Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.
How do you know if you’re playing a stupid game? By the potential prize you’d win. If it’s not a prize you want, don’t play it. For example, I could irritate my friend by saying a bunch of stupid stuff until she gets annoyed. On the one hand: I’d get some attention, alleviate some boredom, and feel the power of instigating a reaction. On the other hand, she might retaliate in some way or perhaps my tirade would damage our relationship. So based on the potential prizes, it certainly sounds like a stupid game.
Or how about the game of imagining the worst possible outcomes? On one hand: it alleviates some boredom and gets the anxiety juices flowing — I really feel alive and in danger — ooh so exciting! On the other hand, I don’t handle the stress of it very well and it tends to sour my mood and results in an extended period of unpleasantness. So based on the potential prizes, it sounds like a stupid game.
How about the game of mocking everything? On the one hand: I laugh at how foolish everything is, which provides me with a feeling of superiority, and it serves as an excuse for not engaging with life. On the other hand, there’s nothing to do since everything’s “lame” and “not worth the effort”, which fosters a general mood of “meh” and “who cares”. Overall it leads to even more boredom, so again, it sounds like a stupid game to play.
And what about the game of frustration? On the one hand: all that anger is energizing, it’s even intoxicating as it takes control — all of a sudden I’m on a rollercoaster and who knows what’ll happen next! On the other hand, the prize is a treasure-chest of discomfort and a wake of destruction. Who wants to clean up after that mess? Hm, sounds like a stupid game to play.
Of course there’s the game of masochism as well. On the one hand: I feel the pain and persecution it summons forth, transforming me into a virtuous victim. I’m tossed about in the turbulence of life — poor me at the mercy of a cruel world, struggling against the current. Now that’s exhilarating!!! You have my attention and I’m fully engaged! On the other hand, pain is pretty unpleasant — it’s a bad way to spend the day. Yeah, that’s a stupid game.
It seems like I’ve been playing a LOT of stupid games for the past few decades. And based on the prizes that were offered, it seems like I got what I deserved. Apparently I didn’t think it through. It’s like showing up at a contest that’s offering dick-kicks as first prize, then feeling shocked and upset when you end up winning that kick to the groin. The simple message is this: play games that offer GOOD prizes.