During one of my recent therapy sessions, my therapist told me that she believed life (and to an extent this whole planet/place) is made just to test us. It’s here to help us grow and learn, and that all of the strife and struggle we go through is merely to make us stronger. To help us get to the next level. She recommended I consider this the next time I got upset, or felt my emotions charging my actions. That perhaps it would be easier for me to do what is best for the situation if I realized this is only a test. I considered her words, and I came up with this.
Life is like an RPG.
Seriously. It is. For those of you who don’t know what an RPG is, it is a “role playing game”. In these games, you create a character, and you get to choose your actions based off of your character’s parameters. Many times you will run around and do things for people, and you usually have to talk to every. single. person. ever. In these conversations, you usually get to pick what your response is. And generally speaking, it follows a simple pattern:
- Response 1: Nice, heroic, concerned response
- Response 2: Neutral or funny guy response
- Response 3: Asshole response
Based off of what you’re trying to do, you pick the response that will get the result that you want. If you need to harden someone, you might pick number 3. If you’re trying to get into another character’s pants, you’ll probably pick response 1 all the time. I’ve even gone so far as to play a whole game choosing nothing but the third response- just to see how the story changes when you’re a complete dick to everyone.
What I’m trying to get at is you pick your words based off of what you’re trying to get done. It’s a means to an end. There aren’t a whole lot of emotions in picking your responses. You don’t get angry or emotionally distraught when some peasant screams at you belligerently and falsely accuses you of stealing their pigs or something. Instead you take the good guy route and nicely figure out what he means, or you laugh at him as you pick the asshole response. There isn’t a lot of emotions tied to what you’re doing. You’re using the responses to best suit your needs in each situation.
So why isn’t life that way?
How many times in your life have you let your stomach dictate what comes out of your mouth? How many times can you recall letting a bad situation (an argument or disagreement) get to you and then turning and lashing out at someone else who isn’t even involved (aka an innocent bystander)? Can you recall how many times you’ve said something out of spite or anger that you regret later?
Perhaps if we treated life more like an RPG, we wouldn’t have so many of these situations. You could do like the Twix commercials- someone says something that sparks an emotion in you. Pause for a moment to figure out what is actually going on. See if it really is smart to select Response 3. Or if perhaps being calm in the situation would actually make everything better.
I’m considering calling this “Think twice, Speak once”.
Much like ‘measure twice, cut once’, if you consider your options first, you’ll only have to say your piece once, as opposed to multiple times trying to rectify whatever came out the first time. Always giving into our stomachs for our speech leads to quick reactions that only cloud up the situation. It causes us more stress and strife than if we were all to take a step back and assess the situations we encounter without emotion.
This all really reminds me of Super-Nanny. In Super-Nanny, you often see parents at the end of their ropes. They’re trying to be adults and be good parents to their children. Yet these kids are able to drag the parents right down to their level. The parent starts to scream, the kid screams back and it’s a whole downhill slide from there. When she comes in to work with these parents, she constantly has to tell them not to get emotional. That you are the adult. You need to remain calm. That if your anger interferes, it won’t work. If you’re too emotional, take a breath, walk away and come back with a clear head to discipline your child. But the whole moral of the story is don’t react. Act. It’s a lot like an RPG, really. Your words and actions are taking you to a certain result that you want (the child behaving). You say what you need to say or have to say in order to get your children to mind. And you don’t decide that because they are screaming you need to scream too. (This actually reminds me of this link I found when researching Unconditional Love).
Imagine what could be if you applied that to every situation in your life. Imagine if everyone you knew did that too. Imagine how much simpler situations might become if everyone applied ‘think twice and speak once’.
And they say that games can’t teach you anything.