Let’s Win!

For those of you who don’t know already, I have a blog crush. Every time this blogger hits publish, my heart flutters. Like the boy who finally gets the nerve to ask the girl who has been dancing all night for a dance, I usually get turned down when I approach these triple Freshly Pressed celebrities. But this blogger has more heart than the average dancing queen, so she agreed to guest blog for EverydayGurus. I can’t think of a more appropriate guest blogger, since this blog is about spreading the peace and her blog is about spreading the love. I’m so honored to present the incredible Rarasaur.

p.s. The related articles links below are my doing, not Rarasaur trying to drum up traffic which she doesn’t need. Please check out the magic in these other posts by the most popular dinosaur on wordpress.

Related Articles

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Video games can be a great framework for solution-oriented thinking, and perhaps my experience with them is to blame for my constant desire for a game plan. When I hear things like, “Let’s reclaim humanity”, I don’t want to talk about how we’ve lost sight of kindness, or the good ol’ days, or oil spills, or human trafficking.

I want to talk about what we can do, right now, to win it back.  Here’s how it’d look different if we treated our big issues like a well-coordinated video game.

THE PRIORITIZATION AND IMPORTANCE OF GOALS

ghostIn a video game environment, let’s say the goal is finding a ghost pirate. A first tier goal would be learning how to sail a ship to the island. A second tier goal would be becoming a pirate so you would be able to sail the ship.

You’re not playing the game right if you make finding grog the whole point. Nor can you seek out the ghost pirate if you skip the first or second tiered goals.

It’s important that you see all the missions, but that you keep the big win in mind– because you don’t want to become so focused on a mini goal that you destroy your ship and thus any chance of finding the ghost pirate.

There’s a balance, and a big picture– and an ever-present list of everything that is important.

We need something similar to solve the world. What do we want? In a sentence, what is the big picture goal?  World peace? Happiness? No more hunger? Literacy? An educated world peoples united in our love for mother Earth?

The next step: what tasks do we need to accomplish in order to achieve our goals?

THE CONSCIOUS CHOOSING OF ENEMIES

hqdefaultIn a video game, it’s easy to feel like the bartender is your enemy because he doesn’t supply you with the information you need in the first mission. You’ll be prompted to choose your response– you can thank him anyway, or toss your drink in his face.

In real life, we do a lot of drink tossing. When someone explains that their agenda is different from our own– when someone risks saying that they voted Republican, or that they’re more concerned with the gun control than feminism, or when they feel like farming is the most important industry in the world– we very often burn our bridges with them. We dramatize their status as enemies. We say that they don’t understand, that they’re keeping us down, and that they are standing in our way.

But if you’ve ever played a video game, you know what happens in the next scene.

That’s right, the bartender becomes your best ally. You were kind, and now you have his trust.

There’s no underestimating the power of kindness, and there’s no benefit to seeing bad guys everywhere you look.  We need to stop and think– has destroying opposing opinions, and converting non-believers, become more important than achieving our unified goal?

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF LIMITATIONS

You are powerful, and your strength is infinite. However, not all resources are so grounded in eternity. Money, skills, and time are all in short supply. The truth is, though, most people manage fine without all of them– or even most of them– and in some cases, any of them.

In a video game, it’s not uncommon to come across a village of people who don’t speak your language. You can’t just start talking and expect results. You have to find a translator, or you have to learn the language. You are limited by both skill and time, and it’s something you simply have to accept. Once you accept it, you can change it.

oblivion_skillsIt’s much the same in real life. Just talking doesn’t solve problems because you’re so often speaking to people who may not understand. It’s a limitation, but it’s one we can overcome with patience.

Because of limitations, it’s also not healthy in a game to spread your skill points around. For example, if you have 5 players on your team, and 10 coins that could make someone into a full-blown wizard– there would be no point in giving each player 2 coins that would only allow them a minor magic level. Allocation of your resources is something that a gamer can spend hours on, but in real life– we breeze by. We regularly mis-allocate our limited resources. We throw our money at a cause without really thinking of what it’s doing, or where it’s going. We do the same with our time and skill.

We have to ask ourselves: At what point is donating to awareness taking away from donating to research or charity-to-person action? What does winning a governmental presence do for our big picture if we don’t have one?  Should we be spending fundraising dollars inwards, or in partnerships? Are we preaching to people in a language they don’t understand?

THERE’S NEVER TOO MUCH EDUCATION

Skyrim_TrainingIt’s not uncommon in games to be stopped by people wanting to show you how to sword fight, or make grog, or use intergalactic time portals. It seems random, and fanciful, but it’s really not.

Life has many opportunities for education, too. A gamer never passes an opportunity for education, because you never know when you’ll discover the missing puzzle piece that helps you win the game.

If you think you can’t change the world, educate yourself.  Learn how much impact every one of your actions has, regardless of whether you are the hero or side-kick.

And when you begin to understand that (like a gamer in a game environment) you change your surroundings simply by existing in them– continue to educate yourself so the changes you make push us towards the win.

We can do it!

YouWin

Assuming all things are possible, what is big goal should the world be working towards? Do you have any tricks for seeing friends where ego and fear might make you see enemies? How do you continue your life-long education?

humanity, lost

Two things instantly attracted me to djmatticus–his compassion as a husband and a father and his uncanny ability to use the perfect quote from movies that I love. One of the great things about blogging is that you get to “meet” role models of the people you want to become. Matticus is one of those bloggers. When I want to be a better parent, spouse, writer, and human, I head over to his blog: http://thematticuskingdom.wordpress.com/

I’ve lured Matticus out of his kingdom for a little joust at EverydayGurus. He faces you today “as God intended. Sportsmanlike. No tricks, no weapons, skill against skill alone.”

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If you’ve spent any amount of time with me, you will have learned that despite my optimistic outlook, my general silliness, and my overall belief that life is one grand adventure, I am fond of saying that we are doomed.  Look around.  Common sense is a relic.  Doing the right thing is an ancient artifact.  Consideration, reason, logic have become little more than words that I like to take out from time to time, let them taste the air, before I safely hide them away to keep them secure until the world is ready for them again.

Is that too harsh?  Unfair?  Do you think I’m exaggerating?

Perhaps I am.  Perhaps I am taking our lost humanity to an absurd level, because we all know there are good people out there.  We know this, because we know we are good ourselves, right?  Do any of you ever look in the mirror and say, “Yes, I am a terrible person, inhuman, and that’s exactly how I want to be…”?  Of course not.  We may see our flaws staring back at us, but we recognize them as flaws and we hope to be better even if we don’t do anything to actively pursue becoming better.

So, if we don’t see ourselves as having stepped away from the traits that build out our humanity, how can we assume that anyone else has either.  All those monsters we hear about through media, that lady one lane over still talking on her cellphone while she swerves into you, the guy that zips into the parking spot you’ve been waiting patiently to open up, the person at the checkout who waits until everything is wrung up before taking out their checkbook, the person that didn’t hold that door open for you – none of them think of themselves as less than human.

What’s the solution then?  If we all can see that people are acting less and less like people but no one sees that behavior in themselves, how can we change this steady decline back into being animals?  How do we reclaim our humanity?

It starts with us, of course.  We have to pay attention to the world around us.  We all have responsibilities and concerns and important meetings and things we are running late to and this that and the other.  We all have stresses.  We all have struggles.  We need to recognize that.

When the lady one lane over swerves because she is talking on her phone, take a deep breath, and let her and it go.  When the guy steels the parking spot you were waiting for, you will find another one shortly.  When the person doesn’t pull out their checkbook until after all of their items have been bagged at the grocery store, take those extra few seconds to think of something you are happy about.  When the door shuts in your face because the person ahead of you didn’t notice you and hold it for you, make sure you hold the door open for the person behind you.

These seemingly small and insignificant acts are anything but.  The repercussions are astronomical.  When you let go of your anger and laugh off the near accident you will be more mindful of your surroundings and make sure you don’t make the same mistake the lady with the cellphone did.  When you patiently wait for another parking spot to open up you will realize that those couple extra minutes circling the parking lot really didn’t matter, you waste more time with your head in the fridge each night trying to figure out what you want for dinner.  When you think of something happy while waiting for the check to get written it will be your turn that much quicker and your smile will be infectious.  When you hold the door open for someone else that person will hold it for another and they will hold it for another and it will get passed on.

Reclaiming humanity is not an insurmountable challenge.  We just need to do the simple things that used to be common place.  We need to be patient and understanding and considerate.  We need to go back out into the world and do one good deed every day.

What did you do today?

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