Life is a Series of Games


Are we actually living life freely without any restraints or are we inside a computer generation like the Matrix? Where every aspect of our lives is a game within itself. Becoming aware of this idea gives you the power and the ability to construct your life in a way so you can win!

When I was a young Marine, I was drifting among the ranks, following orders and being what they called a “stanchion recruit” or a person who blended in and was invisible. I was the kind of Marine who was very ordinary. I would have stayed like this probably my entire career until I met another young Marine whose name was Private First Class (PFC) Taylor.

PFC Taylor and I met on a pre-deployment to Afghanistan. One day, when we were sitting outside at work, I mentioned to another Marine how I fancied playing pool or billiards. PFC Taylor overheard and instantly challenged me knowing in his mind that he could kick my butt. What PFC Taylor didn’t know is that I had been playing pool consistently, and at a high level, for years before the Marine Corps. I was playing the game to win, at any cost, as I always have in pool. His determination was inspiring as he refused to give up, even after losing continuously; he kept playing again and again.

His first impression of me was that of a humble, simple, and passive-aggressive Marine. He saw on the pool table though that inside of me was a fierce, methodical, and strategic player ready to pounce at a moment’s notice. With this discovery, PFC Taylor began his inquiry of my life before the Marines. I told him, “Back in college I was very outgoing, extroverted, and was on a mission to transform the student experience. I created clubs and organizations, joined student governance, and was asked to sit on the Vice-President’s task force as the Student Liaison and provide crucial input for enhancing the student experience.”

At this moment he was stupefied. He said to me, “You played the college game and won, why not do the same thing in the Marines?” I replied, “What do you mean, I’m doing fine.” He then exclaimed, “Macklin, the Marine Corps is a game, like all of life, once you know it exists and figure out the rules, you can then game it to win!” The next two hours, he explained to me the benefit of using my skills of networking, volunteerism, creativity, unselfishness, and resourcefulness to create a future of rapid promotions, awards, high-performance evaluations, and deployments. Once I created a game, called “Gaming The Marines,” my entire career shifted.

When life becomes a game, and you see a higher purpose for whatever you’re doing, then you’re much more willing to put effort into winning it. If you can create games in all parts of your life and strive to level up in each one, you’ll be amazed at where it might take you.


Alex Macklin is a Certified Personal Trainer and Yoga teacher in San Diego. He specializes in building strength, mobility, flexibility and rehabilitation with his clients. His mission is to empower people to their own greatness with strength, grace and passion.