I’ve been playing Word Chums, an online game similar to Scrabble, to improve my memory. It’s fun. Once I got the hang of it, I decided to hone my skills…so I’d play higher levels against the computer. At first, I did poorly, but noticed that I got better and better, the harder the opponent. Eventually, my personal goal was to get a score of 200 points or higher per game, even if I lost to the computer. I enjoy it and it shores up my memory banks.

Then one day, I realized that even if I never play an actual person and only played against the computer, my score was public. Because I chose those harder levels I couldn’t beat to improve my game, I was showing as 50/50, meaning I had fifty percent wins, and fifty percent losses.

What?!? People can see my numbers? Heck, no. Immediately, I changed my approach, deciding only to play games that are of lower-level difficulty. Ones I knew I could win. After a couple of weeks, I’d raised my stats and now it shows that I’ve got 68% wins and 32% losses. That’s better. But what did I win?

The minute we become aware that there’s some kind of public record, we change our behavior. We don’t want strangers to think less of us. But nobody else has skin in the game. That’s true of life, too. You’re the only you on the planet. Life’s not a dress rehearsal. Play it your own way.