Struggling with Meaninglessness

searching meaning in meaninglessness

Archive for April 2014

Life Is A Game?

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In The Beginning ….. 

Several years ago, I was a hardcore follower of the political scene in Malaysia. I fervently follow political news everyday back then and can’t help myself but feeling like everything is heading towards doom in Malaysia. Economically, the country’s future is looking bleak and not prospering as we should. In terms of talent, there seems to be a lack of competent people governing the country. And all the news we read daily about corruptions and dumb and illogical statements made by ministers made my blood boil. You know, the usual things which make urban Malaysians very frustrated, sometimes angry.

But soon, I realised I actually got frustrated more by the feeling of frustrations rather than what was going on in the politics. I have always dislike dwelling in negative emotions – sadness, anger, hatred, depression, etc. I’ve always thought these emotions are waste of energy and does very little in contributing anything positive to self. In the words of Frank Underwood, there are two kind of sufferings in this world – suffering which makes you stronger and better, and useless suffering which does nothing but pain.

And politics is like an emotional blackhole which just kept sucking my energy away causing pain and there’s nothing I could directly do to change things.

Finally, I sat down with myself to figure out the main source of my frustration. I knew I had to kill this blackhole monster. It just took me few minutes and the answer was simple really. I’m not really worried about racial tension, riots, inequality, opportunities, etc. It’s the county’s economy. I’m afraid Malaysia will become a poor nation. If the country becomes poor, so will the citizens too. The notion that Malaysia is economically incapable terrifies me because it will snowball all the way to me and affects every aspect of my life.

With this insight, I reconstructed my daily habits since 2010:

  1. I stopped reading political news altogether. For daily happiness.
  2. Political apathy. I no longer side or against any political parties to detach myself emotionally from political stuffs.
  3. Developing my own financial plan. The solution is quite simple actually, if I ever become rich, and even if the country’s economy collapses, I will be relatively less affected compared to people who are not financially capable.

It has been 4 years since the day I stopped following political news. And I’m not exaggerating when I say my life is happier since ditching political news.

I have friends with similar fears about Malaysia, and many jumped ship to another country to ‘escape this imminent doom’. And when my friends asked why am I not considering leaving Malaysia, my answer has always been – Because I like playing game in hard mode.

What initially was a tongue in cheek response slowly made me realised  that I actually applied life-hack on myself back then. And I’m starting to see that no challenges is too difficult to overcome as long as we have the right perspective about it. And my perspective? I’m starting to see all life problems similar to challenges in games which requires the player to be smart and skilful to overcome them.

 The Game 

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The little hacks I applied on myself helped me greatly to level up in two areas over the years. One, it sharpened my objectivity. For example, I realised the economic situation in Malaysia is not as horrible as propagated by most people. And two, I grew to dislike victim mentality, which I believe, many Malaysians are guilty of.

When you start having the perspective to solve every challenges in life like a game, you will start taking problems less personally because in life, challenges are given and expected. Whenever you are faced with an obstacle or challenge, it is not because shit happens, but because it is part of your game’s mission to solve it. There are some things we need to know about the nature of problems/challenges in games:

  1. All games WILL HAVE challenges and obstacles. You cannot escape it. The only way is to face it. Because without challenges, the game is meaningless.
  2. When you play the game, you don’t invest or attach your emotions to solve problems. All problems must be solved objectively, strategically and effectively.
  3. You may fail more than once in the game, and sometimes you will have to will keep trying again and again until you succeed.

The good news is most challenges can be hacked, I believe. You will always need to optimize your solutions or systemise things or finding the most effective path to clear the game.

And to be honest, I find such perspective to be extremely empowering. The fact that everything in this universe which niggles with your emotions or feelings – you can actually kill it off by optimising your life.

The merit of equipping yourself with such mindset:

  1. You will always be  ready to face challenges and problems and taking them in stride.
  2. Less emotional attachment to things hence less fear of failure/embarrassment
  3. Naturally make yourself to think objectively all the time. You will always find the most optimal and efficient ways to solve problems.
  4. Life will be about levelling up and acquiring new skills/abilities.

Recently, I’m beginning to apply this system to my life, area by area. I wished I had gained such perspective much earlier, but I guess, it’s better late than never.

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Written by elan85

April 6, 2014 at 7:58 pm

Posted in Uncategorized