A PERSONAL CHOICE: PRETEND OR PLAY?
By
Bill Cottringer

“A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting.” ~Henry David Thoreau.

For a long time now I have gradually realized something very important: That it can easily become addictive to pretend that you are really playing in the game of life, thinking about it and acting as if you are really actively participating. This may be what education and reading prepare you to do, as the above quote hints at.

However, there comes a time to stop being distracted by over-focusing on the mountains of chaos, illusions and utter nonsense that keeps piling up and let go of the safety space between you and life that all this thinking and pretending creates…and just suck it in and start seeing past what you have been looking at all along—to see the few things that you should and can let go to with closing your eyes, holding your breath, trusting with all your being, and jumping in with all fours, knowing very well there is plenty of water in the swimming pool

Just so we understand the difference between pretending and playing, consider the following:

Pretenders seem to:

• Have a lot of theories and solutions that seem to make sense.
• Know a lot and can do a lot, being a ‘jack of all trades and master of none.’
• Display the positive and convincing symptoms of outward success.
• Be more concerned about how they appear to be doing something than they are actually doing it.
• Generate more distrust and doubt by being unreal and narcissistic.
• Want to say “give the ball to me” and claim the credit.

On the other hand authentic, genuine players do:

• Risk being wrong and unpopular by making tough choices and taking chances.
• Accept reality as it is no matter how unflattering, to change and get real results.
• Struggle to become more objective and able to clarify their intuitive gut feelings.
• Believe the same thing they say they believe.
• Reach a healthy balance between most things like selfishness and selflessness.
• Collaborate with others in true teamwork to share the credit.

More than anything, real players have more genuine happiness, peace of mind and solace of heart, and long-term, sustained success than pretenders waste away.

The good news is we all evolve from pretending to playing. The speed of this transition depends upon the effort we apply to realizing one critical reality: What we are most sure of thinking to be true, is not always so. That frankness and openness allows what is to come, come. Then we start becoming who we have only pretended to be. This is the wonderful creative process that carries us when we need it most.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA and also a business and personal success coach, sport psychologist, photographer and writer living in the peaceful mountains and rivers of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, The Prosperity Zone, Getting More By Doing Less, You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too, The Bow-Wow Secrets, Do What Matters Most, “P” Point Management, and Reality Repair Rx coming shortly. He can be contacted with comments or questions at 425 454-5011 or bcottringer@pssp.net