- You don't even realize there's a game. (And any contest, market, project or engagement is at some level a game).
- You start getting involved and it feels like a matter of life or death. Every slight cuts deeply, every win feels permanent. "This is the most important meeting of my life…"
- You realize that it's a game and you play it with strategy. There's enough remove for you to realize that winning is important but that continuing to play is more important than that. And playing well is most important.
- You get bored with the game, because you've seen it before. Sometimes people at this stage quit, other times they sabotage their work merely to make the game feel the way it used to.
- And then a new, different game begins.
December 1, 2011