In a lot of ways, life is exactly like a game.  In order to win, you must be strategic, prudent, and smart, putting all your energy into the right things.  But unlike a game, you don’t get extra lives if you do it wrong the first time.  A wrong move can send you careening into a pit or losing all the momentum you previously gained.

If you want to be successful, you need to be the master of your life.  You, and only you, hold the controller.  How are you going to handle yourself?  Are you going to start out strong?  Wisdom would dictate that you handle the school years like a tutorial.  If you want to learn about the world you’re about to enter, then you need to play along.

As you get older, you’re just a low-level player. You have huge dreams and aspirations to improve your character’s standing, but you’ll find that everything is closed off to you.  All the good things you want, the top jobs, the cool toys, the best relationships, are all locked away until you gain a bit of experience.

This stage of the game is important because you’ll never be as energetic and driven as you are right now.  You’re free to dictate exactly where your character is headed.  The plans you make now and the momentum you have will carry you through your best working years.

But sometimes, the character doesn’t obey.  You know to stay away from the booze.  You know you should head to the gym every day.  It’s a given that the grilled chicken breast salad is the better choice over the greasy burger.  Except, when we’re young, we take the most chances.  We’re not face-to-face with our mortality or afraid of blood pressure issues.

As inevitable as the morning sun, life begins to increase in difficulty.  Apply stress, struggle, and laziness.  Will you overcome?  Will you push on when you’re exhausted?

Willpower Is Life-sustaining

Your character in a game will have a life meter.  Every decision you make impacts that meter.  If you get hurt, it goes down.  If you make the wrong choice, it goes down.  Maybe over time you get healed and it goes back up.  Your willpower is the exact same way.

Your willpower is dependent on your everyday activities.  It does wane throughout the day, but you can refresh yourself in a variety of ways.  If you get stressed out, depressed, hungry, weak, sick, et cetera, all you need is to take care of yourself.  The strength of your willpower is also based upon momentum.

If you’re moving forward in life, exercising and eating right, you’re most likely to stay on that path.  You control that movement.  But you can also choose to make the wrong decisions and lose momentum. Instead of eating right and going to the gym, you can watch TV and get lazy.  There are no excuses for your decisions. You are in charge of your life.

Leveling Up

What’s also under your control is how your character levels up.  In the game, if you want to increase your ability to swing the sword and become a better swordfighter, well, the only way to do that is by using your sword.  Your experience points will increase and you’ll be the best at swinging the sword in the entire kingdom.

In life, you have everything at your disposal, you just need to better yourself.  Is there any knowledge you can’t obtain? A book you can’t read?  A course you can’t take?  Regardless of how difficult your path is, you can overcome it.  Can you imagine how Helen Keller was able to overcome being both blind and deaf and still learn how to read and write?

Life can be simpler than we make it.  We sometimes make it more difficult than it has to be by overthinking or becoming paralyzed by fear.  Life can be black and white if you let it.  If you want to grow, learn, and improve, set about the right way to improve yourself.  Don’t get caught up in the things you know will set you back.  You’re in control of your life, no one else.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

Los is the CEO of Hype media, a publishing company focused on helping fitness influencers build brands.