Finding Career Games Worth Playing

japanese-stamina-ramenSummer time in Tokyo and the living’s not so easy. That’s because from July to September the sauna-like heat and humidity causes many stoic city dwellers here to become lethargic and lose their appetite.

But fear not. The dreaded “natsu batte” (summer fatigue) calls for a bowl or two of “stamina ramen” or perhaps some nutritious but expensive eel (“unagi”), steamed and grilled and served on a bed of rice.

More fortunate folks fly off to cooler climes and all being well, the Emerald Isle’s where I’ll be for a few precious weeks, catching up with family and bookshops. Two years since the last visit and none of us are getting any younger.

I’m noticing that much of what makes these middle years worthwhile comes down to a curious blend of balancing “games worth playing” with taking care of various roles and responsibilities. And the more I look the more it seems there are “games within games” in many areas of my life. Some of these I’m able to manage with relative ease but in others I am just a player without portfolio. In most, the final result is rarely predictable and the experience itself seems to be the primary goal.

One physical game I’ve never been much good at is tennis. Still, rereading Tim Gallwey’s classic “The Inner Game of Tennis” reminds me once again just how important it is to play a good ‘inner game’. I think the enduring popularity of Tim’s book (first published in 1972) has a lot to do with the fact that it can also be interpreted as an extended metaphor on the game of life. Playing better tennis is just the ace in the pack.

There are so many games and so little time. Choosing the most interesting is an approach that has served me well over the years. I recommend the Inner Game of Tennis to potential career changers thinking about how to approach what most interests them with more grace and pleasure, whatever their external circumstances.

Click through to ‘About the Book‘ and read my short tribute inspired by this bestseller.

Posted in Career Change, Just Five Rules
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