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The Game Of Life

This isn’t the first time that I’m come across situations whereby the behaviour of those involved were indications of significant underlying personal issues have resulted in a less than happy life.  However, it was the first time that the issues surfaced so clearly and so quickly.

Yesterday I attended the “Just Be Me Workshop” at Lionshead Gold & Country Club in Brampton.  The workshop was put on by Chris Cuciurean of LifeLeaders, a business coach and facilitator.  By the way, the food was great and I really liked Chris’ small group approach to facilitation.

Near the end of the day, Chris introduced his main exercise which was reveal our innermost barriers, issues, etc.  I should mention that this exercise was given after a few hours of the seminar participants exploring and dealing with their personal issues.  So, now let me give you the essence of the exercise and what happened – which I think you’ll find interestning.

The facilitator asked the 9 attendees if they wanted to participate in this exercise in which the instructions on how to complete the game would be introduced after the game begun.  All 9 agreed to it.  Then he said “the game has now begun” and read about half a dozen instructions, and two of the instructions required that everyone do two simple tasks that would require very little effort (a 90 year man with a walking stand could participate) to complete within less than 5 minutes and that everyone had to complete their tasks before the game could be complete.

Two of the 9 got it right away and completed their tasks and then discussed business and other items.  The other 7 sat around the table waiting for the game to end without them having done what they had agreed to do.  Discussion started and a leader in the group, myself asked what their interpretation of the instructions were and why they weren’t undertaking the two tasks.  They reply was “we just don’t want to because we don’t feel it’s necessary”.  So, I asked everyone in the group what their intrepretation of the instructions were and if there was another way of completing the tasks.  No one had an answer.  However, as a result of this group discussion one individual suddenly stood up and completed the two tasks.  But, what was really significant about this individual was that I could see in his face and in his body language that he had made a decision.  He had decided to be in action, he had decided to turn his mindset around because clearly it wasn’t getting him what he wanted.  In that moment he turned from a man with obstacles failing in what he wanted to achieve into a man of success letting nothing, no personal issue, no doubt, no baggage stop him from what he needed to do.  It was incredible to watch.  The other 6, especially 4 were so busy having their arms crossed and staring down into their desk that I don’t think they realized the transformation.  If they had, I’m sure they would have realized a few things.  Anyway, within a minute two others got up and did the same thing.

Now there were 4 of the participants remaining who refused to complete their tasks.  I decided to remain quiet this time and more conversation insued in which some interesting comments were made by these individuals.  One said actually referred to me as a “good boy that follows rules” in a way in which I realized that person thought it was derogatory and a bad thing to follow rules.  I wonder how they would feel if their surgeon didn’t follow the rules in the middle of operating on them?  Hmmmm.  Or if a police officer watching them getting mugged or beat up simply didn’t follow his instructions or rules?  Hmmmm?  Another one of the 4 then started attacking the integrity of those that followed instructions because he himself was feeling criticized, yet no one was criticizing him for his decision not to participate.  The comment that had triggered his attack was, “I don’t understand why you 4 are not following the instructions”.

Then finally, one of the four in the discussion let lose a side comment that revealed all.  “But that’s letting go of my freedom of choice”.  Ah ha.  That’s the belief that was causing the spiteful and rebelious reaction from at least 3 of the 4.  I think the 4th was just going along with them because of one point they were the majority and he didn’t have the courage to admit to himself that he had made the wrong choice if he was to accomplish his goal.  But, let’s look at this freedom of choice belief.  That person had the freedom to decide to take the program in order to become a better person and the freedom of choice to decide to participate in the game before she new all the rules.  Yet, that person was wondering why the game didn’t end (in other words why she wasn’t meeting her objective).  Very simply, she didn’t fulfull her end of the agreement or her task, she wasn’t being part of the game.  Just like she may not be involved in her real life and that is why she’s not happy with the results.

I pointed out that a community is a group of individuals working together for common goals and that if we don’t all follow up with our commitments then it won’t work.  That there are benefits in being part of a community, benefits that you wouldn’t have if you did not belong to a community.  I should have made it more clear that they couldn’t both have the benefits of belonging to the community, but yet not fulfilling their end of the agreement because that is what the community is founded on.  However, their were so many emotional triggers with especially 2 of the 4 that they would not allow themselves to hear before interrupting, refuting, refusing and deflecting.  Also, I have worked with personal development long enough to know that when the student is ready they will find the lessons.

So, since 5 of us wanted to complete the game and 4 did not – they chose not to complete the game.  We mutually agreed that the 4 would leave the group and start their own little insurgence.  In fact it was the most bitter and resentful of the group, who ironically raised her hand and said “I’ll be the leader of the insurgence”.  The remaining 5 of us completed the game.  At that point, I could clearly see who those that were going to move past their barriers were and who those who still had to deal with their issues were.  And the amazing thing is that even after such a clear exercise and observations that atleast 3 of those 4 could not realize what had happened.  In their mind, they were successful because they had not taken action, had not participated in the game of life. 

I’m beginning to understand why we are having the big political blunders in our communities these days.  Why there is such a big disconnect between our leaders and the irrational decisions they’re making.  For example, all except for one person I have spoken to in the last month about the upcoming municipal election has stated that they think Mayor Miller is a complete, incompetent idiot.  Althought, they personally don’t know him, they have passed judgement on the decisions he’s made.  My response has consistently been, did you vote at the last municipal election.  In most cases they admitted, they have not.  So, how can you complain if you didn’t participate?

Are you succeeding in “The Game of Life” and if not, what’s holding you back?

Have a great weak and remember that our community and your life only works if you are present and active in it.

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