“Have you ever played a video game that didn’t have escalating levels of difficulty? Well, life can feel like play, too, when we purposefully engage in activities that demand we test and develop our skills.” — Brendon Burchard
Why would we rather play video games than do something that’s productive in our real lives?
Well, in short it’s because the progress in a video game is directly visible and there are incentives put in place to keep you coming back. At least if the game is well designed and fits your particular tastes.
In real life however there’s some serious lag. Also, there’s no ding for “achievement unlocked” or levelling up.
It’s basically the difference between you playing Guitar Hero rather than playing the guitar.
In Guitar Hero you have a set of requirements to reach a certain level.
With an actual guitar it’s a lot fuzzier. Plus, it’s a lot more complicated piece of musical machinery than buttons and a whammy bar.
When can you actually say you’ve mastered “Through the Fire and the Flames” by Dragonforce? Well, in Guitar Hero it’s relatively simple. All the criteria is there right in front of you.
In real life it’s a lot more subjective.
Sure, you can play all the notes correctly. But what about the guitar sound? What about adding your own take on it (originality)?
That takes some serious time and effort and is often far less rewarding on the way to mastery. There’s no high score to compare it to at the end of a practice session.
That’s not to say there aren’t ways of “gamifying” real life. You can create incentives and rewards for reaching milestones and so on.
But for me the most rewarding thing you can do is to find something that you love doing so much that you’d rather do that than play videogames.
Well, maybe videogames aren’t the problem, perhaps your future lies in them, I don’t know.
However, if you’re unsure of what it is you want to do then you can start by asking yourself a couple of questions:
1. What do I love to do?
2. What am I good at?
3. Where does what I love to do intersect with what I’m good at?
4. Who can I help by doing that?
5. Where do they hang out?
Then you go there and interact with them. Don’t go barging in and offering them your services. Listen twice as much as you speak.
It’s OK to try things out. You might not strike gold on your first try. I know I didn’t. Here’s a list of my “careers” so far:
1) Musician — Guitar.
3) Musician — Bass.
6) Assembly line worker.
7) Musician again, guitar & bass along with some programming.
8) Clerk again, with some backoffice, accounting, mail order, customer service etc thrown in.
9) Studies — Pursued science, music, education, psychology, marketing, philosophy, business, history, design amongst others. Also managed to give up on economy, physics, statistics and a bunch of other stuff I found uninspiring.
10) Music Producer.
11) Consultant for artists, record labels & businesses.
12) Creative Coach.
The road to where you’re going is seldom a straight path.
Once you’ve found something you want to pursue, don’t just do it for the end result.
Learn to love the process.
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