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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 July 8, 2020

                How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

                How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

                Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

                For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

                But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

                It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

                The Importance of Saying No

                When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

                In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

                Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

                Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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                Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

                “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

                When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

                How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

                It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

                From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

                We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

                And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

                The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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                How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

                Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

                The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

                1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

                Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

                2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

                Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

                3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

                When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

                6 Ways to Start Saying No

                Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

                1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

                One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

                Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

                2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

                Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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                Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

                3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

                Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

                Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

                4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

                Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

                Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

                5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

                When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

                Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

                A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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                6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

                If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

                Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

                Final Thoughts

                Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

                Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

                Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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                Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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