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7 Life Lessons I Learned Playing Video Games

7 Life Lessons I Learned Playing Video Games

During the course of a person’s life, he or she can pick up quite a few valuable lessons. Experience is a great teacher, and the best part is that once that light bulb lights up above your head and you come to understand a certain truth of life, it can be applied to several different areas. Mastering a new skill is a typical example, where the psychological aspects apply to any sport, art, or trade. However, there is one incredibly popular activity that people don’t often think can help teach them important lessons, and that is gaming.

I can already picture a few readers snickering or snorting derisively at the mere notion that something as trivial as playing video games may have serious benefits. To those people I say: “Feel free to read on and keep an open mind.” As for my fellow gaming enthusiasts out there who have probably had similar moments of revelation, I think you are going to enjoy reliving some past moments, smiling and nodding knowingly.

1. Don’t be too trusting towards random strangers

Trust

    As kids, we are taught not to talk to strangers and to be careful, but as time goes on, we start developing healthy relationships with others and meeting tons of genuinely good people. It’s easy to become accustomed to encountering helpful people, particularly within a community you feel very comfortable and safe in. It is then when we can let our guards down. Even though I knew all the right tips on staying safe online, in my laziness the hassle of remembering a long password seemed far worse than having my account hacked, which ended up coming back to bite me during my World of Warcraft craze.

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    Oh, and if a benevolent stranger offers to enchant your item if you provide him with the right materials, throw a fireball in his lying face before he gets the chance to run off with the goods. There are plenty of scammers out there who want to use your compassion and trusting nature against you.

    2. You need to tackle a problem from multiple angles

    Think outside the box

      There often comes a point in a game where you find yourself stuck. I would spin my wheels in place on more than one occasion, getting progressively more and more irritated, playing anything from Super Mario to Max Pain and GTA, and eventually things like Dark Souls. Over the years, I learned to control my temper and give myself time to breathe when faced with a seemingly insurmountable problem.

      I leave the room, prepare some coffee, and try to think of different solutions to the problem after I’ve let my brain relax for some 10-20 minutes. This has proven to work like a charm for both tackling bosses on hard mode and dealing with everyday problems like budgeting or completing projects in record time.

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      3. Hours of frustration can turn into a glorious moment of joy

      Going through hell

        Sometimes you can get stuck in a rut for hours before you ultimately complete an objective or move on to another area. I fail to find words that adequately describe that feeling of utter joy, that moment of unrestrained euphoria when you finally accomplish something that seemed impossible merely a few hours ago. Video games have taught me that sometimes you need to grind through a lot of frustrating work that may seem bleak and unrewarding if you want to get to the point where you feel truly proud of what you have achieved.

        4. Failure is not the end of the world, it’s an opportunity to learn

          In order to get good at a game, you need to get to know the universe and the rules well and to develop the necessary skills, e.g., timing, dexterity, resource allocation, etc. To do this, you need to fail a bunch of times. Sometimes you fail miserably, die, or even scratch everything and start all over from level one with a new character. Once you get into this mindset of “failure is merely a teaching tool,” you’ll start to apply it to other aspects of life without even realizing it. You can develop a lot of patience and focus if you go through life as if you were playing some kind of gloriously immersive RPG.

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          5. You can cheat your way through a lot of tough situations or find shortcuts

          Life is never fair

            This one might not be very politically correct, but the truth is that we don’t live in a world of sunshine and rainbows. Not everything is fair. There are rules to everything, and when someone understands the underlying system, it’s easy to find and exploit various glitches, bugs, or overpowered items. In real life, there are many situations that you can see coming a mile away if you know how they are usually “scripted,” and in most cases there is an easier way to overcome obstacles and NPC’s that you know are coming.

            For example, you know that restaurants and clubs are essentially pay-to-win – so you can throw a stack of cash at the maître d’ or a bouncer to get in. You know that a certain type of item coupled with an apology gives you a +10 boost to your “silent treatment” and “cold shoulder” resistance when facing your partner. There are tons of little tricks you can learn that will make your life a whole lot easier.

            6. You’ll find rare gems in the strangest of places

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            Rare gems

              If games have taught me anything, it’s that you never leave any stone unturned, any vase unbroken, or any chest unopened, even if you have to go back once you’ve finally gotten around to adding those last 15 points to your lock-picking skill. Some games will reward you heavily for exploring outside the beaten path and doing some exploration. Thinking for yourself and going outside your comfort zone might lead you to untold treasures.

              Just as you will often find a rare and incredibly powerful item in a random closet down a seemingly insignificant side-passage in a game, you can find a career opportunity at a random party your friend drags you to or develop a beautiful romance with a girl or guy who sat next to you on a train. You’ll never know what you may find if you don’t go out there and explore.

              7. Sometimes it’s not about winning, but having a good laugh

              Satisfaction

                Having your mind constantly burdened with the notion of winning and stressing over a loss or slight failure is not really going to be healthy for you in the long run. Yeah, yeah, I know the whole “winning mentality” spiel – you need to keep your eyes on the prize and make sacrifices if you want to be the best, yadda, yadda, yadda – but you know what?

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                Sometimes it’s not about being the greatest, nor is there a clear set of objectives that you complete to win – it’s about feeling good, having fun, and being fulfilled and content at the end of the day. Games, just like life, have a competitive component to them. But being obsessive, strict, and narrowly-focused on one thing to the exclusion of everything else is not the way to go if you want to be truly happy.

                Well, these have been some of the lessons I have learned during my gaming journey. Although I may not be the best gamer in the world (I don’t claim to be more than just mildly competent at a few genres of games, and am quite bad at others), nor have I figured out all of life’s mysteries, I have certainly learned some serious lessons through gaming, which I have been able to apply to my regular life.

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                Ivan Dimitrijevic

                Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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                Published on May 18, 2021

                How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

                How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

                We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

                The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

                Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

                Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

                Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

                There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

                Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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                Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

                We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

                Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

                A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

                The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

                Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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                Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

                Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

                Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

                While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

                Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

                These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

                Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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                Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

                Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

                Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

                Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

                Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

                Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

                As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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                This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

                Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

                Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

                These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

                Actions Speak Louder Than Words

                Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

                Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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                Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

                More Tips Improving Listening Skills

                Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

                Reference

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