One of my favorite Lumosity games is called Penguin Pursuit. The game is about two penguins in a maze (you and the computer) racing to a fish.

What makes the game really challenging is the fact that the maze spins left and right and you need to keep track of the orientation. For example, when you start the game and the maze is in the neutral position, the up arrow key will move the penguin up, and the down arrow key would move it down, but if the maze turns upside down, the orientation changes the controls : the up arrow key will move the penguin down, the left arrow key will move the penguin right etc.

If you beat the computer, you advance to the next level, with a more complicated maze, that turns faster. You keep playing until the maze starts rotating so fast that you lose the sense of direction and start bumping into walls while the other penguin slowly makes its way to the fish.

What’s really interesting about this game is that the other penguin doesn’t really matter. The other penguin will always be slower than you, otherwise the game would be unbeatable.

What truly matters is your ability to maneuver despite the changes in the environment. If you focus on the other penguin too much you will get distracted and lose the race. The real competition is yourself.

This lesson can be applied to many things in life. Although I don’t believe life is a race, we all have goals and aspirations that we gravitate towards, and sometimes we worry too much about what others do or have. Instead, learn to appreciate the things you have, and work on creating things that are meaningful to you. There will always be someone who’s better off than you, and something that you want but can’t have.

In other words, there’s always a reason to feel good about yourself, be happy and optimistic, and at the same time you can find a reason to feel pessimistic, disappointed and depressed. Sometimes, what you need is not a different environment, but different attitude. The great news is that that factor is entirely in your control.