Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Embracing uncertainty

So this is another one of those posts were I am going to talk about gaming and what it has taught me. As a game master you take time to create a story made up of a series of encounters that will be fun and challenging for your players to work their way trough. These encounters are connected by a plot, as well as a system of rules that govern how the players and the challenges interact with each other. As anyone who has run a RPG will tell you players are unpredictable creatures. You build a trap with one way out, maybe the party has to solve a puzzle to disarm it. Instead the players will find a way to blow a whole it the wall. Where is all this going you ask? Stick around and you will see.

Life is uncertain. We do not know what will happen from one hour to the next, what news we will get when the phone rings or if the lottery ticket we just bought is a winner. Uncertainty can be unsettling. It makes us feel uncomfortable and nervous so we need to find a way to deal with it. To minimize the fear that can come from uncertainty we need to learn to embrace it. When we accept uncertainty and plan for it, it allows us to react quickly to surprises. This gives us courage to deal with the changing situation and helps us control where we go next.

As I said before when I am game mastering I am trying to share a story with my players. They however have a huge influence on that story; they make the choice of where they will go, what they will do and how they will do it. This means that while I have a plan it is uncertain what will happen I have to plan for as many of their decisions as I can think of. Will they attack the wizard in his home, will they wait and try to break in when he is not there. Will they sit around and keep doing research. Once they make there decision I have maybe a minute to shift gears and react otherwise play slows down. So I have to embrace the uncertainty by planning for the outcome I can see. Let's take this in to the real world.

When we come upon any encounter in life we have two options we overcome it or it overcomes us. There may be grey areas in-between, partial successes, for example: maybe the lottery ticket is only a $10 winner. Before we enter the encounter we have to know how we will deal with each of these conditions. This does not mean sitting down and writing out a detailed plan on paper about what happens if we get the job, what happens if we do not but we do have to have a general idea of our next move.

By taking the uncertainty of each of life's encounters in to account we can reduce the paralyzing effects of fear and changing situations. We can react quickly and most importantly we can stay on track.

Today the Editing project continues: In the Beginning


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