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You Need To Play Video Games Because They Can Help Prepare Your Life

You Need To Play Video Games Because They Can Help Prepare Your Life

If you’re reading this, there’s a decent chance that you play or have played video games at some point in your lifetime. And it’s not just “kid stuff” anymore; the average gamer is 31 years old, and more than likely grew up playing video games in various formats. While it used to be the norm to consider gaming a waste of time, it’s now widely accepted as a genuine hobby and pastime. What we haven’t paid much attention to is the fact that this hobby can actually prepare us for the real world in a variety of ways.

1. They allow you to cheat

Let’s get this one out of the way early, shall we? Video games are full of cheats and tricks that allow you to unlock certain areas or items without putting in all the (*gasp*) work you would otherwise need to do if you played the game fairly. While I wouldn’t condone getting ahead in life through unethical or immoral means, there are certainly many people who have gotten away with doing just that. But, if you get caught doing something illegal in real life, your punishment will be more severe than being forced to wear a dunce cap. At any rate, you should probably the cheating to the virtual realm.

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2. They promote exploration

Ever since the original Legend of Zelda was released back in the 1980s, video games have required players to dive into virtual worlds in order to discover the secrets within. Even linear games like Super Mario Bros. had warp tunnels and other surprises stashed away for those who dared venture off the beaten path. Isn’t that was life is all about? Even though most of our world has been mapped out, there’s still a ton out there to discover. And the awards for finding something new in real life are much greater than getting to skip to level 8!

3. They promote perseverance

Any true gamer has one game they can play for at least a couple minutes with their eyes closed. But that’s because they’ve been through that level dozens (and possibly hundreds) of times. And quitting was never an option. We just had to get past that one boss or obstacle. In real life, the only people who experience true success are the ones who get back up after being knocked down a peg, and keep working hard until they attain their goals. Even if it means starting from scratch sometimes, it’s important to push through adversity to get where you want to be in life.

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4. They promote socialization

Video games require you to socialize on two different levels: as your in-game character, and as a person in the real world. If you’ve ever played an RPG, such as Final Fantasy, you know the importance of talking to every single character you come into contact with. While most non-playable characters in these games don’t add much to your story, you never know when talking to a passerby will lead you to a new and exciting adventure.

Although there is the long-running stereotype of video gamers being Mountain Dew-swilling basement dwellers, they’re now more than ever required to interact with one another, at least within their games. Online play has transformed the way we play games. We can now cooperate with or issue challenges to other gamers all over the world, which, incidentally, gives some of us even less reason to leave their apartment. That wasn’t the point I wanted to make! Ugh…anyway…

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5. They strengthen foresight

Think back to the hours you’ve undoubtedly spent playing Tetris. Remember how you always kept one side completely unblocked so you could fit the long, straight piece in and clear four lines at once? It seems pretty simple now, but as kids the game was teaching us to think strategically and to time our moves perfectly.

Also, many games nowadays require the player to make decisions for their character that will ultimately affect the storyline in major ways. Even in the virtual world, in which you can restart from your last save point if you die, game designers are implementing the notion of cause and effect, and that every action has a consequence that may change the course of a person’s entire life.

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6. They evoke empathy

While we’re on the subject of characters, I’d be remiss if I didn’t discuss the emotional responses video games can evoke. Any avid reader or theatre-goer will tell you that media can have an incredible effect on a person’s emotions. Video games take it one step further, in that, for the duration of the time you’re playing them, you become connected to the character you’re controlling. Even younger gamers who have never experienced loss in real life can begin to gain an understanding of what it is and how to deal with it through the way a character reacts within a storyline. Not only can video games teach you a lot about the world, but they can also teach you a lot about yourself.

Featured photo credit: social gamers & siblings – _MG_0983 / sean dreilinger via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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