A few months ago, I posted an article questioning us, the gamer, are we escaping life? Tough stuff to think about when you really like something such as videogames. Some of you may be thinking “What the hell Dave, why do you have to put used kitty litter in our happy place like that?!” Well, what if I stuff your happy place with dollar bills and candy? You had time to think about whether or not your gaming is an escape for your life, now is the time to think about implementing it into your life.
Some gamers I know prefer a 9-to-5 life or a simple job that they can come home to, and then forget about the rest of the day by playing some games for the rest of the evening. Some gamers like working at a retail store or as a food server, but many gamers I know hate this. Before I get into it, let me share with you the way work, careers, and economics are evolving and changing. For the longest time we’ve had this thing called the Industrial Age; the game of mass production for the mass consumer. Right now that is all changing, the game is becoming less and less about the average masses and more about individual tribes and niches. But going a bit further it’s also a time where your hobby is the most important thing regardless of what it is, because now more than ever that hobby can be your profession. The people I know who have always had a passion for something, who weren’t your “normal” kids in school are all some of the most successful people I know. I want to teach you that the “game” doesn’t end when you put your controller down. The same principles of gaming are all around you ready to be played.
Isn’t it amusing how the people who seem to be the most afraid of things in the outside world are ironically the ones in the gaming world who take huge risks and charge guns blazing at their goals? I asked a friend once who is a fellow gamer as we were in a restaurant, “Hey why don’t you go say hi to that girl you keep starring at over there?” He turned mana-flare red in the face and said, “No way! I’m too nervous.” I paused for a second and thought back to when I would feel the exact same way, and then I told him, “You’re always going to feel nervous, I always feel nervous doing that too but that is how you know it’s worth it.” Aren’t we all a bit nervous in a video game before fighting that final boss or dragon? It might not be the same anxiety we have in real life situations but it’s there, and why do we do it? Because we know if we don’t face these challenges we get no reward, we lose by being safe and without action. So while it is very rare to meet a girl who can breathe fire, the point is the same; you’re going to be nervous about things in life and that is okay, it means it is worth something and there are rewards to it. My friend later got up and talked to that girl, they’ve been together now for over a year.
Sometimes you fail though, and this is usually the biggest fear for people. Well what happens when you fail against that dragon or boss in the game? Do you shut the game off and walk away? Sometimes, but you always come back and figure a way how to defeat it and how to succeed, you learned from every defeat and got back up. In life you fortunately won’t have a job interview over a pit of lava facing a seventy foot tall fire giant (Wait, that is unfortunate, that would be one hell of a job interview!), . You need to see an interview, an ice breaker, a test, or any obstacle as that fire giant. You might fail, but each time you will learn something new about what you are trying to accomplish and succeed at. You might not get that job, but the next interview you face you will be better and know what to do and what not to do. You only truly fail by not acting, by giving up, and by giving into the fear of failure itself.
“The same applies in the outside world, surround yourself with positive people and you will get more positive results, surround yourself with negative people and don’t complain that there’s so much drama and crap in your life.”
The other thing you must learn from videogames is that there are rules, but these rules can be bent (different from cheating) and life is the same way. Take the example of massive multiplayer online player games. They have basic rules like kill a monster to get experience, but do you go about the entire game killing one monster at a time? No, you find more efficient ways of doing the dirty work of monster slaying; group with similar people, have a team of dynamics, and find places no one else is to hunt. The same applies in the outside world, surround yourself with positive people and you will get more positive results, surround yourself with negative people and don’t complain that there’s so much drama and crap in your life. Do what everyone else is doing and you will be stuck where they are stuck, bend the rules and think outside the box. Why slay orcs where everyone else is slaying orcs? Why apply to a guild position that everyone else is applying to? Find new areas and create your own guild, apply to jobs that don’t have job listings, or with hard work you create your own job just as you created your own guild with hard work.
Some people bend the rules to the dismay of others, exploiters and such, this gets into a gray moral area. A fine example of this are when you come across a Youtube video for a fake movie trailer, the video has 90% dislikes but so what? It has 2 million views! They won, they got the attention and clicks they needed all from bending the rules. Media tycoons do this too; Rush Limbaugh gets people angry and says controversial things. Why? Because it gets him attention, he bends the rules and succeeds in his own way by doing so. The nerd controversy of booth babes, guess what? That’s marketing, it bends the rules and while some hate it and some love it they win either way by getting attention from both sides. So always remember just as there are exploiters and hackers in a game there are exploiters in life too.
In video games, do you go out to fight the last boss with the same equipment you had when you were just starting out? Do you use a wooden sword? No, you use upgraded and better tools for your character. This is likened to things in life such as not wearing flip flops with unclipped toenails to a job interview. As you make your character in video games better, the most important thing to take away from this entire thing is to also make your own character better in real life. My last sentences in the previous paragraph pointed out how there are people who exploit and do things without integrity to get ahead, my suggestion is to avoid this. Do things ethically, have integrity, and be professional because scum will catch up to scumbags. My mentors, some who are multi-millionaires, have all told me to be ethical and never do things solely for money or you will fail, do things because it is your passion and you love to do it and money will always follow so don’t worry about that. It all starts with you, your character just as it starts with your character in a videogame. It’s not easy though, most of the best games aren’t and life is the best game there is. Some tips to start on leveling up your own character in real life:
Smile and eye contact. A genuine smile is the most important message your body can say to anyone ever. You must realize body language is a language, let smiling be the first words you teach it. Your eyes also speak, guys, this is the most important form of communication with a woman so get use to doing it.
Hygiene. If you come in for an interview unclean, long fingernails, and smelly you know what that tells me? It tells me if you can’t take care of yourself. How can you take care of the job you’re going to do? No one likes smelly lazy people, and it’s time this stereotype of the gamer gets cleaned up.
Clothes for the occasion. There’s a time to wear your Captain America t-shirt with holes but one of those times is not to an interview. I own one shiny ass black suit I got from a meteorite, while this is rare I do suggest to get a suit for those specific professional occasions when needed.
Study social dynamics. I’m sorry but as nerds we need work in this department. It’s not everyone, but I have lost count over the numerous times I’ve had one awkward situation after another. Things that just are just pure chaos, social errors as I call them, people starring down at the floor, spitting on carpets, loud outbursts of ogre belch laughs, annoyances after annoyances. The sad part is the few people who really need help with this are oblivious to the fact they are socially awkward to the extreme. Things that can help, 1) work retail or service job that requires lots of human interaction. Working retail can suck, but it taught me a valuable thing and that is talking to people. 2) Observe, watch others, watch TV shows and movies and study their interactions. You will never see George Clooney starring down at the floor when he’s talking to someone or rambling on about their Battlestar Galactica collection for 3 hours. 3) Pray to Zeus.
I’ll leave off with some resources to check out that have helped me a lot and changed my life. Just remember that everything in life is a learning experience, you’re gaining experience and levels as you go, and it’s okay to be nervous and afraid of things but it’s not okay when fear makes the decision for you to do nothing. It’s scary to try and make your own business or learn a new skill, but be optimistic because no matter what happens you are going to learn and gain from it. Unlike video games, in real life you can’t lose experience, only gain it! Geeks and nerds have intense passions and hobbies, we are not normal, and that is a very good thing because normal is boring, safe, forgotten, and doesn’t change anything. We are coming to a time where innovation and ideas are the game changers, your hobbies and passions can be turned into careers no matter how out there they may seem. Remember it is not easy and doesn’t happen overnight just as those dragons were not easy before you defeated them.
Anything by Seth Godin I consider gold, this is a great video on Tribes (guilds).
Pat Flynn runs a site called the Smart Passive Income, excellent podcast and site all for free proving you can have any hobby, passion, or interest and make a career out of it.