My older son is addicted to Minecraft, an incredibly creative online game with nearly limitless possibilities.
In the beginning, we only allowed him to play in Creative mode. He could build without the threat of zombies attacking him.
But then he (and we) realized he could do even more in Survival mode, which required him to find his own resources (like seeds), so he could plant and grow his own crops for food. It also presented the challenge of evading threats from monsters and needing to survive the elements.
In Survival mode, my son has learned to be incredibly resourceful and resilient. It’s scary sometimes, but the rewards seem to be greater.
The other night at dinner, my husband posed the question: are you playing in Creative mode or Survival mode?
And it hit me: what a great question for us all!
When you have to put dinner on the table and pay the bills, you are often more motivated to be creative, resourceful, and resilient. When everything is safe and provided to you, it’s easier for your brain to become sluggish and to become lazy.
What comes to mind is the recently coined term “affluenza”—the disease of overconsumption and disconnection that comes from having everything provided to you.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m neither promoting poverty and suffering, nor trash talking wealth. (Nor am I equating Creative mode in Minecraft with affluenza!)
But, I do observe that the desire to have “more” is tightly connected with the culture of overwork in our world. The habit of working longer hours to make more money to get more stuff results in greater disconnection from oneself and those people who are most important to us. That disconnection leads to unhappiness and then a desire to have more stuff to make us feel better. A truly sad and unhealthy cycle.
So, maybe there is something to living in Survival mode. The question is: what is “just enough” and how can we ride that intelligent edge between being just comfortable enough and having too much?
I invite you to not only ask yourself whether you are in Survival Mode or Creative Mode, but also:
What helps you to feel truly alive in your life, motivated to keep striving, but—and here’s the key element—present and grateful for all who are in your life and all that you have now, in this moment?
I know what helps me to feel this way: the practices of yoga and meditation, as well as general mindfulness in each moment of the day while doing everything from observing my children play to feeling the temperature of the water when washing the dishes.
How about you? What helps you to feel this way?
I look forward to your reply!