Playing someone else’s game is a sure way to stifle the human spirit. Whatever the dangled carrot, there is always a hidden stick waiting to strike if you deviate from their terms. Play your game on your terms. Whatever the difficulties, at least you hold your own stick!
Employment and beyond
Being dragged into playing someone else’s game is the default setting for how much of society functions. We are pulled this, that and the other way— squeezed to fit some pre-ordained role. And, there is no better example of living on someone else’s terms than corporate employment.
Whatever the rewards, you are beholden to a stick, their stick. You lose real control over your time and your actions, and this is deeply uncomfortable. Indeed, it was this feeling that led me to leave my job 5 years ago. No more conference calls with Australia at 8am. No more putting-up with decisions at the top that I didn’t agree with.
Living on your own terms goes beyond the realm of employment too. I was starkly reminded of this when I self-published my first book earlier this year. After just a couple of conversations with agents and publishers, I realised how they wanted me to play their game. To fit myself into their idea of what a non-fiction writer should be. No, thanks! I’m not going to edit my writing to satisfy some corporate bureaucrat. I’d rather do things my way, on my own terms.
Beyond playing someone else’s game
Living on your own terms is a choice, and it has its own costs. There is no free lunch. Like Chuang Tzu’s wild fowl, I’d rather be free, than play someone else’s game. And, this is a choice that will have to be made over and over again in life, countless times! You have to decide for yourself what you want to do.
Whose game do you want to play?
Harsha is a 1:1 coach and independent thinker based in London. He empowers people to find more clarity, confidence and focus in their lives — to cut through the noise, in a world so full of it. Harsha’s new book, Machine Ego: Tragedy of the Modern Mind, is now available in paperback and Kindle through Amazon.