Success, Happiness and Chickens

“Daddy was tossing chickens…it was SO silly!” said my dear young friend. Now, the mental picture of her dad tossing chickens like feathery bowling balls popped up in my brain. She finds physical humor to be more relatable than other forms, so this conversational thread has persisted. Now, no chickens were actually harmed in the telling of these tossing tales. It turns out that the aforementioned fowl were going airborne in the virtual world. Still, the initial image startled me. My mind’s eye pictured her very studious and serious looking father carefully positioning each chicken as he got ready to toss it down some sort of a chicken-lane that was demarcated by white lines on pristine green grass. (I’ve never successfully gotten the name of the computer game in question, so who knows what the GUI in question resembles…)

Tossing chickens may be hilarious, heinous or merely a hindrance to the fulfilling of more important tasks, but it does give one pause… Someone had to write the game’s premise, storyline, rules and character roles. The visual interface needed to be created and then some company had to buy the rights and release the game. How much effort and energy went into tossing chickens in cyberspace? Now, frying chickens in a skillet, keeping chickens for their eggs, even breeding chickens to hold down the fly population in the barnyard are all understandable, relatable chicken initiatives. Why create an animation sequence as the basis for a game? My guess is that somebody had a good laugh at the thought of humans tossing chickens and took the idea further than most of us might have.

Chicken tossing is a disruption of the mundane. As a game, it’s a metaphor for engaging in the design of a tool for enjoyable disengagement. What kind of a personality is required to design such a game? Technically saavy and with a bent towards physical and visual comedy? Moreover, what kind of person plays such a game? Someone will produce a peer reviewed study, perhaps, on the psychographics of chicken tossing gamers… It’s possible to be very serious, focused and intense about not-so-serious things. Maybe that’s a good reminder for all of us. We need a little bit of mental junk food from time to time. Now, my young friend’s dad is the most serious and sober of people in how he lives out his daily life. Hard working, focused, skilled, strategic and at the top of his career. Does he do the chicken toss to amuse my young friend? Or maybe it’s his version of an antidote to the very straight edges of the rest of his routines.

“Daddy keeps on tossing the chickens…and they go ‘buck! buck!’, hee hee hee…”. Okay, this is more informative. Now we have noisy, fluttery virtual chickens being lobbed in cyberspace. She finds it hysterical. I was curious enough to look this up. Shockingly, there is a game based on real rubber chickens that is played outdoors and a very old computer game with chickens invading from outer space. Hmm. It seems that the game in question is likely to be a cannon based tossing game for cell phones. I guess that the point is that the value in any given engagement of our energy, faculties and focus is entirely in the eye of the beholder.

Design a chicken tossing game? Sure. Play one? Why not… Life is often considered a game to be played. Views on questions of winning or losing and concomitant definitions vary. Whether the game is random and incidental or very organized and with defined roles and rules is also a matter of perspective. Energetic budgets aren’t open-ended, though. Humans require rhythms of engagement and recovery. A life of significance needn’t be one of endless hardship and drudgery. Neither need it be one of distractions taken one after the other until dissipation and ennui are all that’s left.

There are two views of how to engage life well: “be happy” and “be successful”. They show up as a couple, sometimes and may be dysfunctional in their dynamic of connection. “Happiness is success” or “Success is essential; happiness is optional”. There are studies about how to be happy. Whole branches of disciplines such as coaching, economics, faith, family systems, politics and psychology are taken up with the pursuit of happiness. In the end, though, happiness isn’t a discipline. It isn’t a destination or even a destiny. Happiness is the journey that I’m on and how I feel about that journey. Simple as that! If I’m unhappy- it’s a being thing as much as it is a doing thing that needs to shift.

Something as simple as tossing chickens in an online game made my young friend happy and the memory of it has made both of us laugh since then. Something as complex as deciding to marry a partner or starting a business is only the beginning of a journey. And while there’s an end in view, happiness is found in the steps along the way- both in the prospect of gaining the goal and in the fact of enjoying the steps taken today. This is where happiness and success are functioning as an optimal couple. Life is centered in the present and there are plans that are being engaged for future goals.

If you need a little help getting your happy factor and your success factor to collaborate to produce your version of the ideal life, call us! One of our coaches will be happy to help!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: