I’m pretty positive that I’ve never read the directions to a video game before I played it. The closest that I would have come would be Halo, where you have to go through the tutorial first, which was fine. As a kid growing up in the 80s, you would start to play and figure it out. From time to time, a friend would give a piece of information that would help you to beat a level. However it was basically all trial and error before you had infinite lives and cheat codes. Despite the fact that I’m going into my 45th* year on this planet, I’m going to hold to my childhood ethos of not reading the directions with one exception. Write your directions and read those!
As per usual, I’m not talking video games anymore. We should all get into the trial and error ethos for parts of our lives. However eventually, you pick up a nugget of truth that you should act on regularly but you don’t. The reason that you don’t is because you get distracted by one thing or another. In today’s world, distraction is almost a way of life. So writing down your own directions is not just a good idea, it’s probably 100% necessary.
Here are some questions that you may want to answer about your character as he or she heads out on the adventure.
- What is valuable to you? To Mario, it’s coins, mushrooms, flowers, etc. A green mushroom is worth 100 coins and if you don’t know that, then you’re not paying attention.
- What is your power? Pac Man could eat dot and ghost like no ones business. Little Mac was a little boxer with big dreams.
- How do you get more life or power? Link had to collect hearts to stay alive and got containers to hold more.
- What drains your life or power? If you are stuck in the video game mindset, now is the time to switch over. The things that drain you are important to identify. They could be hiding inside of a daily habit.
Those questions do not represent everything that you should consider but it is a start. Life may not always feel like a game but many parts of it work that way. At bare minimum, it may be helpful to identify how you can win on a daily basis. If you’ve been sold on a system that has you losing more often then you win, it is time to reprogram!
*I officially declared myself a Martian a few years back. So according Martian years, I am 23 years old, turning 24 in 63 days.