How Video Games can change your life
How Video Games can change your life? There are a lot of parallels between video games and real life. In a video game, as your character progresses through the game and you upgrade your stats and make more money, you’re able to unlock better equipment, new and more powerful abilities. And travel to different and more exciting parts of the map. And life kind of works in the exact same way. As you develop marketable skills and improve yourself, your options in life open up. Our entire society seems to operate on a competence hierarchy.
The people who get the most attention, the most money, and have the most opportunity in life, tend to, not always, but tend to be very, very good at something. But everyone kind of knows this whether instinctually or by societal conditioning. So I’m not really saying anything new like, “Oh, if you wanna get better at life “and be successful, “then stop playing so many video games “and spending so much time “upgrading your video game character, “and start upgrading your real-life character.” While that may be true, there’s a glaring issue with that whole approach.
Upgrading Your Skills
It’s that unlike video games, upgrading your skills and getting so good at things to the point where people start paying you lots of money, and you reach the upper echelons of society, if that’s what you want to do anyways, it’s really hard to do. And it takes a lot of time. Years and years and years, sometimes even decades. So people don’t bother doing it. Pretty much everybody knows exactly what it will take to become successful, but it’s just so difficult to do it that we distract ourselves with TV and video games and whatever other vice that we have. So, we stay in a bad situation or a lower paying job or whatever our undesirable present conundrum is.
Analyzing Video Games to change your life
But thankfully, There’s an answer to this problem. I think we can analyze video games and try to figure out what makes them so compelling. Why is it so fun to level up our in game character? And can we leverage that and apply that same approach to real life? But in order to answer that question more accurately, we need to dive into video games and figure out what video games are doing better than real life. Video games have better clarity of objectives. Say in “Rune Scape” if you’re level one attack, you can only wheel the bronze or iron sword. And if you try to pick up a steel sword, it won’t let you. It says you need level five attack. So all you got to do is slash up goblins for like half an hour, and you can achieve level five.
Clarity of Objectives
Even when you talk to a random NPC in “Skyrim” and he wants you to go do something, whatever he said automatically gets updated to a quest log. And if you were to Wikipedia that quest, it would tell you exactly what reward you stand to gain from completing it and what exact steps you need to do to complete that quest. While the possibilities for what you can do in a video game may not be as extensive as they are in real life, the objectives are certainly more clear.
We know exactly what we need to do in a video game most of the time unless it’s a puzzle game and you like that kind of thing. You usually have a backlog of things you need to do. And all the little steps you need to get there are broken down into little tiny baby steps that will ensue towards your goal.
Reality Vs Games
Video games change a life. In real life though, you’re kind of born to a random family, in a random part of the map, you have a random race and a random socioeconomic class. And as far as you know, you didn’t even agree to play the game. You didn’t even know you were playing the game until you gained some sort of mental autonomy. You’re kind of like, “Okay, I’m here now. “And my dad does this for a living. “And I have two siblings “and blahbity, blahbity, blah.” You’re not really given a clear-cut tutorial as to what to do or what the point of the game is.
You kind of just arrived and are expected to figure it out. The people around you espouse vague sentiments like, “Get a good job. “Find a good wife. “Settle down and have a nice house.” All of these things are great, but they definitely lack the clarity that a video game gives you. The vagueness of it all definitely leads a lot of people to have analysis paralysis, or not know exactly what they wanna do in life because there are so many options, they can’t pick one. They’re afraid if they go on a path, it’s not gonna be the right one. So video games definitely have more clear objectives that help you do stuff.
Another big one is the difficulty. Video games are way easier than real life. Physically, all it asks of you is to move your fingers a little bit and hit some plastic every once in a while. All you’re doing is kind of tricking your monkey brain into thinking that you’re achieving things. But in reality, you’re just sitting there. So physically, it’s extremely easy. And the time commitment is usually way lower.
Getting Married in Games
In “The Sims” if you wanna become a master chef, then it only takes like what? A couple of weeks in the game or something like that, which really translates to a couple of hours of playing. But in real life, if you wanna become a master chef, it takes an entire lifetime.
Not only that, you have to be interested in it. You have to be willing to sacrifice friendships and other things in order to pursue that goal over years and years and decades. – Roll the pizza dough. – Here’s more mozzarella. – Roll the pizza dough. What are you doing? – You wanna find a wife in “The Sims” all you have to do is look around for the first girl that you see that’s kind of this relatively same age as you and you woo her. Spam the flirt options until she attracted to your bar goes up? Anyways, there’s literally a bar that tells you how into you she is. And as soon as that bar hits the end or it max’s out, you can pop her the question, and then you have a wife. And that can take like 15 minutes to do.
Getting Married in Real life
In real life though, if you wanna find a spouse, you got to clean yourself up a bit. You have to be somewhat respectable. We have got to go out and meet new people and put yourself in uncomfortable situations. You have to be bold and courageous to ask people out and ask them on a date. And you need to show up on that date. You need to be on time for that date. You need to be engaged and listen. We must ask difficult questions. You need to see if that person is actually somewhat like you, or if you guys can relate. And maybe that will lead to a couple more dates.
It might work out in heartbreak because you really liked that girl and she didn’t like you back. Or maybe she really liked you and you didn’t really like her, and you had to tell her the hard truth that you’re just not into her. There’s a lot of emotional stakes and uncomfortable situations that go into dating and potentially finding a spouse.
A lot of the time that whole process can take several iterations. Video games can change life. You can be going on dates for years and years and decades even. And you might never even find a spouse. Who knows? It’s not math. It’s not like in video games where there’s a little algorithm you have to follow or you do a little Wikipedia search for something. Life is just way harder than video games. Even if you look at something so simple as getting jacked, getting big, and muscular at the gym. In real life, it’s actually pretty simple. Eat lots of protein, around a gram per pound of body weight. You need to go to the gym and lift more weight than you did last time. You got to do that over and over and over again until you’re just a huge human being.
Risks in Video Games vs Reality
In most video games, your characters usually just come prebuilt jacked. You’re just a super muscular guy right off the get-go, and you don’t even need to work out to maintain it. It’s amazing. – It’s my ideal form. I’m just freaking jacked and I’m yoked. – So let’s talk about risk, not the board game, but the concept of risk.
In real life, everything is a kind of risk. In the pursuit of wealth, you risk going bankrupt. On the pursuit of intimacy, we risk rejection. In the pursuit of a particular degree, you risk the chance that you picked the wrong one. You risk years of hating whatever you picked. But in video games, there’s basically no risk. You risk losing gold and supplies, I guess, that doesn’t really exist. But ultimately, you don’t get to feel the stabs, the hacks, and the slashes inflicted upon your end-game character. If you die, you just respond. If your team gets squad wiped, you just play another round.
Rewards in Video Games
In video games, you get all of the rewards with none of the risks. So video games have clearer objectives. They are easier to do. And there’s basically no risk involved. Then what’s stopping us from spending just all of our time in video games and giving up on this whole life thing and just spending all of our time playing “Minecraft” Well, I think it’s in this final category where life really takes the lead. That is the category of rewards. It’s nice to get a little dopamine rush when you get a headshot or a squad wipe or a win or unlocking that new armor or that special knife. But it only feels good while you’re playing the game.
Video games can change a life. Video game rewards are what I would call, superficial rewards. They’re instantly gratifying, kind of like a donut. They’re sweet and they’re colorful on the surface, but hollow and nutritionally useless at its core. At their core? At their core. And if all you eat is donuts, you will gradually decay and become ill on a long enough timeline.
Rewards in Real Life
Video game rewards are fun, but they do virtually nothing to increase your baseline sense of fulfillment. Whereas rewards in real life, both have a higher ceiling and are deeper and longer-lasting. You don’t need me to tell you that there’s kind of a difference in the reward you get from unlocking a new helmet in a video game versus the rewards you get for being a good father and raising a family and instilling good values into your children.
Getting a squad wipe is really fun at the moment, but it pales in comparison to the type of satisfaction that living a life that you’re proud of gives you. Being somebody that you admire. Living your life in a way that, if you were viewing yourself from the third person, you’d say, “Hey, that guy’s a really cool guy.” Being that person offers you the satisfaction that video game rewards just can’t give you.
Video games can change a life. Life offers you the opportunity to make something of yourself so you can contribute to the world around you. And that feels good on an existential level, not just on a little brain chemical level. So that’s kind of enough of that Sunday school sermon. How do we make real-life into a video game? How do we leech all of the power and the compelling nature of video games and apply it to real life? Well, I have a couple of ideas. Well, a few ideas. A couple is two. A few are more than three? Three or more? I have a few ideas, several ideas even.
Get Clear Objectives
Step one is to get clearer objectives. You have to treat the goals in your life as a quest log in a video game. You have to clearly define what your goal is and what the steps you need to take to get there are. And then you need to clearly define the reward that you stand to gain for achieving that thing. If you don’t have that roadmap, then you can’t really guarantee that your brain can fully understand what’s at stake. It’s just gonna become another vague sentiment that gets brushed under the rug and you ignore for your whole life.
So if something is important to you, write it down. Write exactly what it is that you need to achieve. And write down every single little step you need to take to get there as efficiently as possible. And then you can get yourself emotionally excited about it. There’s a reason why you want the things that you want. It’s because you stand to gain so much from it. But unless you clearly define it, you’re going to forget it. And once you create a roadmap of all of the quests you have on cue, you could really benefit from reducing the difficulty. Video games are extremely easy. Life is hard. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Breaking Down the Quests
Video games can change a life. You can break down these quests into the smallest possible daily action that will propel you towards your goal. If your goal is to write a book, and you’ve always wanted to write a book, you wanna become an author, then break down that thing, that goal, into this smallest possible daily habit that you’re actually likely to do. And that’s probably something like write 100 words a day. And that might be so insultingly low, you’ll think to yourself, “Wow, I’ll never achieve “the goal of writing a book. “100 words. That’s nothing.” But if you usually do zero words, that’s infinitely more than zero. I think that’s math. I was about to say it’s 100 times more than zero.
Make a Habit
If you want to learn guitar, if you wanna be very good at guitar, but you never practice, then download a habit tracker and make “practice 15 minutes of guitar” I don’t know how many quotations I need, a daily habit that you do every single day. And you might think to yourself, “Wow, 15 minutes? “Everybody that I know “who’s very good at guitar “practices for at least an hour a day.” Well, you don’t. And you need to get in the habit and get really good at practicing 15 minutes a day over the period of months before you upgrade to 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 40 minutes even.
So the next thing is for things that remain difficult no matter what. Not everything can be broken down into a tiny little habit that you take action on every single day. Some things are just acutely difficult and you have to deal with them.
Absorbing the Power of Resistance
So there’s a weird phenomenon I’ve noticed throughout my whole life. And that is that you can game-ify resistance. There’s the power to be absorbed from the feeling of resistance. If you’ve ever gone cliff jumping, then you know this feeling really well. All your friends are jumping off of this 30-foot cliff into the water. They’re having such a good time. And it’s your turn. And you hate Heights. As you step onto that ledge, there’s a feeling in your gut. It’s like this tight knot. All of your survival instincts are telling you not to jump. There is like a wall, a palpable wall of resistance stopping you from taking that leap. But if you’ve ever taken that leap before, you know that the second your foot leaves that ledge, you ignore the resistance anyways.
Video games can change a life. There’s almost a euphoria that overwhelms you as you jump over the cliff and you plunge into that icy cold water. You feel alive and invigorated. You feel incredible and powerful. It’s because you absorbed the power of that resistance. You devoured it. And this applies to pretty much everything in life where there is a significant amount of internal resistance. When you overcome resistance, you absorb its power. And the greater the resistance, the greater the power.
Understanding the Truth
Understanding this truth can really change the way that you see the world. Instead of seeing it as a bad thing that the rewards in life are hidden behind discomfort paywalls, you’ll view it as a good thing. You’ll see these pockets of discomfort as power-ups that you can absorb on demand. They’re lying around everywhere for you in life. Asking a girl out, there’ll be a wall of discomfort there. But overcoming that wall offers you the power, regardless of the response. She could reject you or whatever, but it doesn’t take away the fact that you overcame discomfort and you have become somebody who is better at overcoming discomfort. And that is a tangible, powerful feeling to have. And it’s a power that sticks with you. So game- discomfort.
Embracing the Risk
Another way to game-ify real life is to embrace risk. If you become a risk-taker, somebody who’s more comfortable with risk, you’ll gain the strength to bear life’s pain. Realize that by not taking risks in life, you’re not saving yourself from pain. All you’re doing is trading away the acute discomfort of action for the slow-burning longer lasting decay of inaction, where feelings like despair and regret blossom. So how is that any less painful? And the final thing is just to remind yourself and reflect on the rewards that life has to offer.
You’re allowed to get excited about being the person that you want to be. Achieving something you’ve always wanted to achieve. And I think it’s important that we reflect on these potential rewards often. Otherwise, our daily grind can kind of get so monotonous it feels pointless. There’s a reason why people play video games. They’re super fun. They’re super compelling. But the video game rewards pale in comparison to the type of rewards that life can give you when it starts going your way. And if it feels like it’s been a while since it’s been going your way.
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