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One of the first video games I ever played was Mario Bros. for the first Nintendo system. Early 90s...of yea!!!

Mario, the greatest plumber ever, jumping around, collecting coins, rolling through pipes, finding those power ups, crushing evil, leveling up on his hunt to save the Princess. Great times. Tons of fun.

Figuring out how to beat certain levels or obstacles or "bosses" was what made the game fun and worthwhile.

The challenges in Mario, and in ANY GAME for that matter, is what makes the game entertaining. If when we turned on the video game, and a screen popped up with Mario having already saved the princess, and there was nothing for us to do, it would be pretty boring. If you turned on the Madden football game, and it said, "congratulations, you won the super bowl", then the game ended, it wouldn't be fulfilling. It is the journey that is the fun. It is the overcoming of obstacles that is rewarding. It is the losing and failing and being defeated that makes the victory so meaningful because we see how we got better and we figured it out and we got through it. We were dedicated and resilient, even if it is just a video game.

In Psychologist M. Csikszentmihalyi's best selling book "FLOW: the psychology of optimal experience", it is discussed numerous times the advantage and importance of creating "game" in our lives. When we approach life as a game and with the enthusiasm fit for a game, I think it makes it easier and more fun to embrace the obstacles. The obstacles may be difficult and frustrating and test our faithfulness, but the obstacles are what make the journey worthwhile. To use the words of Spanish author Gracian "That which is worth most has also cost most."

I am going to enjoy the obstacles. I am going to accept that the hardships and the struggles and the failures are all just part of the game of life. I want to approach my life with the energy, excitement, and fun that I would expect from a video game. As we used to say back in the day when it was time to play, "PICK UP YOUR STICKS!"

I will EMBRACE THE OBSTACLES. (9.27.17 - Phillip Andrew)

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