Snakes & Ladders of health and happiness

Allow us the pleasure of introducing the Complete Wellbeing Snakes & Ladders Version 1.0 — a life-enhancing game derived from the timeless classic, Snake & Ladders

Snakes & Ladders board

Life is a bit like the game of snakes and ladders, you would agree. Self defeating habits/beliefs—snakes— take you down, whereas the self-empowering ones —ladders— take you up. But in life, it’s not the throw of the dice that determines your movement— it’s your conscious choices.

This is where our version of Snakes and Ladders differs.

Truth, repackaged

Man and woman reading how to play the gameIt is said that truth repeated too often loses its potency. But if the same truth is expressed in an uncommon manner, it regains its lost influence. That’s what we have done in this game-based cover story. It not only breaks the monotony but also adds an element of fun to the otherwise boring process of self-improvement.

Chances are, you are already familiar with many of the ‘snakes’ and ‘ladders’ we have featured here. Yet, it’s a good bet that you will still find yourself exclaiming—sometimes because of realising that you have missed a truth, which was staring in your face all the while, and at other times, because of sheer revelation.

One more thing before we leave you to play. The game covers a wide array of aspects ranging from health and fitness to self-growth and spirituality and lots in-between. While it still can’t be called exhaustive, we believe its depth is enough to point out the direction in which you’re headed so that you can make the appropriate course correction. No one is perfect. Likewise, no one is totally hopeless. We’re all somewhere in the middle. So, some of you may score higher in health but lower in relationships, while others may score well in relationships but end up at the bottom in self-growth. This means that even though your final score may tally, you may identify different areas of improvement. The idea is to take the game’s intent seriously—not the scores.

So go ahead. Begin the game. You will discover that it pays to play.

The Complete Wellbeing Snakes & Ladders© v1.0

Welcome players!

Your aim is to identify the snakes and ladders of your life with the intention of eliminating the snakes and scaling as many ladders as you can.

About the game

We’ve listed 100 things that we all think, do or believe in our day-to-day lives. Typically, we don’t give them a second thought. But some of these things augment our life, while others set us back in some way. In the game, we help you understand what serves you and what doesn’t by designating each as either a ladder or a snake.

Just like in the board game, the ladders here take you higher and snakes bring you down. Except, the scores are fixed—every ladder gets you a +5 while every snake gets you a -5.

What you need

A pen/pencil, a little imagination and lots of enthusiasm.

Number of players

Minimum: One

Maximum: There is no restriction on the number of players, this game is good as a solo game as well as a group game.

How to play

Sit in a quiet place—either alone or with your game buddies. Though a quiet setting is not mandatory, it’ll enhance the experience.

In the game, you’ll be faced with Snakes and Ladders in seven phases that represent seven spheres of your life—Body & Beauty, Health, Diet & Exercise, Relationships, Work & Money, Personal development, and Mélange.

The 100 Snakes & Ladders correspond 100 squares on the board.

The first square of the first phase is the start line. If a snake/ladder applies to you, add that to your score accordingly. If it doesn’t apply to you, you get a zero. A zero is a neutral marking and does not denote negative points.

Move from point to point, stopping at each snake/ladder to check if it is relevant to you and give yourself a score. At the end of each category, add your points and write it down in the space given at the end of the category. That is your category score. It shows you how you fare in that sphere of your life. You will be instantly aware of the need for improvement in that area. [Note: If more than one person is playing the game, they can write down their points elsewhere].

Finally, when you reach the finish line, you’ll get seven separate category scores. Add them all to arrive at your Grand Snakes and Ladders score!

For best results, save your scores for later reference. Play again in a month or two. In the interim, work on the areas you scored less. Then compare your scores. If you played in a group, all the players should compare their scores with their own old scores and against each other as well. This is one competitive game with zero collateral damage.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Try to get maximum plus points by collecting as many ladders as you can.
  • Don’t compromise the quality for speed—spend enough time on each to ascertain if it really applies to you.
  • If you make notes of how you plan to convert your snake into a ladder as you play, it helps increase your score the next time.
  • Play to carry the learnings of the game to your life, not to impress anyone.

Cardinal Rules of the Game

Don’t take it too seriously. After all, it’s just a game—designed to help make life easy, interesting and better than before. Have fun! [That’s the whole point behind this exercise….err game].

Be honest. You’re cheating no one but yourself.

And now, let's play...

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A version of this was first published in the November 2011 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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