A coach once said to us, “So there is this thing called the game of life. It’s a bit like a horse race. There’s your favourite horse, you bet on the likelihood of your favourite win. You can either bet £5 or you can bet your house on that horse. If you bet £5 it doesn’t matter to you much if your horse lost, but if you bet your house on that horse, well that’s different. You will go to the stable, talk to the owner, make sure the jockey is a good one, check the ground. There is something different when you bet something big, something is at stake. So in the game of your life what are you betting on? What’s at stake for you? Your house or £5?”
Everyone said “my house” but that was what everyone said but most never meant it. A few actually did and their results were outstanding, but most including me didn’t. And we slogged on looking for the magic formulas or “the secret” to success.
And then the place I was working at offered redundancies, and I was on a 4 year part time diploma course to learn Shiatsu (the Japanese massage), this was the beginning of year 3 and I was passionate about Shiatsu wanting it to be my career so said “me please!”. But most people were appalled that they were offered redundancy. “How would I pay my mortgage?” “What would I do?” Will I ever get another job?”
I thought “yippee this is my chance to do what I want to do, work for myself and be my own boss!” So I said “yes please, I’ll take it.” And I put an advert on Gum Tree and people called. And that year (2007 – 2008) I had a business and made enough money to pay for the final year of my course and live without doing anything else.
Then I understood the principle of “Betting my house on the game of life”. If there is no risk there is absolutely no reward. But if it is risky what we are risking seem to be our fear of failing. “What if we fail?” “What if we didn’t make it?”
Well most people never get, if we failed or didn’t make it we can learn why not and then get back on playing the game. That is how progress happens.
People want everything assured and guaranteed and all eventualities covered so stay still and don’t make moves. Don’t act on their passion. And some people don’t even have a “passion” it’s just work. But in the process lose the sense of vitality and adventure of life. It becomes about paying the mortgage and keeping a job and then the economy crashes and you get made redundant anyway. Or you are so successful and there is nothing to risk anymore in your comfy job you are dying of boredom.
In the play “Midnight of the soul” by M D Larson, the character of Thomas says “I worry I have done everything wrong… what if I took the wrong turn? Can I go back? Start over again? Or is it Do not pass… Go straight to jail… I need a get out of jail free card.”
That’s right, in our safe comfortable life (even if it is uncomfortable we someone how seem to tolerate it), it gets to be stressful and overwhelming. We seem to be running to stand still.
Following a passion and taking a risk requires courage. The risk of “What if” doesn’t really exist out there other than in your head. The risk out there is life or death, success or failure. But failure is not the same as death we seem to think it is.
I have failed and many very successful people, much more successful than I have failed. But what they have is consistency. So if anything, get out of jail free card seems to be consistency.
So in the game of your life, what is your passion and what are you betting on?