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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?

                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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                Last Updated on May 21, 2019

                How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

                How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

                For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

                If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

                Example 1

                You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

                You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

                In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

                Example 2

                You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

                People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

                You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

                Example 3

                You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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                The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

                Example 4

                You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

                Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

                If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

                Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

                • Understand your own communication style
                • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
                • Communicate with precision and care
                • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

                1. Understand Your Communication Style

                To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

                In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

                Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

                2. Learn Others Communication Styles

                Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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                If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

                “How do you prefer to receive information?”

                This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

                To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

                3. Exercise Precision and Care

                A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

                On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

                Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

                I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

                I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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                In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

                The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

                Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

                4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

                Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

                In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

                “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

                Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

                Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

                It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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                It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

                It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

                Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

                Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

                The Bottom Line

                When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

                I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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                Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

                Reference

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