I love video games, especially those first-person ones where your character starts at a low level and then gains attributes and skills as they gain experience. They are particularly fun and yet challenging in the early stages where it is difficult to progress, but you level up frequently because of the experience gains. There is always the drive to be better and the challenge to keep optimizing and improving your character through the addition of traits, gear and relationships. Sure, it gets difficult and is a grind sometimes but it always sucks me in.
Today, I was reminded that real life is very similar to these immersive environments, yet I find myself less drawn and it made me start to question why. Is is because I can’t restart with another character? Is it because I am in the “grinding” part of gaining experience? Is it because of the time lapses?
I think there is an element of all of these issues that play a role. Gaining experience to become better just seems to take longer now and always costs something, whether time, effort, money or what have you. Additionally, it seems like progressing to a new “level” requires a lot of repetitive activities making the effort monotonous and boring. I particularly noticed that as I have been working on weight and health issues (2 issues my computer game characters do not have to deal with). Exercise and eating right is monotonous and not as much fun as watching a movie and eating cookies or ice cream, but it is better for me and improves my quality of life. So, I persist, sometimes reluctantly, I rebel, occasionally, and I pursue the next “level”.
This is just one example, but I have found putting things into this type of gaming context helps me to remain consistent and to endure the times I don’t feel like going on. Whether it be new concepts to learn, things to see or experience, or even just new health goals, the pursuit to “level up” has become a new way for me to stay motivated. So, I challenge each of you to find something you want to be better at or something that you have had as a goal and start to pursue it as a way to gain more experience and a way to improve yourself. You may start at level 1, but you will be surprised at how quickly you start to level up.