The Game of Life

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I was an avid gamer.

You could say I was an all-rounded, multitalented gamer who had mastered a variety of game genres: action, adventure, role-playing, strategy, and card games.

In fact, there was a time when I made profits from a mobile phone trading card game. I sold off my account which contained many of the rare cards and currency of the game.

While games are fun and entertaining, there are lessons and values we can take away from playing games. In more ways than one, managing our life and finances is akin to playing a game. We can mirror the strategies we use in games and apply the lessons/values as well.

Knowing the Rules of The Game

Every game has its own set of rules and regulations.

Knowing the rules and regulations helps the players avoid giving free points to their opponent.
Knowing the rules and regulations reduces the possibility of having an injury.
Knowing the rules and regulations ensures a healthy game.
Knowing the rules and regulations will lead to a fair and orderly game.

A game is only as good as its rules, and how well we play the game is defined by how well we follow the rules.

3 Simple Rules

In the Game of Life, these are the 3 simple rules that I live by:

A) Do what you love. Love what you do.

Life is short. We do not know what tomorrow may bring or where we’ll end up. So why waste our time on something or someone that doesn’t make us happy?

B) Do unto others what you want others to do unto you

This Golden Rule is the principle of treating others as one wants to be treated. It’s also sometimes called the ethic of reciprocity. Reciprocity means acting in a way that’s cooperative and benefits all who are involved.

Although it may seem really simple, it’s obviously not as easy as it sounds. If everyone observed the Golden Rule, then there would be far fewer problems in the world today.

C) Do what you can. Use what you have. Start where you are.

If you can’t fly, then run.
If you can’t run, then walk.
If you can’t walk, then crawl.
Whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.

All of us have God-given talents and abilities. And with the talents and abilities that we have, we do what we can and God will do the rest and multiply them.

Play to win or play not to lose

Playing not to lose is an avoidance strategy and while it may protect you from the potential pain of negative feedback, it’s a costly approach. Every time you fail to live up to the true commitments you make to yourself and others, you undermine your self-confidence. You also undermine your success by suppressing your natural potential. You hamper your influence and ability to produce potentially game-changing results.

If you are playing not to lose, you’re cautious and likely pessimistic in your approach. Perhaps driven by what scares you. Your brain builds up cortisol (stress hormone). You are defensive. You guard your weaknesses. You keep low visibility. You play it safe. You channel your energy to maintaining the status quo. Instead of using all your personal and leadership power to tilt things in your direction, you overanalyze things which usually leads to procrastination. You want to avoid mistakes, so you hold back.

It’s precisely the holding back stance that prevents you from playing with every fiber of your heart and soul for the best possible outcome. You suppress your natural capabilities.

Your disbelief in your ability to win brings forward a negative focus. This too becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, the more you fixate on the negative outcomes, the more likely they come to fruition. When you are playing not to lose, you will miss opportunities. You will experience more regrets which subsequently reduce your ability to get back into a winning mindset.

Playing to win is entirely different than playing not to lose.

If you are playing to win, your energy is volcanic and channeled into doing whatever is necessary to move things forward. You possess absolute conviction that you will win. You are energized. Your energy is infectious. Your brain creates oxytocin and dopamine (the feel-good chemicals) you need to win. You have no doubts or fear. You focus on making the best out of your strengths. You don’t make excuses for anything. You take calculated risks. You are resourceful. You look for every opportunity and advantage you have for leverage. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, the more you fixate on the positive outcomes, the more likely they come to fruition. You know exactly where you want to be, and you play to that goal or target, not where you are. You are driven by a force that is unstoppable.

In a nutshell:
When we are playing to win, we are doing whatever is necessary to move things forward. When we are playing not to lose, we are probably over-cautious and holding back and fearful that anything we do will put the deal at risk.

Are you playing to win? Or are you playing not to lose?

Sometimes we win, sometimes we learn

Far too many people view failure as a negative thing, but nothing could be further from the truth.

As an Enneagram Type 3 personality, it is in my nature that I want to win in everything. I am competitive, ambitious, and goal-oriented. It is my deepest fear of being insignificant or a failure. To cope with this fear, I look for ways to win in life, be it by hook or by crook, to reassure myself that I am valuable.

But the fact of the matter is, we don’t always win.

There is a Chinese saying: 人上有人 天外有天. It means that there is always someone better than us. And we are not perfect. There will be times when we make mistakes.


Losing is hard, and it is especially hard when we unconsciously correlate our loss to our sense of self-worth. But the truth is there is no such thing as losing so long as we have the right mindset to learn from our mistakes. People who have the humility to learn from their failures are destined to achieve elevated levels of success and those who are too headstrong to admit their mistakes, those who choose pride rather than humility, are ultimately destined to fall flat.

3 Takeaways we can apply in the Game of Life

A) Learn from our mistakes

The hard thing to do is look ourselves in the mirror and try to self-analyze what we could have done differently to avoid this mistake and then move forward.

B) Learn something new every day

When we learn, we grow.

There is another Chinese Saying: 三人行 必有我师. It emphasizes that there is something to learn from almost anybody.

C) Learn to fail

 The only way wisdom is gained is via real-life experience and trial and error. Remember, losing can be a powerful teacher so long as we learn from their mistakes. Allow ourselves to fail, and pick back up after that.

Solo or Teamwork

If you want to go fast, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together.

In many MMORPGs, there are times where players have to work together for a certain quest or they have to fight alongside to defeat the Boss Villain.

Sometimes it is not just about winning, but it is about winning together.

Throughout my life and career, I’ve seen it proven again and again, the lasting solutions are ones where all the stakeholders can find common ground, earn trust and work together. We help people today – but not at the expense of people or nature tomorrow.

Our Wealth Advisory Group has come a long way, with our director clinching the Top Financial Services Associate Director in 2020. But she did not get there alone. This was only possible through collaboration between communities, and partnerships with other like-minded businesses. It was a challenging journey and one we took and built together.

At the end of the day, we must realize that we are all interconnected in one way or another. No one is an island. And we all need one another.

Life is Not a Race

Life is not a race, and while we so easily measure ourselves by who has the most likes, the most beautiful features, or the busiest schedule, it is the full life that ultimately wins the game.

In the Game of Life, the player who finishes first gets a bonus, but they do not necessarily come out on top. So while it’s easier to spend energy comparing our lives with others’ standards, the most fulfilling way to spend our time is making and achieving our own goals.

Junwen Chen

Junwen Chen

As a coach and consultant in the financial industry, I equip my clients with empowering knowledge that enables them to make wise, informed decisions across financial aspects of life. Here are 7 simple financial concepts that will help you create more wealth in your life and coaching business immediately.

Junwen Chen

Junwen Chen

As a coach and consultant in the financial industry, I equip my clients with empowering knowledge that enables them to make wise, informed decisions across financial aspects of life. Here are 7 simple financial concepts that will help you create more wealth in your life and coaching business immediately.

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