Let the Games Begin

A recent Gallup poll revealed that 55% of all US employees are bored at work.

And yet, as you read this, there are millions of people all over the world engaging in role plays on the internet. (Stop that! I am not talking about porn sites!) If you play any sort of game electronically, you are a gamer. Yes, computer solitaire counts. (I once heard a comic say, “I just bought a computer. Basically, it’s a $1,500 deck of cards!”)

Gaming is a multi-billion dollar industry! When I heard that, I began to ponder what it means when people prefer make-believe to reality. And why create an artificial game when life itself is so challenging?

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with gaming. I think it serves a wonderful purpose and besides, it can be loads of fun. I also know that many of you hide out, wasting precious time playing electronic games as a way to avoid the things that are most important. Here’s the irony:

Everything you are looking for in artificial games can be found in the work you do every day!

Here are the components of any game involving other players:

– As part of your strategy, you assume an identity you believe will produce the desired results (My father was a poker player. His personality at the poker table was different than at home.)

– It’s important to figure out who, among the other players can be useful to you (i.e., has complementary objectives) and who is your opposition (has opposing objectives)

– You succeed at the game to the extent that you are able to keep your objectives clearly in mind and develop the strategies to achieve them.

– Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.

– There’s always another game.

What a great description of WORK!!!

Die-hard gamers welcome the difficulty of the games they play – the more difficult the better. Victory is much sweeter when you’ve faced obstacles and found your way around them.

Why is that true for a game when we vehemently avoid these same sorts of difficulties at work?

My dream is that one day every one of you has work you enjoy so much that you say, “Thank God it’s Monday!” (Okay, stop laughing – it’s possible!) In order to get there, it is critical to embrace the reality of day-to-day life and figure out ways to make it so interesting that you don’t need artificial games to have a good time.

Here are some ways to set up work as a game:

– Beat your personal best. If you’ve always achieved an objective within a certain time frame, see how much time you can shave off.

– Develop a different strategy. Just because something has always worked doesn’t mean you can’t find an even better way to do it. Experiment and see if you can improve your methods.

– Find the lazy way. Laziness is responsible for many of the greatest inventions of all time. How would a lazy person approach your work? Are you making it more difficult than it need be?

– Achieve better results. Maybe you’re already lazy and have found a way to do the least amount of work. How can you achieve better results in the same time and with the same amount of effort?

Those bored workers can create games at work that will make them AND their employers enthusiastic and happy. Let your mind wander into plotting mode. Let your imagination run free. And LET THE GAMES BEGIN!

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