Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year Over! Insert Coin To Play Again.

Video arcade games circa the 1980s
When I was a kid, there wasn't much I enjoyed more than playing video games in the arcade. I got pretty good at some of them, and I could play a quarter for a long, long time on some of them. But inevitably, I'd make a mistake, lose my last life, and the screen would say something like "Game Over! Do you want to try again?"

Do I want to try again? Are you kidding? If I've still got quarters, I'm going to try again. You know why? Because it was a challenge, and even though I made a few mistakes the last time around, I learned a few things too, and if I just had one more shot at it . . . well, I was convinced I could get a lot further than I did last time around. I won't make that same mistake again.
I see life that same way. I get to the end of the year, and before I pump that next quarter and jump right back into it, I think about what I did last time around. I think about the mistakes I made. I think about how I'm going to improve my strategy going in. I pat myself on the back for the things I did right, and think about the things I need to do better this time around. I think about what I need to do to get to the next level.

Life is a lot like those video games in a lot of ways. You're never going to win that game. There's always another level. There's always a new challenge. It's never going to stay the same. And you're always going to make mistakes the first time you head out into an area you've never gotten to before.
But what a lot of people never learn about life is that it isn't about winning the game. It's about the fun you have playing the game. It's about overcoming the challenges and learning from the mistakes.
Just like in video games, you can either get better at life, or quit playing. And too many of us never learn from the mistakes--we just keep pumping the quarters in, doing the same stupid thing, and finding we get the exact same result. How many times do we have to be shot to pieces by the third alien on the left before we decide to shoot that alien right off the bat next time around? But some people never learn that lesson.

2014 is right there in front of us now. It's new. It's a clean slate. Take a few minutes to think about the last year before you jump right into the new year. Where do you want to be this time next year. Do you still want to be where you are now, or would you like to get a little further along in the game? Are you content to just play where it's easy on the same level, or is it time to finally learn those new skills you need to level up?

Take a few moments and think about where you've been, and where you want to go next year. Most resolutions are broken, because they aren't realistic. So don't make resolutions . . . set a few reasonable goals. If you aren't where you want to be, then set a few goals that will get you there.

Happy New Year!


Todd E. Creason is an author and novelist whose work includes the award-winning non-fiction historical series Famous American Freemasons and the novels One Last Shot (2011) and A Shot After Midnight (2012). He's currently working on the third novel Shot to Hell which will be released in Spring 2014. You can contact Todd E. Creason at: webmaster@toddcreason.org

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