Have you ever played that game whack-a-mole? It is a carnival/ arcade game that involves hitting mechanical moles with a mallet as they pop up from their holes.
One of the attractions of playing whack-a-mole is that it is very engaging, and gives an instant feeling of power and success. The quicker you react and hit the ‘mole’ popping up, the quicker you get the momentary relief, and score points for doing it better, or faster than someone else.
Like many games, the reason it is successful is that it engages your ego, and the satisfaction gained from playing it is short lived. For some, it can become addictive, and players look for more and more opportunities to ‘win’.
Do you ever truly win though? You get a short lived intense buzz from it, but have parted with your money to even engage in the game, and it does not leave you feeling any more at peace with yourself, or to have really gained anything meaningful as a result.
Entertaining though it may be for a short spell, imagine playing whack-a-mole all day every day. It would become exhausting – it requires constant vigilance, there is no respite; the periods of ‘rest’ are tainted with a tension, knowing that something else is going to pop up that requires your attention to deal with or squash down.
The term whack-a-mole is now used in popular culture to describe ‘the practice of repeatedly getting rid of something, only to have more of that thing appear’
Is that what your life feels like to you – a constant round of getting rid of something, only to have more of that thing appear? This could be the same destructive relationship types keep appearing in your life, or moving jobs only gives you a short lived buzz. Or does it describe your firefighting relationship with money? Any situation where you are having to be constantly alert, only to have more of the same cropping up after you have temporarily ‘dealt’ with it is like playing whack-a-mole, and played over the long term it becomes pretty exhausting, and ultimately unfulfilling.
So does life have to be like playing whack-a-mole? Is it the only game available?
There is always a choice. It can take some time and effort to wean yourself off seeing the world as a giant whack-a-mole game, but there are alternatives. Seeing and choosing one or some of those alternatives can give you a different experience of life, one that serves you better and is more fulfilling and more enjoyable for you. When engaged in whack-a-mole, there is only space to be reactive – that is the nature of the game; deal with the crisis as it appears. But as mentioned, played for too long, this is ultimately a way of living that costs you dear in terms of your health, well being and personal expression – hitting down moles becomes no longer fun.
Perhaps it is time for you to look for an alternative game, or framework through which to live your life. If you are ready and willing to explore that for yourself, please do get in contact.