Can a game teach you all there is to know about life?

Can a silly little game on your phone really teach you everything there is to know about life? If you’re anything like me, the answer is a resounding YES.

Okay, maybe I was a liiiiiittle excited when I said everything. It can, however, teach you a whole lot.

And no, I haven’t lost my ever-loving mind. I’ve just been spending a bit more time than usual contemplating life. Could be due to the break I’ve been taking from social media (it’s glorious) or the extensive amount of time I’ve spent playing Diamond Mine, a game mode in Bejeweled (not as glorious). 

Whatever the case may be, I’ve found there to be quite a few truths that apply to both the game — any game for that matter — and life. (Oh, hello Game Theory. Who knew THAT class from my college days would actually come in handy later on in life!)

What Bejeweled has taught me about life. (Really.)

Here are 10 major life lessons that have come up while playing Bejeweled’s Diamond Mine:

  1. One big move does not a game make. I always used to get excited when I’d make a major move in the game and clear the entire board. Turns out, the amount of points you got for the move weren’t that great AND it made the next few rounds of the game even harder. Same goes for life. One big move, idea, or season in your life doesn’t actually mean you get a pass for the rest of your time. You still have to show up and make your next move, otherwise it will all be for naught.
  2. Just when you think you’ve mastered the game, it changes. The first few rounds of Diamond Mine are deceivingly easy. And juuuuuuust when you feel like you’ve gotten the hang of it, new indestructible pieces are introduced, making it even harder. I don’t know about you, but I can name a thousand and one times in my life when this has been true — most notably with parenting and raising a toddler. (Can I get an AMEN on that one?!)
  3. Don’t let yourself get bogged down by the details. There have been so many times when I’ve gotten caught up in one little corner of the game that I run out of time and miss really easy moves. Unsurprisingly, I also do this in my own life. I get so caught up in the minutiae of my day and what I’m feeling in the moment that I forget to take a step back and look at the big picture. The key here is about finding the balance between focusing on the details while also holding onto the bigger picture. 
  4. It’s not about winning, it’s about getting better. For those that haven’t played Diamond Mine, there is no way to win. There’s no final level or princess to rescue at the end. Instead, it’s about beating your own best score and doing that thing that you’ve been trying to do for ages. The same can be said for life. At the end of the day (or your life), there is no way to win. No one cares whether you’ve hit some arbitrary goal or hit gold status on some aspect of your life. It’s truly about getting better day after day, year after year, and being the absolute best version of yourself possible, whatever that means for you.
  5. The best moves don’t look the way you expect them to. I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times that I’ve thought I needed to make a certain move in order to clear a block only to find that it could have happened any number of ways. But because I’ve been so all-consumed by how I want it to show up, I’ve missed all of the other possibilities. I don’t even want to think about how many times I’ve done that in my life (because I’m sure it happens a lot). The game has reminded me to stop holding so tightly to the way I think something needs to show up and allow for it to simply show up. 
  6. There is always something you could have done differently. And by always, I mean A L W A Y S. There is always another move, another way to look at a situation, another person you could reach out to, another path you could have taken. And while none of them are inherently right or wrong, there is always another option
  7. Sometimes the best move is the one that sets you up for success. There are a dozen different ways to play the board at any given moment in the game. Sometimes, the absolute best move to make is the one that sets you up for longer term success. It’s about finding the best possible outcome versus the best move rightthisminute. It can be hard to push off instant gratification, but it’s often better to look at your long-term goals and take the next step forward. 
  8. The game doesn’t always goes as planned. There is nothing more frustrating than seeing a move and having it all go to shit because you accidentally moved the wrong block. Except doing it again (and again) in the same game. And you know what? Those mistakes often open up the board in a whole new way, making it better than expected. I can think back to several instances in my life where things didn’t go as planned. In the end, though, it has always taken me to a beautiful new place filled with brand new (and exciting) possibilities. Now to remember that as it’s happening…
  9. Taking a break allows you to see things anew. Every single time I’ve taken a pause from the game, I come back to find new moves and new possibilities. In fact, my very best games (the ones where I’ve scored the most by a long shot) have happened because of those breaks. Same goes for life. Whenever I take a break, new possibilities and connections open up right before my eyes and I am more grounded and present, more creative, and better able to handle whatever comes my way. 
  10. Practice makes better. Often, the things that seem to be the most obvious and simple are also the most profound. OF COURSE practice makes better, but how many times have we jumped into something and expected ourselves to be amazing at it straight out of the gate? Same goes for the things that we’re already good at. I know I do it all the time. Just because you (we) know how to do something doesn’t mean you (we) can’t get better at it or learn something new in the process. 

And there you have it, folks. Major life lessons from a silly little game on my phone. Funny what ends up being our greatest teachers when we let it. 

More about Emily Levenson

Emily Levenson is a therapist turned holistic health coach, podcaster, meditation encourager, and seeker of everyday magic. Emily recently kicked off her third #The100DayProject, focusing her efforts on daily meditation.

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