You're In The Game Whether You Like It or Not

A few weeks back I was on the road with a friend. 

We were heading to one of those inaugural grown up events, a bachelor party. Along the ride my good friend said something that stopped my mind in its tracks. He said,

"It's like look, whether you like it or not you're in the game. If you're lucky you get 18 years while someone moves your pieces for you. But after that point, whether you like it or not, you're in the game."

I've been spinning my wheels on his words ever since. Here's what I've come up with: 

First off, welcome. Now you're conscious of it. You and everyone around you, they are all in the game.

If you don't want to play, you don't have to, but you haven't left the game. Someone else will control your pieces, and they will play them for their benefit and your loss. They will take away your freedom without you ever even noticing.

Luckily though, there is a game changer strategy. 

You get to choose how you play, and you get to choose what is "winning" and "losing."

You don't have to play the game like everybody else. Hell no, that'd be insane.

So let's create a playbook on just that: How to take control of your pieces and how to custom fit "winning" and "losing" to your life. 

First up, Axe All Advertising

The masses let marketers and advertisers set their precedent of "normal." They idolize the glitz and glamor of the screen-people featured on commercials, tv shows, magazines, and billboards. They think I need to look, live, and be like them: the mansion sized home, the brand new cars, the suits and ties, the newest smart phone, tablet, and other screens to stare at, the gelled back hair and make up, etc. The masses think that when they pursue this lifestyle they are winning.

Not you, though. You idolize true luxury, the freedom to do what you want, when you want, where you want. The first step here: wipe advertising completely out of your life. Here is a beautiful free Chrome and Safari extension called AdBlocker that does exactly that. It eliminates all ads from every website on the internet. I've been using it for two years, and absolutely love it. I haven't let an online ad even have the chance to worm into my mind for two whole years. Completely eliminate advertising from your game.

Cut Costly Contracts

The masses are stuck in numerous long term contracts for services and items that provide little to no long term benefit to their life. They think AT&T and Verizon are just being nice when they gift them a free phone upgrade that they really don't even need. AT&T uses the glitz and glam of Apple to convince the masses to accept that unneeded new phone without even thinking about the freedom-sucking price tag of $70+ per month. Add that up against other lesser known service providers for the lifetime of the phone, and the phone itself costs way less. In the long term they are getting straight up screwed. 

You though? You think different. Call your phone company and dump their ridiculous contract. I spend $30 per month on a no contract, 1GB unlimited talk and text service with AirVoice Wireless for my iPhone 5. If you've got an Android get over to Republic Wireless for plans as low as $10 per month with no contract. I used Republic Wireless for a few months and loved them. You just saved $70 every month, and are starting to win the game. Fist bump, baby.

After, wake up and cut cable television completely out of your life. You can get 80% of every (life-draining) show on cable on the internet. What about the other 20%? Oh, that 20% is just the commercials, and we've already blocked all of them online. Here go do this before reading any further: Call them up and say, "I'd like to end my cable subscription, please. Thank you." Then wisp off your hands and you're done. You just saved $100+ every month. Forever. Any other contracts? Look at them under a long term lens. Think 1, 2, 5 years. Then take action.

Sink Your Sunk Cost Fallacies

The masses get stuck in their ways and allow self imposed limiting beliefs inhibit action. They feel battered down by emotional, financial, or work situations, and they just go on with their lives because they think it's just how life is or that they don't have the power to change. Their sentences often start with "I couldn't," "I won't," or "I can't," and end with "I'm just in too deep." They don't know it, but the sole reason they can't move forward is purely self sabotage.  

Have a car getting less than 20 MPG that's sucking away thousands of dollars a month but think it's not worth it to sell at this point? Hell no, it's time to take action! Sell it and get a car that will get you from A to B just the same with 30+ MPG. If your work commute is way too long, move to a closer location or get a job closer to where you live.

Do not fall in to the Sunk Cost Fallacy lifestyle the mainstreams wants you to believe is the norm. Take action to improve the parts of your life you're not happy with, even if it means a small upfront cost. Becoming submissive to your problems will kill you while you're alive. It's exactly what they want you to do. And it's exactly what you love taking action on. 

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Stop Spaving

The masses read ads that say, "Save 20%" and purchase the item thinking they are saving money. But yet, the only thing their really doing is spending. This phenomenon is better know as Spaving. Spending when you wrongly think you're saving. These Save 20% ads and coupons are more often than not listed under companies' advertising budgets. They are only meant to get the masses in to the store and purchase something. Marketing. And once again the advertisers are playing masses' game like a donkey to a carrot. 

You translate signs that say "Save 20%" into what they really mean, like "Highly Possible Pointless Spending." Don't be tricked by the marketer's language. Align your purchases completely to your values. Do not stoop to the values advertisers try to set for you. They are not yours. Live your values. Show it with your stash. That is winning.

Be a Creator, Not a Consumer

The masses are lost in a vortex of consumption. They've been convinced that the more you consume they happier you get. They've become numb to the fact that after a certain point, consuming hits a point of diminishing returns. But it's how everyone else does it so they continue to try to overcome their life problems by consuming more and more unneeded, unhelpful items and services while remaining stagnant in their comfort bubble. 

You? You pop that comfort bubble. When problems arise you use them as an opportunity to be a learner or a skill builder. You know that happiness comes from accomplishing goals, creating things, and overcoming problems – not from consuming goods or services. 

Last year I broke a lug nut stud on my car. Three hours and $3.22 later I was so stoked I had fixed it that I stood up and beat my chest like an ape that had just created fire for the first time. I had built a new skill, and it felt So. Damn. Good. I could have taken it to a mechanic and paid +$200. But instead I did it on my own, and it gave me the confidence that I can fix future problems that come my way. The road worth taking is the long one. Forget about some destination and start living for the journey.

All in all, no one exists on this planet to get screwed over in the game. But insanely we see a massive amount of people falling for the advertiser's norms day in and day out. They miss a simple concept that the more money you spend, the more of your life you have to commit to making money to replenish that purchase. Your freedom is directly related to how much you spend.

When you overlook that simple concept, you end up believing what the advertisers want you to believe, that luxury is the shiny watch, the newest shoes, the brand new car, the newest device, the bigger, faster, more lifestyle is better.

It's bull. 

Luxury is time doing what you love. It is doing what you want, when you want, where you want. That is luxury. And you can pull that off way faster and with way less than you think. You just have to play your own game. Not the advertisers.

So there's your hidden green playbook: Axe All Advertising, Cut Costly Contracts, Sink Your Sunk Cost Fallacies, Stop Spaving, and Be a Creator, Not a Consumer.

Now go slap some personal soul and creativity on to these adaptations and create the world you want for yourself. On we go!

Free Mini-Course — Do What You Love Finance

Keep reading. You won't regret it.