Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Interlude: Challenge Accepted!

Booyah!  We're pretty much done with Chun Li, staring down the barrel of our next character examination, but I'd like to take a day to talk about more general making-yourself-a-more-awesome-person stuff.

Video games present us with challenges every day.  Climb this wall, beat this guy in a fight, solve this puzzle, find this key, survive this haunted house...lots and lots of different, individual obstacles making up one big challenge course, of sorts.  Maybe you need to get to a sniper nest on top of that building, take it out, and control that region.  Or maybe you need to balance an artifact on top of a spire in some lost temple, then focus the sunlight on it to open a door.  One final goal(regional control, getting to a new area), made up of lots of smaller challenges(get on top of a building, take out the snipers, regain control of the area, finding an artifact, balancing it on a spire, getting the sunlight there, opening the door).

This is actually a lot like life.  Unfortunately, life is harder to break down than a video game.  In a game, your challenges exist in a vacuum, and you're typically dealing with one big goal at a time.  Of course, we've talked about the concept of simplifying before, in our Donkey Kong examination, but sometimes there's only so much simplifying you can do in your life.

Life is difficult because it seems like a whole lot of BIG problems staring you in the face, usually interdependent, and usually time-sensitive.  You need to get that better job to pay for the house but in order to do that you've got to get the used car and in order to afford the used car you need to get a better job and in order to get that better job you need a decent wardrobe and HOLY CRAP your crappy job is taking up too much of your time to worry about any of that stuff!

So don't.

Set small, small challenges for yourself.  And don't be upset if you fail them.  PLEASE don't be upset if you fail them.  This is something I struggle with IMMENSELY as I set challenges for myself all the time, and beat myself up if I don't succeed in them.  I know from firsthand experience that this keeps you from learning from your failure, which is the most important part, and it also hurts your confidence when it comes to accepting new challenges, which is extremely counter productive.

So what's a small challenge?  Let's take our previous example.  You want to improve your overall quality of life.  This actually starts, more often than not, with your own self image.  If you want other people to think more of you, you need to think more of yourself.  So in that situation, I'd say your first goal?  Get some decent personal hygiene products, and buy yourself a new shirt.  That's it.  Not a whole wardrobe.  Just get yourself some good toothpaste, body wash, and shampoo, use them daily, and buy yourself a new shirt.  Don't even go crazy on the stuff, just get a decent whitening toothpaste(no need for crazy bleaching products), a nice moisturizing body wash, maybe a good anti-dandruff or moisturizing shampoo, and a shirt.  The shirt you might even be able to find at salvation army or something if you're on a budget, there's nothing wrong with it.

Give yourself a week or two to obtain these things, and then a month to get in the habit of using/wearing them.  Congratulations!  You set a challenge for yourself, and obtained it!  Maybe your next challenge is getting another shirt or two, or maybe a nice pair of slacks.  Keep on like this until you've got your new wardrobe.  If you stumble at some points, DON'T GIVE UP ON YOURSELF!  Challenges are there to give you a chance to grow and improve yourself, which is at the very core of what we're trying to do here.  Sometimes you fail challenges.  This, too, is an opportunity to grow!  Learn from your mistakes, and then let them go.

I can't promise you it will always be easy, but you need to try to break your life down into manageable chunks, and then attack them one at a time.  Trying to conquer the whole problem at once is just setting yourself up for failure, and it goes completely against our gamer instincts.  Trust your instincts, and realize that you've already slain dragons, stood against evil, saved the world, and won the day.  You have the skills you need already, they're there, inside of you.  Just bring them out, and don't be afraid to use them. 

This month my big challenge is participating in NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writer's Month.  The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in the space of a month, from november 1st to november 30th.  Honestly, I'm nervous about my chances.  I've started a lot of stories and novels but honestly?  I've never finished one.  And now I'm putting this out here in a public place, as well as entering into it with a friend of mine who's already done it once.  It's nerve wracking and overwhelming in some ways, but I'm going to give it everything I've got =)  I'll let you guys know, if I succeed, and I might even post it online for people to see.

So that's it for today!  Tomorrow we enter into our next character profile!  It will be a character from League of Legends!  Who will it be?  I don't know!  I'm letting the League of Legends forums vote on which character we do!  At the moment our front runners are Pantheon, the Artisan of War, Udyr, the Animal Spirit, and Master Yi, the Wuju Bladesman!  Tune in tomorrow to find out which of these champions we're going to take a look at!

Until then, continue to be awesome.

Dan "DaRatmastah" Wallace

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