The internet is full of quotes (and Tweets) from everyone’s favorite investor-turned-philosopher, Naval Ravikant.
One I came across recently speaks to the way people approach living their lives:
Life is a single player game. You’re born alone. You’re going to die alone. All of your interpretations are alone. All your memories are alone. You’re gone in three generations and no one cares. Before you showed up nobody cared. It’s all single player.
I buy into this. You can take your personal interpretation of this into a dark and depressing place, or you can embrace it.
I think it’s liberating – no one really cares about your game, because they are playing their own. So you can release your worry about what other people are going to think about what you say, what you do, how you dress…
No one cares!
Sure, the bitter, jaded people may ridicule you if you try to be above mediocre. But why should you care?
And that’s not even the biggest insight to me about this single-player game…the bigger insight is in the nature of help and collaboration.
Lately when I’ve felt upset or frustrated, I’ve been digging deeper into why I feel that way. And most of the time, it’s because something didn’t go my way.
How could this happen? Why wasn’t I chosen? Why didn’t this person do what I wanted them to? I didn’t deserve this. I deserved better.
Time and time again, my frustration comes from a place of entitlement. From a loss in my own single player game. I feel like I was owed a different outcome. I deserve it!
I’ve become much happier by rejecting the notion that anybody owes me anything. You can’t expect people to act in accordance to what you want, they will only operate in what they believe to be their best interest.
Even when making short term sacrifices, people are optimizing for their own long-term outcomes.
And that is your opportunity.
Imagine playing Super Mario, being down to your last life, and some external character comes in and gifts you another life.
What? Where did that come from? How did that happen? Wow this is amazing!
That can be you, popping into someone else’s single-player game. In The Art of Possibility, this is called being a “contribution” to the world around you.
And it’s so easy to do this. It’s so easy to see someone playing their own game and be a power up for them.
Look at Twitter right now – it’s a whole feed of people playing their own single player game in public. They are making their move, playing their cards, and hoping it helps their score.
It’s so cheap to be a power up. You can send an intro. You can share someone’s article, video, or event. You can just retweet them!
There are so many people pouring their heart into their work. They courageously share it with the world and are immediately greeted with deafening silence.
And the worst part? People are seeing the work. They are listening to it. And yet, we keep right on going with our single player game, never acknowledging or encouraging the creator.
You can be different. You can take a short break from your game, pop into someone else’s and be a power up.
Isn’t that what you would want someone else to do?