It is probably safe to ASSUME(yes, I assume purposefully–for dramatic effect) that we have all hurt someone much worse than we anticipated while trying to “help them” or connect to them. And we have all been hurt by someone who was trying to help us. We have all assumed that we know everything we need to know about a person, how they are feeling, what they are thinking, what kind of person they are… And we have all been on the receiving end of someone’s assumptions. Maybe they treated you differently as a result and there was a deep hurt set into motion between you–on both sides. Assumption is a dangerous thing and it can break even the most tight knit friendships or family bonds, shatter marriages, twist your mind to diminish the value of those around you and even your value of yourself. I made an assumption in the first line of this article(Intentionally). Assumptions are always going through our minds and often take place before we even communicate with our “target”. The world of today sees assumption as an innocent act, and portrays the mentality that anything is right as long as it makes you happy as a principle in modern society. Being happy has been put on a pedestal. Happiness is the modern day American idol! But, I believe that genuine happiness comes by turning and marching the opposite direction than what feels comfortable or “good” in the moment. You might as well be a drug addict if you live for the moment. Yes, there is something to be said about enjoyment and being content in your life and living life to the fullest, but the problem is when it becomes self serving. Wanting to feel “Good” and wanting to feel “Right” are two very different aspirations. Chasing after the “feel good” life leads often to physical and temporary pleasures that are great–sure–and meant to be experienced in life, but they always seem to leave you feeling empty. You feel like you are missing out on something–not reaching your potential… Because that good feeling is gone and you are now stuck in your head and all your confusing thoughts.
“But you said that the good moments are meant to be experienced in life!”
Yes. I did say that. The problem is a culmination of two things. First, the motivation behind why you want to “feel good”, and Second, the assumption and dangerous expectation that you have to feel good all the time or something is wrong with your life–or more dangerous a thought–someone IN your life is at fault for your lack of happiness. The latter is usually the common reaction due to the fact that this world has lost the humility to accept that a problem is their own and work in order to fix it. We live in an instant gratification world! And if we don’t get what we want, then we throw a fit. Sounds an awful lot like a 2-year-old doesn’t it? In this article, I hope to change your mindset from Instant gratification to Instant Gratitude when you encounter struggles with others that may cause unhappiness. Note the difference in dictionary terms below.
1. Take Stereotype out of your Vocabulary!
So, where to begin with this topic of discussion? We have to first address where assumptions actually stem from and originate. Stereotypes can be a vicious categorization based on facts we assume throughout interaction of one or more individuals correlated with a faction, belief system, race, body type, gender, or any other exploitable difference in humanity that makes us unique. The big downfall here is that we are basing everything we know about a group of people on the actions, successes, reactions, failures, let downs, hurts and even negative impressions we may have while interacting with ONE person that is associated with that group. This does NOT mean that all people within that group are the same. That is like saying, you are a male, therefore you are strong willed, beat women, you’re aggressive, a bully and eat like a madman–simply because I know someone with those character traits. Or in current news; it is like saying that just because a few cops made bad decisions and civilians were affected by it, ALL cops are corrupt and they are the enemy now. Racism and discrimination have always existed and are simply evolving to the most dominant argument that is occurring, whether it be through news, household issues, love interest struggles, parent-child issues. Anything can be turned into a discrimination feature. We just have to realize that we have the power to push people away or strengthen our bonds. I personally hate racism. It is a ridiculous and vile way to separate myself from my God given brothers and sisters in this world. And–stemming back to happiness as the topic–racism has never produced happiness, just creates walls. I could talk all day about my issues with racism, but that is for another article. Continuing on.
2. Don’t Over React!
Walls. When they are built up and block off passageways to connections between people, it tends to cause problems when someone springs a leak. Explosions of pent up emotions flood everywhere. Rash decisions are made in an analogous image of one survivor struggling to stay afloat, while drowning the other at the same time in the pursuit to end up on top. Assumptions are almost always the culprit of outbursts of emotion and more than not–someone gets deeply wounded in a way that will affect them for many years, if not for the rest of their life. When emotions get involved, relationships get tricky. At the same time though, emotions are the most intimate and vulnerable part of ourselves and sharing that with people is the essence of why we live. Sometimes that fact gets lost. Material possessions and goals set in and we forget the ones who helped us get there–who supported us along the way–who took the brute force of our frustrations when our walls sprung leaks–who patched the holes. Yet still, we over react based on our assumptions of the person, rather than who they actually are and who they have been. We can lose sight who we are spending time with in the present “MOMENT” that we live for, and going through that same moment alone isn’t as gratifying. Then we turn and ask, what is wrong here? Why is my life so difficult right now? And we see our friend there and ignoring the issues we have, we poke a finger into their chest and demand an explanation. Then, no matter what they say, it sets us off because we are already triggered and fired up. Over reacting is a serious killer of friendships and relationships. It is stirred up by the monster in the closet that is assuming when we need to look at the facts, rely on the actions of the people who we care about. Realize that people can change. People can be different than they appear. Labeling people can be detrimental to your ability to maintain friendships and even reconnect with past relationships. Peace comes when we give up of ourselves and invest in others without the hope of personal gain. It comes when we hear what people have to say. I had a conversation with a friend about what it would be like to be Professor X from the X-Men franchise. It was interesting because we discovered that it would be very hard to have conversations if you were hearing their thoughts. It would become more of a transfer of information rather than a heart to heart connection. You would know exactly what they were saying before they said it and know the history behind it and probably even get bored before they even finished. This is very much an accurate picture of assumption and what it can do to friendships. Friendships and relationships are hard! Are you courageous enough to stick with someone even if it is uncomfortable?
3. Stand Courageously!
We all have to be careful with this one. Courage does not mean over-confidence. Nor is it in any way aggressive. There is a point where you cease to merely stand up for something or representing something you value or desire, whether it be a belief, a choice, a way of life. You can easily cross over a line and a terrible transformation occurs if you are not careful. Instead it becomes public bashing of someone else’s beliefs and a dramatic misrepresentation of their way of life that tarnishes everyone’s opinion of them–even if they wish to be disconnected from the riots and the quarrels. Courage means to stand for something not to stomp someone else’s beliefs out.
Tread carefully friends… Winning an argument is one of those instant gratification things.. It will bring you temporary happiness, but it is NOT worth destroying someone over. If you want the right to be, live, and act a certain way, do not try and take the right that you seek from someone else just because a few people who call themselves a certain group disagreed with you. We can’t control others, but we can control ourselves. Be Responsible, Respectable, and Compassionate to those around you…
I am Proud to say that I am a Christian and part of my belief is spreading love and acceptance to EVERYONE I meet. Why do there have to be so many Christ haters out there, when no one really is taking the time to understand what he TRULY came here to do for us. Yes, that is my personal belief that you may not share, but my points is this.. Don’t judge someone before you Actually understand them.
I have no plans to judge anyone. No matter where their walk in life has led them. I seek to find out why people hurt and what will help them. People are valuable and deserve to be loved, no matter who they are or where they come from, what they believe, or how they choose to live. And that is whether I agree with it or not. Doesn’t matter. Love matters.
The root of courage is not being better or stronger or faster than those around you, but Loving those around you and helping them to grow into the men and women they are supposed to be.
Mark 21:31 ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
4. Authentic Love is Key!
(Notice how I didn’t say “True” love.) I find it interesting that love doesn’t really mean what it was intended to mean. Not anymore at least. I was flipping through Hulu the other day (Interesting how 10 years ago it would have been flipping through the channels) when I came across “The Bachelorette”. I wrote an article about the Bachelor a few months ago and the despicable taint that it causes on relationships, but this was a different perception of the program. Love actually doesn’t exist anymore. Not Authentic love. The selfless unconditional love that we are meant to share with those we care about. True love in today’s definition represents a fictional romance that characters in a story yearn for and fight for, but it is only a “Kiss” at the end and the illusion that there is a deep connection between them that we never see. Love as told by the Media (or the Bachelorette and other relationship based programs) is simply a hoax. It is a big ploy to play with people’s hearts and manipulate them for selfish gain. That is not love! Many of the relationships started from shows like that fall apart anyway after only a few weeks, because the lovey dovey feeling goes away and the real work of a relationship kicks in. It gets hard. It gets tough. It gets messy. The struggles become real and get in your face and you have to be strong. Getting into a relationship is the easy part. It seems like people can’t handle the responsibility and selflessness and dedication that it takes to STAY in a relationship. It seems to me that in modern relationships, if you have to fight for it, work hard, don’t have that “Good” feeling all the time, or even are needed to stick with someone through a bad day, then the connection is void and it is not worth it. There are so many flaws in that. Love is supposed to be selfless and all encompassing. Love someone where they are at, not for what you want them to be. With that view on a person, no one will be happy. According to society, love’s only purpose is supposed to make YOU happy and if it doesn’t then it is okay to just walk away from–regardless of whether you are married or not. I’m sorry to say it, but that is cowardice and foolish and downright cruel. What happened to commitment. Discipline! Respect! Honor! Love is a myth in our society sadly enough. There is a light at the end of the tunnel though. It’s not all dark and bleak. There are beautiful examples of relationships that we can gather insight from. If you look hard enough, you can find them. They are often humble and stay out of the spotlight. Their love is their own and not for any personal gain.
5. Never Give Up!
This last one is a motivation for you. A Hail Mary of sorts, to those of you who are in a tough spot with someone that you care about and don’t know what to do. You have addressed the situations we’ve discussed and you are willing to take a step forward with mending a friendship or a relationship. What do you do now? Where do you go from here?
Relax. Don’t stress over the details, in fact, don’t even worry about them. Worry and stress create problems that don’t even exist. Then they get over reacted and rash decisions are made. Call your friend, spouse, romantic interest up, set up a time to get together and just listen to what they have to say. Hear their story.
No friendship is truly lost or broken beyond repair. When we were kids, relationships were so much easier. Live life as a child. Nothing is impossible. Same goes with relationships. Just refuse to give up on them and things will work out. Going through hardships together only strengthens a bond. Blaming them and walking away is never the answer. You will be more unhappy and alone when you walk down that path. Your friends are worth more than your assumptions of what your relationship COULD BE. Appreciate them for who they are and what your relationship IS! Trust me. It will change everything.
Alright, that about wraps it up for today. Hopefully you found some gems of help in this article. It was fun to write and a bit longer than anticipated, but until next time!
So the other day I watched the film, Tomorrowland, Directed by Brad Bird. It starred George Clooney, Brit Robertson and Hugh Laurie–an interesting combo to say the least. The best actor in the film though was surprisingly Raffey Cassidy, who played an ageless robot girl. Interesting indeed. But I digress, this is not going to be a review of the film, though some aspects of this article may hint at my opinions of the film or contain SPOILERS. That being said, Tomorrowland is like a twisted mirror for today’s society and culture and in many ways a warning sign to show us where we are headed if we continue down the dark path on which we walk. “How is that?” You may ask. “It is just a science fiction film for kids,”. Yes, it is a children’s movie and equally disappointing to an adult mind with the ability to comprehend complex storytelling and pinpoint all of the gaping holes, flaws and unsupported details in the script. Critically speaking before we delve into the knit and grit, I hate–excuse me.. I “strongly dislike” when a film creates a set of laws and rules for the story to follow–even if it is fictional, then proceeds to veer off course and break them one by one throughout the movie in ghastly and nonsensical methods. My though is, if you are going to create a new way of thinking, distinct character attributes, a strict society or a ravaged dystopia, or even a new physics system, at least make sure that it stays consistent. Tomorrowland broke all of its rules all the time, but there were still 5 interesting applicable connections between Tomorrowland and Today’s world as a whole that we can take away from the film.
#1: Upgrading into Oblivion!
The phrase “Your Eyes are Bigger than your Stomach” pertains to food, but the reality is that our world has the curse of that same mentality towards improvements whether it be Technologically, Diets, Workouts, Creativity, Science, Literature. We always bring it to the extreme or over extend our visions for things, which can be good, but also have its downfalls. I was watching Jurassic Park (1993) the other day in preparation for Jurassic World coming out this weekend and Dr. Ian Malcolm states “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should,”–talking about bringing back dinosaurs to the new generation. Just because we can create something, doesn’t necessarily make it right. Every field of life can be upgraded and people all over the world are fighting and pushing to get ahead in life. Why? We all strive to achieve that impossible goal of having the perfect life–the perfect world. It is never going to happen! “Oh, well look who is being the pessimist here!” you are probably thinking right now. But really, I believe that the secret to happiness, the so called perfect life, and making the world a better place, is to slow down and enjoy what we have around us instead of poking holes in people’s “balloons” and watching them struggle. Just because we are stronger or faster than someone, doesn’t mean we should always win the race. There is something called positive reinforcement. Take the fall so someone else can rise. Society is incredibly good at motivation people to move forward with negative feedback whether it be from the Media, harsh critics, customers that will never be satisfied even if they love a new machine or system that is put in place in society. If we keep trying to create the newest, best, greatest, most spectacular thing all the time without taking the time appreciating what we have done, are doing, and what is around us, then we are kind of missing the point! We will never be satisfied. Not with this “Me, me, me” attitude that is going around. And we won’t be satisfied by earthly things or posessions. If we are to be upgrading anything, I think we should be focusing on what really matters–People! Upgrade methods to help people not just go after that stupid mentality that “I don’t care” mentality “As long as I am happy”. Caring is the point. There ARE organizations out there trying to make a difference in people’s well being, yes. I am not trying to side step all of their progress and hard work. But, just think–What if the news spent more time talking about those great things that are happening in the world instead of just spouting out propaganda of hate, disputes, crime, and anything negative they can get their hands on.
#2: Focus: Media and the Monitor!
In the physical place–Tomorrowland, there is this giant program that is broadcasting images of the end of the world to everyone on earth. It is called the monitor and it is supposed to be a warning that demise is coming, but it turns out to be more of a brain washing tool that cycles itself back around and leads the world towards that future. In the film, it is connected through the Media. This is interesting because that is already happening. Instead of boasting of the wonderful things that are happening in the world, we get something totally different from the Media. I sat down last night with my family to watch the news and was horrified by what I saw. I am so glad that I don’t have cable because the negative influence and darkness of the Media was so thick I could almost touch it and I felt heavy-hearted as a result. The news anchors talked about police brutality, rape, murders, prejudice against other people who didn’t care to understand each other, Road rage, War, Death, and Silly videos–just so they have an excuse that they are at least “trying” to lighten the mood at the end of the program. Now, terrible things like this have been happening for generations and will continue to happen. That is just a part of having free will. The problem is that we are focusing on it more now with the media. When I was young, my parents would tell me that if “I believed” I could be anything I wanted to be. Years later, a good friend of mine said “Just focus on what you want to be and you will get there in time”. Focusing on something is giving it power. Think carefully though as to what you are giving power to. For a simple example, If I say “I will not become a drunk”, and I know it is a vice for me, but I still hang around people who peer pressure me into drinking, or I am more in danger of it becoming a reality than if I say “I will focus on running and improving my health every day”. Not putting yourself in situations like that is one way to prevent it, but with the Media, it is everywhere. The main theme of the film, Tomorrowland, peruses through the metaphorical story of two wolves. One is good and one is evil. They get into a fight and the question asked in the film is this “Which one wins?”. Moral of the story is the answer…. The wolf that you feed wins! So we have to ask ourselves.
Which wolf are we feeding in the world of today?
#3:出る釘は打たれる (deru kugi wa utareru)!
This Japanese saying is a classic metaphor of life in their eccentric and distinguished culture. (ENG Translation: A Nail That Sticks Out Will Be Hammered) But it applies to other cultures as well. Apparently standing up for or representing anything is offensive or even penalized and looked down upon these days. People who stand firm and take action to actually make this world a better place or work things out, at least in my experience, are prodded, beaten, criticized or discouraged into giving up their dreams and visions. And if that doesn’t stop them, then they have to go to battle, as their rights are at risk of being taken away if they stand out. People are free to believe in, choose, love, live however or whatever they want. That is why free will exists, but there is a disturbing truth hidden in the world that no one wants to address. Everyone wants to be different and special, yes, but no one wants to break from the minority in order to attain it. And what is worse is that no one wants to support someone who stands for something that they might disagree with. No one wants to truly think for themselves. Everyone wants to be respected, but no one wants to give respect. Something happens and it is easier to just jump in with the raging crowd of haters just because we can instead of logically thinking through the situation and asking ourselves “What do I believe to be RIGHT in this situation?”. That, piggybacking on the fact that the entire world wants to avoid confrontation (This does not mean avoid fighting. People love to fight–confrontation refers to debating and discussing or having to back up their opinions in a respectful manner). Apparently confrontation and discomfort are the big taboos of this world. The phrase “Agree to disagree,” is like a forgotten language now. Respect is a ancient code that few even search for. I have many friends that believe or value drastically different ideals or concepts than me, but that doesn’t deter me from building my relationships with them, nor does it diminish their value as a human being. Doesn’t stop me from listening to their side of the story either. We are so quick to jump onto someone’s back if they disagree instead of allowing them to even finish their sentence. If you want respect, you have to give it. If you want to understand someone, you have to listen to their story and be unbiased. Be the example, don’t sit around complaining and do nothing about the issues you face, waiting for someone else to do it for you. It is a very easy way to find yourself without friends.
#4: Too Connected, Yet Totally Alone…
It is interesting that Media pushes the communication and connection button to get people interested and make sales. Commercials of a family in the Provinces of a 3rd world country or somewhere blessed with limited technology are talking on Skype on their iPad to extended relatives in the USA. Oh, it is so amazing! The power of technology! Yes, there are benefits to technology and the vast connection that it brings, but.. There is a point where it starts to become a problem. Anything really can become a problem if we perceive it that way. Manipulation. It happens. I believe that Social Media is in truth a cry for help. A deep yearning for connection that can only go so far via text, IM, or Facebook. Our society is screaming for some level of intimacy with other human beings. Especially the younger generation. No, this doesn’t mean sex or anything along those lines. It is referring to heartfelt, deeply rooted conversations that are ALIVE and both parties are fully engaged in what is happening and being talked about by the other person. To know that someone actually cares about your life is a powerful thing. Very inspirational as well. And showing someone that you genuinely care about their life is equally rewarding. You feel like you are a part of their successes. You don’t need to be the one on top in order to feel effective. Someone inspired every great speaker or movement leader to stand up and do something about their world. Instead of encouragement and positive thinking, our day is filled with browsing hateful banter between so called “friends” on facebook or other social media sites. Since when did having access to someone’s stat sheet, or public information online or clicking a button that says “Like” on someone’s photos or posts from time to time become a “Friendship”. The term Friend is vastly more complex and more valuable, but it seems to have been degraded in the rise of the internet. Few people truly know what that word means, and in this generation, I am not off the mark to say that I guarantee there are a some who have NEVER experienced a true friendship at all. You can see a sad world, or you can make a great world!
WE CAN CHANGE IT!
YOU can change it!
#5: There is Always Hope!
Ultimately, Tomorrowland has a theme that we can change the world if we try and it has that part right. Nothing is ever too far gone. Psychologists, I am sure, never say “Well, this person is too far gone so I can’t help them,”. Or speaking as a Christian, Christ never said “Well, this beautiful creation that I have created isn’t worth dying for!”. We all have a purpose and a plan, and we all have a part in the future. Though Tomorrowland turned out to be just as flawed as earth was in the film, the idea that we can create a better world in the small aspects of life that we can control is a good start to turning the world around. Feeding the good wolf so to speak. Personally, I try to do something to bless someone in my life that I know or don’t know every month and I have found that it is contagious and very addictive. It feels great to give to others and to be a part of someone else’s life and impact them with positivity…To help them get better rather than break them down in attempts to make me feel better about myself. So, I challenge you. Do something Unexpectedly Generous for someone! Just try it. Just once. See what happens. No, it doesn’t have to be giving money. That is actually the easiest and least connecting option anyways. Give of yourself, your time, your valued resources, your heart, your mind, your compassion. Be willing to be uncomfortable for a while to make someone else’s day. “Be” a part of the world around you, not just a consumer of what this world has to offer. Allow yourself to unplug from the negativity that Media can present and EMBRACE what is happening around you. So many people are “Afraid” to make a difference because change is never comfortable. We insist that we stay idle in our lives and then wonder why nothing ever happens or is different.
Do not be afraid to Be the Difference!!!
For those of you thinking that I am saying to get rid of technology, that is not what I am saying. I am saying– find your balance. Be connected, don’t just wait to connect (Dial-up joke). I watched a Tedx talk from a guy who spent a Year without the internet. There was a very interesting statement that he said in the seminar… “When I was not distracted by all the connections I had at my fingertips on the internet, I was able to see the potential for deeper and more meaningful connections with the people around me, I was able to be fully immersed in what the other person sitting across the table from me was saying almost to a scary level,”. Interesting isn’t it? Be connected, be alive! Don’t be the one watching family home videos because you don’t remember what happened. Be the one IN the videos enjoying your life and making those memories with the people you care about.
I am not telling you to give up technology for a year, but find a balance and find ways to make an impact on the people you care about. What can you do today to make a difference in our Tomorrowland.
Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed it!
So, I have been a Gamer for a good many years now, and my specialty has always been single player and (MMO) RPGs. These deeply satisfying story based games (At least the good ones) present complex puzzles, development of strategy, character and relationship based challenges to figure out and work through, enemies and rivals to outsmart, monsters to defeat, resources to collect, complex patterns to remember–or you lose your life, and of course epic quests to venture out on with friends and family! How does that not sound beneficial to your mind and your personal happiness? Most people think that a gamer is just a lazy overweight person sitting on their couch surrounded in potato chips and diet cola. Maybe this representation is harsh, but maybe it is more common than I want to admit as well. That is up for your interpretation. Either way, a true gamer does not obsess over a lazy lifestyle, but actively pursues knowledge and the enhancement of their mind through creative adventures. They gather inspiration, insight on intellectual topics, life skills, technique and dexterity, and a new outlook on life. If you are a true gamer or want to become one, here are some ways that RPGs will make you smarter and more effective in your life—if you choose to let them.
1. Challenges / Puzzles
Sometimes, I am sure you play little puzzle games on your phone when you are bored. From time to time you use those little challenges to occupy your brain when you are sitting in line for something more interesting, or just to stimulate your mind and keep it sharp. Imagine for a moment that completing the task opened a new chamber in a dungeon where gold and riches lay in wait. Imagine further that it’s a maze of a cave or dungeon with a vicious monster or boss lurking in the deep. Failing at the challenge would result in a fight and relying on your physical strength to battle your way through and succeeding in the puzzle would lead to a new challenge, more difficult and brain stimulating than the last–as well as a mountain of reward! Seeing as events like that are foolish and impossible in daily life, RPGs give us the opportunity to experience exceptional challenges and lifestyles that may be hazardous, without actually risking our health/life or more importantly, the lives of others. Hundreds of puzzles, thought provoking struggles and issues to figure out and they are all at your fingertips with the click of a button. You want to challenge your mind? RPGs are a great way to do that.
2. Communication: Truly Listening and Reflecting
More often than not, you have to follow some NPC (Non-Playable Character) through a series of events and listen to their every word as they hold clues and knowledge that is pertinent to the challenges, quests, or puzzles that lay ahead of you. This leads to a great listening ear and ability to retain information that you hear or read on the screen and apply it in an effective way. The parallels to life are immense, as I am sure you can already see the benefits and applications of this skill. No more getting yelled at for not being able to repeat back what someone said when you were daydreaming. Learning! You absorb information and use it to get through challenges in life. paying bills, going to school and doing assignments, getting a job, completing tasks for that job–these are all challenges and puzzles in our lives. You hear information once and you can break it down and thoroughly process and analyse it at a record speed compared to your peers who don’t play RPGs. People give you assistance and important knowledge that they have learned from experience on their life quest and RPGs teach and strengthen this ability that a lot of people ignore or forget. Which can be detrimental when they get in a fix and don’t know what to do.
3. Perception of the World
Life quests require a heightened level of perception, but the only way to get better at noticing important things that are hidden within layers upon layers of seemingly unimportant information in every day life is to practice it. In RPGs, you must pay close attention to every detail of every new environment or situation that you encounter, because if you let your mind relax for a moment, you may miss some critical clue and be forced to start all over again. We watch for that little Easter egg hidden somewhere in the game, watch for that hint or next clue to unlock the door we have to open, watch for the trigger for a series of events that can only be found and activated if you look hard enough for it or pay close enough attention. This is a great known, but underused secret in our normal lives. We often times see or experience things, but we do not truly “pay attention” to what is happening around us or in our lives and then get frustrated when we miss out on important details. RPGs help your perception to become so intuitive and sharp that you can almost begin to anticipate and read situations and outcomes before they happen. This can help immensely in your own life with basic task management and getting things done or catching on to issues before they become a real problem.
4. Memory / Micro-Management
This is where Micro-Management and Memory are key! Calculating numerical values almost non-stop, tracking data for your armor and weapons, and monitoring your statistics along with sometimes managing the stats of your party through highly developed combat systems that grow more and more complex with every new game design breakthrough! Building combinations of items that create unique and personalized alterations of your characters statistics that you have to adjust based on what challenge you are facing. Ex: Dragons in this area are known to breathe ice as opposed to fire, but listening to the lore from an old drunk in the previous village and applying that information cues you to swap out your fire resistant armor for an enchanted chain mail that is highly resistant to ice attacks. Also, you are over encumbered and have to leave certain items in town in a container so you can be effective on your trip through the dungeons. Planning and macro/micro-managing yourself and your quest is a valuable asset of knowledge that can be imperative to real life. What will you need for this project you need to accomplish for work. What is your budget? How will you transport the needed materials to the site of the project? What are the requirements of the site of the project? Etc, etc…
5. Reasoning & Strategy
You learn effective thinking and strategy from these previously mentioned concepts that are necessities of RPG game play. All of those little questions you faced in school suddenly become regular occurrences as you play. “If a train is going North at 100 kilometers per hour towards a city 5 kilometers away, and a dragon is chasing the train breathing fire on the engine cavity, but the engine can only withstand 1,500 degrees before meltdown and the exterior metal takes 30 seconds to heat up by 300 degrees, then how long do you have to defeat the dragon before it blows up the train or is brought to the city to amass destruction?” You learn to solve problems really quick and think faster than you normally would in any given situation. RPGs offer a platform of mental exercises that help you to process data like a computer would, but apply your human conscience and your emotions to any situation that you face. After an hour or two of game play, looking at the world around you is like the Matrix. You will see patterns, be a master strategist, multitask with ease, and overall be more mentally healthy and in shape than your peers. A classic question in gaming is “What do I do now?”. You have completed a task and need to discover the next step or stage in the game. Many of us are in that mentality in our real lives, but we refuse to use the intuition and reasoning that we use to find the next challenge in a video game and therefore just float through life. Though there is no cheat code book for life, there is always a way to progress and advance forward.
6. Well written Stories / What is Your Story?
Moving forward in games usually provokes some captivating bit of the story line that offers a respite for our minds from the rigorous puzzle we just finished and the emotional side of gaming. Becoming a computerized mind is not the overall goal of gaming. We are after all human and have emotions for a reason. The beautifully crafted stories interwoven through the puzzles and conquests are a huge motivator for gaming in the first place. You can only do so many calculated puzzles and mind stretching challenges before you start to get worn out or bored, but a good captivating story line will keep you engaged for an eternity. Your life is your story. How are you telling it? How are you using your life to affect people, or how are people affecting you? How are situations affecting you? And how are you responding to those situations? How we respond to the events in our lives or actions of others is what makes us who we are. It is what makes us the heroes or villains of our stories. You can choose what you do in any given moment. RPGs are never going to be as unrestricted as real life, but they are a good platform for exploring your own mind in a free world where anything is possible within the rules and design of the game. Who will you be? What will you do?
7. MMORPGs / Teamwork / Relationships
Often times, the RPG challenges are not done alone. Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games have sky rocketed in the recent years, especially in survival game genres. Where you rely on others to accomplish task, get through levels, defeat foes, or wind through complex layers of quests to get a cut of the loot at the end. Teamwork is thankfully more and more becoming a backbone for gaming. You have to rely on someone other than yourself to watch your back in competitive games. You have to rely on people in different job positions to achieve the ultimate goal. A healer keeps the tank from dying as he/she brutally micro-manages the enemy’s attention and takes the hits with his/her high defense. Then, the damage dealer darts around the enemy and deals the heavy hits to bring the health of the enemy to zero. Knowing your role, (Ex: Scout/Long Range, Entry, Support/Utilities, Medic, In Game Leader, Lurk/Flank) is crucial to any Multiplayer RPG or strategy game in general. Working together for a common goal and playing your part in the quest of your job or group project at school, or even family life and relationship life, social life. All of these take a teamwork mindset and people focus and MMORPGs facilitate in building relationship and developing lasting friendships and connections with memories and history that transcends worlds and dimensions. Also, the value of teamwork is amplified. You respect and back up your teammates and fellowmen. You watch their back and they watch yours. There is a heightened sense of loyalty to alliances and groups and clans in MMORPGs that sometimes is harder to break than those in the real world. But I think that applying that same sense of belonging and intense devotion to “Family” is important and can bring them even closer and more united. Us against the world!
8. Leadership Training
This reveals a very important detail and skill that is developed in RPGs over time. Military soldiers are trained using video games to learn combat and how to communicate and trust one another in the battlefield. How do you learn to make those hard decisions when you have only a moment to change everything you know? Where do you get the skills to be calm when the enemy is in your face, when those who have lost need you to be strong, when you have to make a decision that could cost a life. How do you determine what is the right thing to do in an instant from a thousand reactions or decisions? Where do you learn to lead a group to victory and gain experience where it truly matters? Leadership is a culmination of all of the previous points and growing other people in the same way. Not being their “superior” but being their ladder to reach and achieve more out of themselves. Using everyone’s strengths to the advantage of your team in order to succeed when all odds may be against you. Supporting every member of your team and holding them to the highest standards in a motivating and inspiring way as opposed to the easy way out of negativity and demoralizing comments. That is no leader. A leader shows the way through the path, a coward makes sure they are the only one on the path. RPGs are also a way to learn how to believe in yourself. If you slay a dragon or lead a group safely through the treacherous mountains full of zombies, vampires, trolls, and thugs, you gain a contagious confidence that spreads among your team. That is the very essence of leadership.
9. Culture / Understanding
Often times, MMORPGs and standard RPGs take inspiration from different cultures and lifestyles of the world in order to both appeal to a wider audience as well as bring creative material to the players. While playing an RPG, you may not realize it, but you are being exposed to a vast array of cultures, beliefs, ideas, and fruit of many ways of thinking that went into creating the project. Think, a character does an action that you might not understand or that is uncharacteristic of their personality. Often times there is a cut scene or explanation that you have to figure out that gives an understanding perspective on their actions or opinions. You can’t fully understand someone until you walk a mile in their shoes. Opening your mind to understanding the reasoning behind what people do and why in your own life, (Watching the IRL cut scenes so to speak) can bolster your ability to consume knowledge and connection with the world around you and even give you insight on how to advance it as well! So, the next time someone disagrees with you or acts in a way that you don’t understand, use your RPG hat and reason through what could have happened in the past to make them act that way. See situations from other characters’ (other people’s) perspectives in reality. Don’t be selfish and only think about how you are effected by something. Think, “how does this situation affect the people around you?” Put it this way… They are a questing friend in need of your help. They are not just some NPC (Non-Playable Character) you can steal from or walk all over–and even that has repercussions. We are in this together, we are not alone.
10. Having Fun!
Enjoy it! Learning is fun. Bettering yourself mentally is gratifying and helping others to achieve it is even more rewarding. But the reward is never the answer to any question. The journey and those that you journey with is what is important. If you aren’t enjoying the game you are playing, then why are you playing it? Gaming is supposed to be a stress reliever and a fun and relaxed environment in which you can train your mind and sharpen your skills in order to retake your life one step at a time and prepare for the challenges that you will face when you unplug from the screen. Play smart, not hard. Do not try to be the best, do not worry about the haters that are always on the internet. They were haters in real life first. And I am sure that they have hollow lives and don’t truly understand the point of gaming. Be the inspiration that you want to see in the gaming world and it will catch on. Remember that gaming is not the meaning of life. It is just a way to unlock the tools you need to find YOUR meaning in life. One of the many. Go, learn and challenge your mind, then unplug from the game and find your true adventure!
I hope that you have gathered a few gems of knowledge from this article to apply to your life. I have enjoyed writing it.