Random Rants: Rules of the game
Disclaimer: All Random Rants have minimal editing and a general disregard for flow
I am by no means a master of the game of life, to be honest I can really suck at it. I’ve learned some rules that I don’t see discussed often. One rule is that the game is played for the greatest amount of happiness or peace for the greatest amount of people.
Almost anything you want is in service of this end. For example, we only want money because we think it will make us happier. . The issue is that you cant place so much of your happiness on externals. The fundamental basis of your happiness should be internal. What that means is not basing it on where you have or haven’t travelled to, what girls/guys you banged, how much money you made, how good you’re at X etc.. Playing this kind of game is subjecting yourself to infinite variance. Our minds are generally primitive. Meaning it’s better at finding negatives than positives. Our primitive minds care more about survival and reproduction than happiness. I remember hearing that our primitive brain views the negative but harmless events as life threatening in some way. Perhaps it treats it the same way on some level….idk.
Life and poker are similar but also quite different. The big difference is that in poker the options are known (bet, check, call, fold, raise) and there are few. In life there can be inifinite options (if you want to get really subtle) for a single decision point. There will almost always be options you didn’t consider and there can easily be 10 options in a situation where you think there is only 2.
Figuring out your options is going to be a valuable skill. I’m not sure how to find them all though. I guess sometimes there can be only 2 but I think that’s rare. In poker you never have more than 5 or 6. In life you can have 100s.
The other issue is outcomes. In poker you have 1 goal, make money. In life your outcomes are quite variable. For example at a poker table someone was playing slow and it was pissing another guy off, he let it slide a few times and eventually he snapped at him got in an argument. Afterwards he asked me what he should’ve done. I should’ve replied with asking what are the outcomes he wants? The obvious outcome is for him to play faster but he was also pretty angry so perhaps another outcome was to blow off some steam to feel better. Is one of his outcomes to avoid an argument or remain on good terms with the other guy? The answer to these questions can open up or close many options.
Try asking yourself what outcome you want next time in your argument, you’ll be so confused. Good poker players know the outcome they want all the time (it’s not always to win the pot), I think this needs to a life practice to the point where it becomes subconscious. It’s just much more difficult.
The other issue is the greater amount of ripple or butterfly effect in life. In poker there is some of this, for example, I saw a reg make a terrible call vs another reg without any history (he just sat down). I was told after he busted that they always battle and fuck with each other. That’s a ripple effect, the previous crazy bluffs he made, literally made him money perhaps weeks or months after they happened.
In life this effect is bigger and unknown as well. It’s bigger because how you treat others affect how they treat you and you often deal with the same people on a day to day basis. So there is this constant loop or cycle. The unknown is the crazier part, how does health affect your life in the long term? I mean down to every day interactions with people? The way you affect people affects the way they treat others. Did you ever have someone make you angry and then take it out on someone else or go around people in a terrible mood. That in turn affects the people you’re around and then it affects the people they interact with and so on.
There all these other cycles too: good decisions beget good decisions, knowledge begets knowledge, happiness begets happiness (in general), apathy begets apathy etc.. What I mean is that as a general rule that whenever you do X you increase the probability you’ll do X in the future. If you eat a pizza today you’re more likely to eat a pizza in the future.
What this means practically for you is that you need to be mindful of the long term consequences of your actions, the potential ripple effects. If you judge the value of your decisions by the immediate response you get you’re playing the game wrong. There is always this compensation. It’s a rule. For example, every good experience you have, in theory raises your expectation for future experiences. If you’re used to going to super sick clubs, going to the dive bar next door or the local club is probably less fun. Probably all related activities are less fun. Opportunity cost eats away at the value of your decisions too.
There are still all these unanswered questions, there are these paradoxes like how do you be present while being cognizant of all this? How can you possibly even come close to knowing the affects of the decisions you make? If we’re unsure of what adds value and what doesn’t how do we make decisions?
I think that’s the pull of skill mastery, it’s so easy to see improvement and all improvement is real. You just live in the vacuum of the skill you’re trying to excel at, rather than this infinitely complex interconnected system (life).
What’s most paradoxical, is that all stories, all biographies, all older people we admire have lived a life of struggle and hardship. There is something about pain that builds character. Well the overcoming of it. Are there people who have lived great lives without this? Perhaps the people that do just aren’t advertised. They just live a simple life that isn’t remarkable but quite happy.
Thats the paradox. Avoiding hardship is just like the dumbest thing I guess. Perhaps one should create hardship and struggle. To overcome it. A life of simplicity sucks in a way. Maybe it doesn’t. Im so confused.
How to live is so difficult. There are so many games within the game. Father game, husband game, poker game, health game, happiness/zen/introspection game, money game. Life is simpler when you just play one of them. When you’re broke and just need money it’s simple. You work your ass off and then chill. When you’re just focusing on a skill, or profession job whatever it gets rly simple too. If you cant simplify your life maybe you can simplify your weeks? Maybe you can simplify your day?
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