The Game of Life (and Politics)

Strap yourself in for the ‘Game of LIFE.’ While it may not always be fun, it is guaranteed to be unexpected and exciting. Players launch into the game through a birth canal (or a select number of other pathways), and then Go!

Don’t worry about the rules, to start you will rely on others to do everything. (You will look like a miniature Buda, so hopefully will be treated like a god). This formative stage will help build your early trust in the game. Such trust in others will have a big influence on your life score, so good luck.

You may not be so lucky to have loving carers. There is an escalating number of children in foster care, born into unsafe situations, households of abuse, drugs and neglect. There are many carers stepping up to help, but even still there are gaps in support and this is a challenging start.

For the next 18 years you will grow in strength, physically and mentally, with the support of others. Everyone by-and-large starts equal, but this quickly changes. You will rely heavily on the availability of good support and schools. Hopefully, the cards fall in your favour, with a supportive family, schools, teachers, friends and community.

The opportunities of these early years are key.

As you approach 18, and likely before, you will be increasingly asked …

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

You start making scary decisions for the future—career, study and more and increasing independence. The game ramps up, and some players will delay getting serious as long as possible.

So, how do you win the game of life?

This is complex, an enigma, and comes down to a variety of measures. How long you live is critical, as is your prosperity. Your prosperity score really depends on you, and isn’t easy to define. Wealth, health, happiness or otherwise will play a part. Importantly, surviving is critical and deceptively difficult, especially for those less fortunate than others.

Fingers crossed you won’t be faced with more bad luck than your share, and from this receive an adequate level of prosperity, even if not as high as you would prefer. There is always someone else scoring far better and worse. The game will be harder for some.

Friendships, relationships, careers and commitments will come and go. Independence and a reliance on yourself, may turn to a need to care for children as dependents, as they start their own game. The circle of life.

Your financial situation may grow, as may your debt. At times you will find life as two steps forward, three steps back. To own all you ever desired, or perhaps …

“The things you own, they end up owning you.” Fight Club

Hopefully as your game heads towards its end, your prosperity is strong. And, irrespective you have survived and are valued by family and community. Sadly many become isolated and forgotten as they grow old. It can be lonely without a community of friends and loved ones.

In many ways the game of life isn’t about keeping score. Life is harder for some than for others. In this lay the critical role of government.

Not to play the political game, but to improve the game of life of the broader community. To support those to survive and prosper who would otherwise struggle. To help those without the care of loving parents, with a mental of physical disability, without homes or otherwise disadvantaged. To support those without access to opportunities taken as normal to others.

To help avoid the vulnerable being lost and ignored. And, to create opportunities for those starting and others further into their life to access quality education, health, housing, employment, care and respect.

It seems pretty simple. People are so busy and working hard playing the game of life, they do not have time or desire to be a pawn in the political game. For most politics, irrespective of party brand, is perceived as much like a spoonful of fish-oil. It may be good for you, but often smelly and best avoided.

There is a global lack of trust towards politicians. Voters are open to change provided the alternatives are credible and the change is made easy. Based on our research, there is a desire for politicians with strong personal conviction they can trust on issues such as employment, energy prices, taxes, health care, the economy, employment, education and human equality and social welfare.

Politicians they can trust, to make life better.

“A lot of them argue with each other and get a fat salary.” Focus group participant

Politicians have a critical role in helping voters to play the best game of life possible, particularly the vulnerable, isolated and excessively unlucky.

Rather than politicians portraying themselves as distracted, arguing amongst themselves and playing a perplexing egotistical political game. To listen to and represent voters and continuously improve the game of life.

Over many years I have been pleased to work with the Square Holes team and government, political and commercial partners to explore complex life issues — from start of life, to early childhood, foster case, school, higher education, disability services, employment and the economy, ageing well and end of life. There are still many gaps and wrongs making the game of life more difficult than it needs to be. Equally there are many working diligently to resolve these issues. However, funding, policy and implementing the necessary change are strongly influenced by politics. Let’s hope our politicians strive towards better.

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