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More Lessons From Games
by Graeme Kapono Urlich

My last article “From Small Beginnings” covered some observations I was able to make about my prosperity beliefs and create some change in that area of my life using the game Farmville. The momentum I gained in the new thinking has lead me to an online business so now I spend the time I used to put into Farmville into a game that has the potential to earn me some real money.

Lately I have been playing another game called Bejeweled Blitz, also available through Facebook, which involves matching patterns of jewels in groups of three, four or five to earn points and special jewels which are worth more points. While playing this I began to notice how my attention was affected.

At first it looked too complicated and my scores were so low that I got annoyed with it and nearly quit on it. There is a one minute time limit on each round and as I reviewed some of the top scores from other players I began to wonder how it was possible to get them. I was no where near those scores.

Since I have a slightly competitive nature and I knew other people who were playing I gave it a bit longer than I otherwise would have. After not too long I started to see patterns in the game and how one move might create a better one. Over time the game became more instinctive as my body learned the moves.

Sometimes in life we don’t bother having a go at opportunities because we just don’t recognise them, they look too hard or maybe they look too risky. Improving our lives is a process of improving our thinking habits and building confidence and self esteem so that we are strong enough to have a go. It may take a few goes to get something to work but it is usually worth it. The worth of something is of course a personal value judgement.

When I solved a puzzle involving a particular jewel I searched the screen for a match in the same type of gem automatically before my attention would adjust enough to start to pick up moves involving other types of gems. It gave me some clues as to how I filter my worldly experience and limit my attention to opportunities sometimes. I was searching for what had worked last time and ran out of time doing so. I needed to learn how to focus in on certain jewels at some points of the game but be able to spread my focus more widely at other points.

Sometimes I would find myself taking an obvious move and thereby missing one that paid out many more points than one that was just next to it. The more I hunted for the big moves the harder it seemed to find them and the more I just told my subconscious that I wanted those and played the moves I saw the more “luck” I seemed to have getting them.

Another interesting observation that became clear was that it was a great indicator of how relaxed I was. The more stressed I was for whatever reason the lower my scores were and the harder it was to spot moves. When I did some deep breathing and conscious relaxing my scores would usually improve somewhat. If they didn’t I knew it was just time to do something else. The more I relaxed and trusted the bigger the scores I got. The same is true in life.

Sometimes I got into a kind of autopilot and found myself playing game after game and even when I told myself “This is the last one” I would automatically click the “Play Again” button. This is a common pattern that we can get into in life. We make a choice to change but keep automatically clicking the same buttons and doing the same things until something happens to drastically change our focus.

We often know that what we are doing is not effective but fail to take the turnoff on life’s highway. We sigh in desperation as we watch it drop away behind us then focus back on the road because there is nothing we can do short of backing up against the traffic and then get back into the rut so deeply that when the next turnoff appears we don’t notice it until it’s too late to grab it. It takes continued focus, preparation and constant reminding to be ready when the next one gets here.

Sometimes there is a conflict between the desire for change and the fear of change so we drive along the highway getting more and more tense as the turnoff approaches. We look at it longingly but our arms just won’t respond to turn the wheel. We stay stuck in a state called learned helplessness hating the lives we have but not able to change it for whatever reason.

One thing is certain, change will happen. It is happening constantly all around us and eventually the stress of holding on to what is known and safe will build so much that something will break and a change will be forced. When this happens often it ends up worse than before.

Some people know they don’t like the lives that they have but don’t know what they want to replace it with or have some vague ideas about fame and fortune that they long for but inside believe it’s really not possible for them. One place to start is to look at our values and write down some priorities in a definitive way, not just a vague list of wants that maybe we have copied from someone we are jealous of.

Understanding our values and motivations helps us to include them as part of the plan to achieve changes that are considered, desired and worthwhile. It helps us to make changes in a direction that we will be satisfied with, that will increase our sense of self worth, our success and prosperity, our health, love and happiness, happiness being the true measure of success.

Graeme Kapono Urlich (December 2010)

Aloha New Zealand school of Hawaiian Shamanism and Huna Philosophy

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