By Ken Brokaw
Want to learn how you can level up your life and your business? Play the game "Mario Brothers."
I used to sit in my basement for hours playing Mario when I was little. In the game, you play an Italian plumber who needs to navigate through the Mushroom Kingdom in order to save Princess Peach. The game always has multiple levels (or what they called worlds) and sub-levels to navigate through and find the villain Bowser who had Princess Peach held captive in his castle. The objective of the game is to navigate through the levels, defeat all the enemies, collect items you could later use in your adventures and solve corresponding puzzles -- all without dying.
In order to do so, Mario would often rely on special items in order to give him a power boost. These power-ups are essential to Mario surviving through each of the levels. You had the super mushroom, which would make Mario grow bigger and stronger to be able to break through blocks. There was a star, which gave Mario the power of invincibility. And there were even coins that Mario could collect through each level. When you collected enough, you would get an extra life.
How Can We Level Up?
Although the definition of "level up" can be subjective, it ultimately means to increase one’s stature in life or to increase one’s performance at a particular task. The term came from basic video game strategy where a character in a game would accomplish a particular goal, gain a particular skill set or accomplish a mission and move on to the next level. You would guide your character from level to level and see your character grow in particular ways.
We are always looking for that magic mushroom to help strengthen us as we fight off enemies to win over the love of our life. What I love most about Mario was that he's an entrepreneur. If you think about it, he traveled all over the place, essentially working from anywhere while collecting money. Isn't that what all entrepreneurs want in the end? Your mission may not be to save a woman from a giant, yellow spiked turtle with a bad haircut, but every game needs one. Once you find your mission, leveling up is all about increasing your skill and finding more challenging ways to become better than before. Ultimately, you are creating your own Super Mario game within the life you live right now.
We have all been there: Your career is on autopilot. Your relationship seems to be hitting a wall. You are doing the same thing day in and day out. This feeling of being stuck can be known as plateauing and it is highly dangerous and unhealthy. If this is the case for you, it’s time to level up.
It’s time to take back control. Leveling up your life is all about making sure you never plateau. Always explore ways to better yourself and those around you. Always try to learn new skills or better the old ones. Take it from Mario and find your version of the magic mushroom, magic star and coins.
The magic mushroom gave Mario strength. What’s your magic mushroom? Find what gives you the physical and emotional strength and energy to conquer each day. Without your health, you have nothing. If Mario made a mistake without having the magic mushroom, he would die. He wouldn’t have the power to overcome whatever obstacle came in his way. You cannot run a business and live a fulfilled life if you are sick or drained of energy. If you do, the first obstacle you run into will kill you (hopefully not figuratively).
The star gave Mario the power of invincibility. During this time he was incapable of being defeated. Mario could run through walls, kill all enemies with little effort and was essentially unstoppable. When you feel confident and energized, you become unstoppable. What special item will you use to get you into this mindset? You need the invincible mindset to conquer your business and your life.
Just like Mario, you need money to survive this life. Money will not buy you your invincibility mindset (magic star) or improved health (magic mushroom). That said, just like Mario, when you manage your money properly and suddenly something happens to your business, your funds will enable you to push through. You will be able to come back and keep playing the game. Let's say you use the money to buy or invest in extra streams of income (just like buying a lifeline). If something were to happen to one business, you'd have others to fall back on.
Throughout life, you will learn ways to use these special items in order to level up your life and your business. It is important to know that unlike a video game, there is no end. You need to constantly be looking for ways to level up. Never lose sight of your goals in life. Once you have achieved your highest level (your goals) it’s time to reinvent the game, make it more challenging and start from scratch.
A version of this article originally appeared here.
Ken Brokaw is author of Leveling Up Your Life: Build a Business Around Your Life, Not A Life Around Your Business. See more at www.LevelingUpYourLife.com.