The game of life and how to play it

Best Self-help Books – The Game of Life and How to Play it – Part 1

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The best self help book for beginners seeking change?

After much deliberation on this topic and many titles being considered. I finally settled on one book that is perfect for those beginning in their search for mental change. There are countless self help books that people can choose to delve in to but so many miss the mark for people starting out on their journey into philosophy. Some books are overly scientific, some books are overly spiritual. ‘The Game of life and how to play it’ was a book that stood out immediately for its simplicity. This is a famous and highly acclaimed book written in 1925 by Florence Scovel Shinn.

When I began my journey into gaining philosophical knowledge I often found I didn’t understand a word the author was talking about. Worse than that, the book would often be around 300-400 pages worth of mind boggling information that I barely understood. I honestly wish I had started out with the particular short book I am going to outline here today. My journey would of been much simpler.

The Genius of this book for understanding the game of life

Whilst deciding upon which book I was going to select. I had a strict criteria in mind of how I would choose the right book for someone completely new to this. I decided It must-

  • Be easy to read and understand using simple language
  • Be a short book and not be overly long or repetitive
  • Provide real life examples of success
  • Outline simple methods which can be applied by the reader and create lasting changes

‘The Game of Life and how to play it’ by Florence Scovel Shinn meets all of these criteria. It is only a 95 page book which can be comfortably read in a single sitting. The book is simply written and is very easy to understand. There are many outstanding self help books out there but this might be the only book you may ever need in your collection. Simply put, this is a potentially life changing book packed into just 95 pages with simple and easy to understand methods for change. What is not to like?

It is also a great starting place for those wishing to progress to reading and investigating more complex spiritual philosophies and books. I recommend reading this book at least three times to really let it sink deeply into the subconscious mind. The fact that this short book manages to make such complex information so easy to understand is an act of genius by Florence Scovel Shinn.

Highlighting the Power of this book- Life is a Game not a Battle

Lets begin by looking at some of the opening passages on the first page.

‘Most people consider life a battle, but it is not a battle, it is a game’ – Florence Scovel Shinn

Shinn gives the reader the startling realisation that life could be a game that we must learn how to play. Many of us take life very seriously at times. By understanding that our serious attitude to life could be hindering us could be our first step to finding happiness. We must begin by not viewing life as a battle where we deserve to suffer and face hardships. We must begin to view life as a game that we can easily master with the correct thought patterns.

This book could be termed as a law of attraction book but it is much more than that. Shinn was from a generation of authors of the ‘New Thought’ movement. They were teaching a much deeper way of viewing the law of attraction. The New Thought movement deciphered biblical teachings and highlighted how the bible was not just a book about discovering religion. The Bible was also showing people the key to self improvement and change many years ago. The Bible also contains a lot of ancient knowledge that showed us the true nature of the reality we live in.

Life is a game with rules that must be understood

‘It is a game, however which cannot be played successfully without the knowledge of spiritual law and the old and the New testaments give the rules of the game with wonderful clearness. Jesus Christ taught that it was a great game of giving and receiving’Florence Scovel Shinn

Much of the modern day commercialised law of attraction is based around shallow teachings from men in suits and gurus driving Bentleys. Their teachings are designed to help people ‘get rich quick’ whilst aiming to sell their over priced courses and books to you. The law of attraction has become filled with snake oil salesman and must be approached with caution.

Many modern day law of attraction books are watered down New thought movement books and do not teach you the genuine and truthful way to change your lives. They simply teach you to be wishful thinkers whilst completely ignoring any inner work on the self being carried out. This is because truly changing your life is not easy and requires some level of effort on your part. Morality and the invisible spiritual law that operates throughout our universe also have an important part to play in shaping our realities. The key to mastering the game is by changing the way we play the game. Taking self responsibility for our lives must become our starting point.

The True law of attraction means CHANGE not Wishful thinking

The law of attraction has become seen as an easy ticket to achieve the life you have always dreamt of. People are taught that saying affirmations and doing a meditation daily where you think about your wishes are all you need to create your dream life. The reality is that truly applying the law of attraction requires a self transformation and changing the way we think and feel about the world. If we really want to build the lives we have dreamed of the fastest way to get there is by becoming better people. Our external lives are merely a reflection of our inner selves. If we hope to change our external lives without doing any inner work we are guaranteed to fail.

Wishful thinking is not going to be enough to transform our lives. We can not bypass the stage of having to take a long hard deep look at ourselves. We cannot bypass the need to improve ourselves and an important part of improving ourselves is aspiring to do good in the world. It is important to analyse the nature of the information that is logged deeply into our subconscious mind.

The subconscious mind is the home of our ingrained belief systems and needs urgent attention. Transforming yourself as a person is the true application of the law of attraction and is a guaranteed method of getting long lasting results. Once you start to shift your belief systems, your life will begin to shift in accordance. Taking full responsibility for our actions is also a key part of leading a happier and more fruitful life.

Be careful of the seeds you plant – You Reap what you Sow

‘”Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap” This means that whatever man sends out in word or deed, will return to him, what he gives, he will receive. If he gives hate, he will receive hate, if he gives love, he will receive love, if he gives criticism, he will receive criticism, if he lies he will be lied to, if he cheats , he will be cheated’ Florence Scovel Shinn

Shinn teaches the reader that their main priority and desire should be to become a person with integrity. She teaches that through your decency and integrity you can draw to you the things you truly need and want in your life. It far surpasses the superficial notions of chasing money or trying to fulfil selfish whims. The book teaches the ethics of how to be a happy decent person living a fulfilling life. It also teaches us that there is a deeper purpose for our lives that we need to discover and find.

Shinn tackles a lot of the modern misconceptions of how you must become devious, manipulative and sell your soul to achieve any level of happiness or success in life. Some people may appear to be leading successful lives whilst being ruthless and stepping upon others but as wise people know, appearances can be deceiving. Many people who may appear to have it all are also deeply unhappy and lost on the inside.

Shinn teaches us the basic often overlooked concept that by thinking, speaking and doing good deeds we can attract good things into our lives. She also teaches us to be very careful of the seeds we plant. If we continue to plant bad seeds through our thoughts, imagination and misuse of the spoken word, then miserable circumstances are sure to follow.

The true nature of Karma – A simple rebound of emotion

‘Man only receives that which he gives. The Game of life is a game of boomerangs’ – Florence Scovel Shinn

Shinn teaches us how karma truly works, the simple notion of whatever we give out to the world we receive back. The word ‘Karma’ is sanskrit for ‘Comeback’. If we are hateful or judgemental of other people then we will receive the same back. We must also understand that we cannot expect to be loved and accepted by others if we are incapable of showing love to others. If you begin to think good and positive thoughts about yourself and your neighbour, the chances are also high that your perception of life could change faster than you ever imagined. Thinking hateful, angry and bitter thoughts of yourself and other people are a surefire way to feel depressed, tormented and anxious. These examples highlight the fact that even our moods are a form of karma.

We have the right to be wealthy

I wish to also emphasise that I am not trying to say that aspiring to attain material wealth or make money is bad or wrong in any way. Shinn includes many examples in the book of people applying her principles to gain more financial success or stability. Shinn even goes as far as to claim that being financially abundant is our divine right.

My aim is to emphasise that you must not fall victim to ‘get rich quick’ schemes. You may have some deeper underlying beliefs that are stopping you from being financially successful or abundant. The inner issues we carry in our subconscious lie far deeper than wishful thinking, which is the method proposed by many new age gurus. You may have subconscious/underlying beliefs ingrained without your knowledge that push you to believe you should be poor or that drive you to be irresponsible with money. Wishful thinking and refusing to look at your own character in any depth is a very ineffective method of increasing your financial success.

In part two of this review of ‘The Game of life and How to play it’. I will be analysing the main concepts covered in this book in more depth. Here is an excellent video analysis of the book by Joseph Rodrigues if you wish to find out more about this gem.

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