I was watching my kids playing video games recently. I was complimenting them on their progress when I noticed that every so often one of them went to a PC, typed something, focused on the screen before returning to the game and quickly hitting the controls in what seemed to be a very precise sequence. Their character on the screen went crazy, the level ended and much to their joy they moved to the next level of the game. When I asked what they were doing, I received a 'matter of fact' answer that they were getting 'cheats' from the Internet to help them get through the levels faster.
I watched with amazement (and a certain amount of awe at their level of IT savvy) as they passed through the various levels and eventually thread down the controllers and rose in with a triumphant "Finished!".
This got me thinking …
We live in a very fast paced world (and it is getting faster). We expect instant connections on our phones …
We demand instant downloads on the internet where we are (just look at the comments that are posted on sites like Facebook when the 'system' slows down) …
We expect instant service in shops and restaurants …
We demand everything 'to go' (so that we do not have to sit still for a while), and …
We expect immediate answers to every question.
Are WE looking for the 'cheats' to keep us moving through this game of life as quickly as possible?
If I use the video game analogy, there are many 'levels' that we must move through as we play the Game of Life. We have to complete each level and gather the necessary tools, experience and life-skill points before we move onto the next level. Yet, for most of us, we seem to be in a hurry to get to the end, we seem to be constantly looking for the 'cheats' that will get us out of this level and into the next. How many times have you heard someone say "they grow up so fast" when referring to children? It is true that children these days are much more informed and have access to technology that many of us could only dream about when we were their age. Technology has revolutionized our lives in every possible way, but at what cost?
Do not get me wrong, I am a mega provider of technology and the advances that we have seen over the last 5, 10, 20, or more years has been mind-blowing. But in our race for technology, have we inadvertently moved to a race to complete our 'levels' as quickly as possible and to move on in the Game of Life?
So What? I hear you cry.
Many of you will be familiar with the phrase that "Life is a marathon, not a race", yet we appear to be moving to a sprint rather than a paced journey.
What would happen if we forgot about the race and concentrated on completing each 'level' before moving forward to the next. How many new skills and experiences would we pick up which could benefit us later when we get to the higher 'levels'?
In the current economic climate, people are being forced to draw on their skills and experiences in order to reduce their spending and become more self sufficient and this is where the 'cheats' cause problems.
We joke about people being such bad cooks that they would burn water !! But if we have being rushing so much that we only nuke our meals in the microwave or buy our fix of coffee in a convenient plastic cup, then we are missing the skills we could acquire which would enable us to prepare our own food.
'Game Paused' while we go back and learn the skills we missed out on in our rush through the levels.
Why not do it right from the start. Just like in a video game, if we rush through it, we miss out on the fun we would have trying to overcome the challenges we encounter as we move through each level. In most video games, each level builds on the previous ones and increases the challenge. Is not this very similar to Life?
As we grow from Children into Teenagers and on into Adults we develop skills, knowledge and experience that we take with us and build on with each passing level.
Why not turn off the 'cheats' in your Game of Life?
It is time to slow down. It is time to use each day to learn as much as possible about our environment and ourselves.
Most important of all; IT IS TIME TO ENJOY THE RIDE !!