There is a constant sense that you are missing something, that you are incomplete. That somehow, you are not enough.
Many people will happily confirm this for you:
“You are missing something. You are incomplete. You’re not enough.”
Some are trying to sell you something, but many of them have that same feeling too, and they don’t want to be alone.
You begin searching for that something that you’re missing. Your purpose is to get that something so you can eventually be “enough.” There are levels you’ll need to complete first, and this will give you a sense of progress. That thing you’ve been missing is within your grasp…
Then, after a lot of hard work, you finally get it! It’s here! You’ve arrived…
But you don’t feel very different from how you’ve always felt. Then you begin to wonder if there is another something that you’re missing, and people say, “You’re not quitting already, are you? You’ve come so far!” So you think, okay, perhaps I’m still missing something. I’m still not enough. I’m still incomplete. There’s more work to be done.
So you put your head down again and double your efforts, because you need to get that something. And if you keep working, you’ll get there someday…
Someday, you’ll have the right amount of money, you’ll have the right job, you’ll have the right possessions and the right body and the right thoughts and the right skills and the right accomplishments and the right spirituality and the right love and the right marriage and the right kids and the right life.
Someday, if you keep working hard and playing our games, you can win.
You can be better than everyone else.
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While you’re playing our games, you must always view yourself as a member of one of three groups: best, average, or worst. If you’re one of the best, you must keep that spot. And if you’re average, or one of the worst, you’ll need to work much harder so you can be one of the best. Also, in each group, there are “good guys” and “bad guys.” You are, naturally, one of the good guys. In these games, people are your pawns, allies, and competitors. They are not fellow humans; it is Us vs. Them.
You only have a few years to play, so you must work quickly to become one of “the best.” You will spend all of your energy trying to make your life fit a certain image, while assuring others that you’ve nearly achieved it. Accomplishments will be your fetish, and everyone will applaud as you successfully make your way through each level. Your spontaneity and openness and joy will be replaced with seriousness — the seriousness that’s driving you to achieve this ideal life you’ve mapped out in your head. You must not slow down, because everyone else is playing this game too, and they don’t like it when you don’t take it as seriously as they do. Remember: Your life is to be conquered and won. Enjoyment is incidental.