If it feels too good to be true, it’s too good to be real.

There’s always a catch and the grass is cut from the same roots.

But that’s okay.

It might not be as good as the person who’s trying to sell it to you says it is, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good.

Sometimes the things people tell you are life changing are just good enough to change the course of a day.

And a day changed for the better is not insignificant.

Not every deal which is too good to be real is a bad deal.

Just ensure you know what you’re giving away.

There aren’t many consumables which you can indulge as much as you like without any negative consequence.

The average Australian drinks about half of the reccomended water intake per day, and even a 1% decrease in the body’s water content is enough to impact cognitive ability and mood.

Unless you’re drinking 3-4 litres in a sitting, there’s never a bad time to drink more water.

Hungry? Drink water.

Bored? Drink water.

Awake? Drink more water.

It’s the most underred beverage on the planet, and not everyone is as lucky as you to have instant access to it fresh out a tap.

In fact, 1 in 10 people don’t even have access to clean water.

Here’s somewhere you can be involved in changing that.

Was there a day this week where you went to bed dissatistied with the way you spent it?

How many days was that the case?

If that number is hard to deal with (which at times it most certainly has been for me), one of two things are wrong.

Either the way you’re spending your time isn’t aligned with the stories you want to tell about yourself, or your expectations aren’t in line with what’s reasonable.

This worst is when it’s a combination of the two.

We all deserve to love what we do.

But sometimes loving what we do requires us to work hard at loving it.

The games we play always offer opportinites to grow and learn. The degree to which we embrace those opportunities and implement the lessons we learn is another story.

Usually, meaningful growth which has lifetime value is burried under a lot of hard work.

This work is hard because it tends to involve a lot of losing. Losing feels like crap, but it’s a necessary prerequisite to succeeding – to a point.

If the player’s experience involves too much losing, they stop playing altogether.

The trick then, is how do we play these games in a way which helps us enjoy the process of trying and failing?

I believe the answer is by reframing failure into feedback.

Feedback is information gathered from a negative source which offers positive change.

By taking the raw data in our losses, we can find ways to look at them which track the incremental steps we can take towards more frequent victory.

If you suck at tennis and you’re really focused on trying to win every match, you’re going to have a rough time.

But if you suck at tennis and you’re really focussed on returning more serves than you were able to last week, you might enjoy a victory even if you get crushed.

The match is no longer played just between you and your opponent; there’s a separate game being played between you and yourself, in which you have much greater chance at victory.

These micro victories compound on one another.

For one month your focus is on returning serves, the next it’s on your forehand, then you backhand, then all of a sudden you’re not so bad at tennis – which is a whole lot better than losing four out of five matches and then selling your racket on Gumtree.

When failure equals feedback, losing equals winning.

Here’s a few things I’m pretty convinced are true;

  1. There is a constant war being fought for the attention of our digital selves which is having dramatic adverse effects on people’s happiness, especially amongst digital natives who have never known a world without digital media;

  2. Activities practiced regularly which reward participants for consistent time investment over many years are essential to a meaningful life;

  3. The instant dopaminergic gratifications available through social media and the 24-hour news cycle are training us against investing time into activities which generate meaning over time;

  4. Therefore, it is necessary to reframe the benefits of investing time and energy into skills and activities which create meaning and value over time for those who don’t understand this intuitively.

I was asked today whether I thought that Instagram, can be used in a way which fosters an infinite mindset.

My gut instinct was; of course not. Instagram is a game designed for short term gratification. It’s a battle royal for follower attention where shock and beauty reign supreme.

But I had missed the question.

The question wasn’t, “Do people treat Instagram as an infinite game?”

It was, “Can people treat Instagram as an infinite game?”

To which the answer is, of course, yes.

It’s possible to use Instagram in such a way that the gradual collection of images on your account generate meaning which isn’t governed by metrics of likability.

The truth is just that the systems in place do a pretty good job of keeping us focussed on those metrics.

It’s bizarre how focussed we’ve become with numbers alongside red hearts and blue thumbs.

Deadlines are awesome.

They force you to focus on accomplishing a clear goal within a specific time, and usually do a good job of motivating you to get across the line.

But some of us (me) enjoy capitalising on this pressure so much that we get reliant on it.

This becomes a problem when longer term tasks show up – because they’re not the kinds of things you can smash out in an all-nighter.

Some things require slow, gradual, meaningful work.

When we can’t rely on sweet deadline pressure to get that work done, we need to employ other means.

For me, it’s games.

I’ll create a finite set of rules which govern the rate, pace and quality of the work I’ve got to do, break it into parts and sprinkle rewards along the way to encourage victory.

This blog is a prime example of that kind of game.

I’ve posted here every day for 6 months as of today (minus one day where my scheduling was out and I scheduled a post for three days in the future – thanks to who noticed).

That would never have been possible if I hadn’t set out goals, expectations and rewards for myself along the way which turned half a year’s worth of writing into daily, bite sized chunks.

Take care of your goals. Treat them well. And when you’re not progressing in their direction, find out why – then design something special and have some fun.

Mass Media is as powerful as the amount of people who pay attention.

But our attention is a high price to pay.

When it comes down to it, our opinions on the topics chosen for us each day matter far less than the actions we take with our remaining attention.

Perhaps we should spend it accordingly.

If you buy something you don’t need for $50 because it was marked $30 off, you didn’t save $30. You just spent $50.

This feels obvious now, but isn’t always obvious when the sale is right in front of you.

Same goes for life decisions. Just because you get offered a new job, contract or promotion, it doesn’t mean you have to take it.

Often these deals have terms and conditions which aren’t featured on the label.

Spend your money wisely, but your time even more so.

If the deal is the reason you want to take the leap, it’s probably not worth enough to warrant spending anything.

Sometimes the habbits we wish to foster aren’t rewarding in the immediate term.

Doing 20 pull-ups isn’t going to get you any back muscles. It’s just going to hurt.

Do 20 pull-ups every day however, and in a few months you’ll notice some serious progress.

This is one of the limitations of thinking in terms of finite games.

If completing 20 pull-ups is the goal, they’re only worth doing if there’s an immediate sense of gratification which is as valuable as the pain of suffering through the set.

Which means, like all new habits, the first handful of times will be the hardest.

Streaks make this process easier.

If instead of focussing on the immediate returns from hard to build habits, you’re focussed on maintaining your streak, all of a sudden there are immediate stakes for failing to maintain the habbit.

The longer the steak, the less likely you are to break it.

Try to hit 10 repetitions of a new habbit in a row, whether it be daily, weekly, monthly – whatever.

After ten reps, you’ll find that your habbit starts to feel like a ritual; it’s no longer a thing you feel like you have to do, it’s just a thing you do.