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8 reasons to feel the Thrill of a Game in Life!

I have been playing chess since I was 8 years old, and even today I say that playing a good game of chess for me is the most beautiful and engaging thing that I can do. The thrill of a challenging game is such that you lose the track of time, you lose all other thoughts and you lose your identity and become one with the game.

We all know that thrill of sports. Not necessarily as a player, but also as an audience, we know how exciting it is to watch a beautiful match of any sport.

The questions I ask are:

  • What makes us so thrilled and excited while playing or watching a wonderful game?
  • How do we bring those qualities and thrill in our lives?

Here are some of the important things I came up with after reflecting on the first question.

1.) Challenge

Playing a stronger opponent is the most basic form of a challenge in a game. When faced with a challenge, all your energies are focused in one direction, and you are automatically pushed beyond your existing standards of play.

For many of us, life is quite comfortable in the sense of survival. We do not need to worry about the survival of body. But that comfort can make us dull and inactive in the long run. If our survival is ensured, we must move on to the next stage of expansion. For that, we need to create challenges for ourselves.

2.) Competition

A strong sense of competition brings the thrill even before the game begins! You are obviously more excited to watch two strongest teams play, than to watch a strongest team playing with a weaker team.

Many people say that their only competition is themselves, and that they only have to do better than what they can do!

Let’s face the truth. There are so many people in the world that are doing far better than you are. And if you are stuck only with ‘doing better than yourself’ than your progress can be very limited.

Yes, it is important to better than yourself, but it is more important to measure your standards in the field of others. It is important to know where you stand in the world, otherwise you can be forever trapped in your own bubble.

3.) Persistence

So, there is a challenge and a competition. Now what? Obviously, a stronger competition will not let you win easily. Everytime you win against stronger player, that is because you persisted for the victory. No challenge can be accomplished without persistence, and that is what sports teaches you best.

4.) Alertness

Apart from persistence, you must engage all your senses and awareness in the moment, to win a challenging game.

What is a mistake? It is some important detail that escaped your awareness, isn’t it? In any kind of work, you make a mistake when there is a gap in awareness. Therefore, it is very important to be alert at each moment during the game.

5.) Creativity

A challenge and competition is the river in front of you. You want to go to the other side, how will you cross it? Will you swim? Make a bridge? Make a boat? You must FIND your way. A challenging game forces you to FIND the creative solutions to beat the competition.

6.) Activity

In doing all these persistence, alertness and creativity stuff, do you notice that you have become more active than your usual state? A game takes your mind and body for a ride of activity and saves you from drowning in the lake of passiveness and procrastination.

7.) The finite time

Every sport has a time limit, so is life.

  • In chess, you literally have time, which ticks backward towards zero.
  • In football, you have 90 minutes to score more than the opposing team.
  • In cricket you have a certain number of overs (a different measure of time), 20/20 or 50/50..etc

What you do with each second or each over is entirely up to you. But you must know, that the time is finite. And if wasted, will lead to undesirable consequences. And remember, you are not in a game of survival. You have already won that round. You are in the next level of spiritual growth and expansion, and the clock is ticking.

8.) Duality and Unity

Most of the games have a battle of two forces acting against each-other. Even-though they are working against each-other, they don’t exist without each-other. In chess, white forces need black forces for the game to exist.

In other words, a game is a miniature version of life. You (your ego) is one player and the universe is the other, (in the sense of perception and not competition). However, you are not outside of the universe, you are a part of it. You only perceive the universe as the other.


So play it! 🙂 I hope this post added value to your life, and brought back that urge to play in life.

Maybe you were not playing because you were told that it was a survival game. But it is not! It is the next level, and time is limited. So engage your mind and body and bring that thrill of play in life! Do not wait for the game to appear. Create your own game!

These were my reflections on the first question. I will leave the second question “How do we bring those qualities and thrill in our lives?” for you to explore..:)

Thank you for reading. I would love to know about your views on sports and other qualities that you can extract from sports, feel free to share them in comments. 🙂

10 thoughts on “8 reasons to feel the Thrill of a Game in Life!

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  1. I came back to this to leave a comment, because I think this is a far more important post than most might realize. What you’re talking about here is momentary awareness, or “mindfulness”, or Pali “sati”. There are, I think, many ways to engage in this manner… anything that applies deep and focused momentary challenge, from a difficult mathematical problem to route-finding a rock-climb. But this also calls for an understanding of the mechanics of that thing to the extent one doesn’t have to expend conscious mental energy on the repetitive patterns… acquiring a sort of instinctive mechanical expertise. And that might very well take an initially, perhaps unsatisfying investment of much time and effort.

    I think most people recognize this, at least subconsciously. But the temptation, especially nowadays, is to heap much of that investment in acquiring “expertise” upon our machines. Consequently, it becomes more difficult to have those moments of psychological “flow”, when one’s thoughts lead to fully creative momentary solutions. So we miss the deep sense of satisfaction that results from the act itself… even when we don’t “win”.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your wonderful insights, I really appreciate it!
      Yes, nowadays most people are losing that depth required in anything because of the tendency of instant gratification. To be in a ‘flow’ is a very important experience. It can be the first step of knowing that there is something deeper in terms of our awareness. Since I engage in sports, I find it easier with sports, but as you have rightly added, there are many such activities that can give you the same experience.
      Thank you very much once again.:) btw, where can I get more knowledge about this? can you recommend any interesting books or articles for me to get deeper insights about this subject?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you for the kind reply. My father was a philosophical Buddhist, and tried to encourage both my youthful understanding and self-discipline (not that it always worked). In terms of books, I feel like reading about Buddhism or Zen tends to be either an academic pursuit (Daisetz Suzuki’s epic “Zen and Japanese Culture”, or Alan Watts’ “The Spirit of Zen”), or else an esoteric exploration (anything by Thich Nhat Hahn or Eugen Herrigel’s “Zen in the Art of Archery”). I’ll add in Steve Hagen’s “Buddhism Plain and Simple” as perhaps plying the boundaries.

        Past that, I don’t usually leave links on others’ post (so feel free to delete this if you want), but if you’re still interested in more reading (just replace the “DOT”), there’s a couple of bookshelves worth of original material:

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting discussion.
    The concept of being better today than we were yesterday is to remove those inner obstacles we perceive as unrealistic competition.
    For example your comparing Chess (which I’ve played since I was a child). I never pursued the knowledge of competition training. If I compare myself to let’s say Kasparov that is placing myself in an unrealistic hindrance. While realistically unattainable. One might at least be shown the door to greater knowledge and understanding.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, both comparisons (to oneself and to top achievers) is necessary to move forward. We need to become better than we were yesterday to move step by step. And we need to keep in mind the top achievers to know where we need to reach. We have to work in both contexts. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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