Life lessons learned from gaming – it’s really not as far-fetched as it sounds. Think about it for a moment. Video games are one of the world’s most popular mediums of entertainment. Far from being an idle pastime for the young and the bored, video games are in fact awesomely powerful tools that aim to provide experiences like no other medium can. And as with all experiences, there’re always important lessons to be learned.
Along that train of thought, as an avid gamer in her mid-20s who has clocked hours upon hours of game time over the past decade, you’d think that I would have learned a thing or two about life by now.
And you know what? Maybe I have.
1. There’s More Than One Way To Win (And Have Fun)
Growing up, we’ve been conditioned to believe in the concept of a single pathway to success in life. We become obsessed with this ideal and lose ourselves in the pursuit of what we’ve been led to believe is happiness. In doing so, we unknowingly become our own worst enemies and often end up falling into a pattern of existential ruts.
As a generation, we can break this cycle. Much like an adventurer seeking to conquer a wide open game world, we need to have an open mind and embrace all options available to us, no matter how ridiculous they may sound. Tap into your curiosity and look into the opportunities or leads that you’ve been taught to ignore. Any adventure game aficionado or role-playing fan will easily tell you that the potential rewards and thrill of exploring the unknown far outweigh the risks of wandering off the beaten path.
Don’t be afraid of failing or breaking the mold. Steel yourself and take the road less travelled. You never know what you might find.
2. Failure Sucks, But That’s Okay
Back in school, an ‘F’ followed by a terse ‘See Me’ scribbled in red ink were the last things anyone wanted to see on their paper. Thankfully, I never had to endure such a fate but trust me when I say that just the thought of it was enough to scare the living hell out of me on a day-to-day basis.
What they didn’t tell us at the time was that failure wasn’t the end of the world. Failure is but one of two possible outcomes from the willingness to try. And much like playing a video game, things don’t always go your way and you’ll have little choice but to spend a ‘heart’ and try again – you know want to, games always have a way of convincing you to try again.
And you know what? That’s perfectly okay. We’re all human, not one-hit wonders built to precise specifications. Getting good at something, in life or video games, takes time. And while you’re getting there, you better be prepared to lose a few more ‘hearts’ along the way. I could probably bring up any number of clichéd platitudes to illustrate my point but I think you get the picture.
3. Giving Up Is Lame
Now, we’ve already established that failure isn’t that bad of a thing. Giving up on the other hand is really kind of lame.
Why? Because giving up implies that you’ve stopped. It implies that you’ve made the conscious decision to stand up, say ‘I’m done’ and left the room. It means that you’ve wilfully overridden the rules and put an end to what could have been a fulfilling experience for you and your peers.
Failure comes naturally both in life and in video games. We all make mistakes; we all mess up once in a while; we all occasionally fall into that bottomless pit in Mario. Failure can be a rough card to deal with and it can get oh so very tempting to up and leave, especially when faced with a real-life crisis. As long as you keep on trudging and learning from your failures, you’ll surely find it in you to beat that annoying stage or life problem and find yourself in a happy place, eventually.
Once you’ve given up and effectively stopped trying though, then all hope of success gets hurled out the window. So yes, don’t give up. Fail if you must, but don’t let the game end that way.