It’s easy to criticize from the stands.

What’s more difficult is stepping into the game.

When you take yourself from spectator to player, you open yourself to vulnerability. To criticism. To the opinion of every casual passerby.

Playing the game allows you to approach problems differently. It grants you a newer, more intimate perspective on the game play.

You don’t have access to the 360 degree view of the guy in the nosebleed section yelling directions at you.

When you’re in the game, you must approach things head on. You must adapt quickly. You must perform and respond according to the limitations of your line of vision and periphery.

You don’t have time to evaluate what happened in other areas of the game. You don’t have time to banter about plays that happened in an earlier quarter.

You must be present in the game as it’s played.

I think this metaphor opens up an interesting thought experiment for life, for business, and for relationships, too.

For the things I’m participating in, what’s my default orientation?

Am I offering up opinions as a spectator? Or am I present, giving the game a competitor’s dedication?

I’ve noticed an interesting observation from my own experience.

It may seem counterintuitive, but spectating exhausts me far more than participating fully in the game of life. Having skin in the game makes it more invigorating.

Both take energy. Actively participating produces positive energy. Criticizing as a spectator yields negative energy.

If you want to live a better life, I say play the game. Don’t shout from the stands how to do it better.

Enter the game. Criticize by creating.