This article isn’t written solely for gamers!!!
This is an article about learning, and how you can draw meaning and wisdom from even the most unexpected sources.
Thing is, people, particularly people who suffer from anxiety and depression, tend to try and escape their otherwise dull or maddening realities.
One way to do that is by playing video games.
Most people’s realities suck, so it should come as no surprise that many choose to escape into the video game realm.
How many? Well, according to a 2013 report the number back then stood at 1.2 billion people.
It doesn’t have to be hardcore video games either, playing angry birds on your smartphone is also being counted in this list.
That’s a scary thought, yet hope isn’t lost – video games aren’t an overly productive hobby but they aren’t a bad terrible one at their very nature.
The fact that most of them aren’t good for you left notwithstanding.
I myself played a lot of video games until very recently, I was a PC gamer that clocked many hours into different games, well over 5,000 in just the past 6 years.
The fact that I had no real friends during my childhood drove me into playing a bunch of games. And for all the good it didn’t do me, I did notice a few recurring themes during my journey to self-improvement.
Alright, what did I actually learn? Let me tell you these 8 very important life lessons from video games that I have played.
1) Nothing that you achieve easily has any worthwhile meaning
“Nothing ever comes to one, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work.” – Booker T. Washington
Picture this situation – You are playing a video game in which you are stranded in some fantasy world, with your goal being at the end of the map. All you have to do is to go there and take it.
There are a bunch of powerful creatures in your way. So you could either:
- Level up your character and make it stronger through hundreds of hours of gameplay, or:
- You could you an invincibility cheat code and rush through the entire map on the spot.
I never had much patience, so when faced with something that required actual skill to master I would just cheat and be done with it.
Needless to say that although I enjoyed the sense of victory (with the game congratulating me and all) I didn’t enjoy my the game at all. It was as though I was playing for the sake of a known goal that I couldn’t possibly mess up.
In real life that practice sounds awesome, always knowing that you will succeed at what you do, but it is far from being interesting.
Playing life on easy mode is boring and takes away the meaning of anything you do. Sure, you could get a part time job and live with your parents until you are like 30, but that would beat the whole point, wouldn’t it?
Yeah, that’s what I thought.
2)It was meant to be beaten.
Can you imagine what would happen if a developer were to release a game that is impossible?
I don’t mean like hard, or absurdly hard, but flat-out impossible? A game that was created for the sole purpose of being unbeatable?
Wouldn’t that be a fun joke?
That’s all that it would be, however, since nobody likes to lose. And when success is unreachable all that remains is a failure.
Sure, the game might have great gameplay, a great storyline, maybe even some awesome dialogue, but all of that will be overwritten because of it being impossible.
Nothing else will matter – endless failure isn’t fun, so people aren’t going to play it.
So developers don’t make such games, and luckily for you, your life isn’t such a game either.
Much like video games, your life always has a way for you to sort through it and reach your goals, with some obvious limitations.
No matter how impossible or absurd something may seem, being a world-class failure simply means that you are improving your skills on your path to victory.
For victory is inevitable.
When I put it like that it does seem pretty reasonable, yeah? Good.
3) As long as you keep playing you won’t lose.
No matter how difficult a game is, as long as you have the end-result before your eyes you shouldn’t be stopping.
You see, your character may die hundreds of times over, you may fail again and again, but in the end, none of that matters.
You want to beat that level or kill that boss, which is why you will keep losing again and again until you win.
Simply put, as long as you don’t give up you are going to find a way, it might take a while, and it might be extremely difficult and frustrating, but the end result is going to be more than worth it.
That annoying boss will be dead!
That nasty level will be cleared!
And that stupid report will be finished!
It all comes together. Statistically speaking, even if you got a 1% chance at victory you are still more likely to pull it off through 100 attempts rather than trying once and giving up.
Besides, no one is going to remember how many times you failed, when your name comes up all they will be talking about is the way you succeeded at everything you put your mind to. They will believe that there is a secret to be discovered, but you will know better.
4) You won’t be great at everything, so stop worrying.
When it comes to video games, the sheer volume of genres and types of gameplay are all overwhelming.
As such, it should come off as no surprise that you will be better at some over others.
Heck, it might come off as you being terrible in one game while mastering the other. And it makes sense, too!
Think about it like this: you start playing a game. This game is fun, so you play it a lot more.
You get better and better, and eventually, over time you reach a high level of skill in it.
Then you pick another game that you want to master, you suck at it the same way you did in your first one.
So you will put many more hours into practicing it until you eventually will get great at it too.
But what will you do if another one pops in? You only got so much time after all, and giving up on one of your games will make you worse at that game.
Right, so instead of just doing your best to master every skill and trial in your life, do yourself a favor and choose specifically, choosing your trials to face carefully.
After all, trying to do it all will ensure that you won’t be accomplishing anything.
5) There are hidden gems in unexpected places
Did you ever play that type of game?
That game in which you randomly search the map, get to a random bathroom and find a hidden collectible of sorts? Yeah, I do too.
Opportunities that we have never expected are always waiting for us below the surface, life has an odd tendency to kick you when you aren’t doing enough.
It also has a tendency to reward you for making your way through your life, finding these “hidden gems” in the most mundane places.
The fact is, you really aren’t aware of other people around you, not to mention your surroundings. Game developers know this, so they encourage you to get into the game and explore by hiding different secrets all over the place.
So does life.
Don’t get it? Alright, let me ask you this question – what do you know about the last 5 people you met? What about the last 3 places you visited?
Sure, you might give me a few general details, mostly ones you gathered from small talk, but why didn’t you ever bother looking a bit more into it. Why is it that people learn a game from the inside out yet never seem to make as much time or put as much effort when it comes to their everyday lives?
There are plenty of “hidden collectibles” that you are yet to discover, so go on and do just that!
Truth is, playing too many video games is bad for you, and my article isn’t here to make you feel better with that.
If you are an addict then you should stop, I will post a follow-up article to this one very soon, so keep and eye for that one.
Meanwhile here’s a quick question for you: Is playing video games a fun hobby, in your opinion?
Make sure to write your answer in the comment section below, I go through every single one of them.
If you got any question you would like me to answer personally then you should email me. I read all emails as soon as possible and reply to every single one of them just as quickly.