When I was 17 years old, I was one of the highest-ranked World of Warcraft players in North America.
To say gaming was part of my adolescence would be an understatement. I got my first N64 when I was ten. My first Gameboy when I was twelve. I was obsessed with adventure games, puzzles, even collectable card games like Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokémon that required cutting-edge strategies to defeat opponents (snotty nosed teenagers at the local Books-A-Million on Saturday afternoons).
But playing World of Warcraft, my first MMORPG, taught me more about life than all of my other hobbies combined.
It also fundamentally changed the way I treated my personal development from high school onward.
These are the 4 big lessons that have stuck with me the most.
1. Everyone starts at Level 1.
Everyone is a beginner when they start something new. That’s not what matters. What matters is how quickly you’re able to accept that you are a beginner and start climbing your way up the ranks.
2. Experience is what allows you to “level up.”
Want to get better at something? It’s not difficult. All you need to do is acquire more experience. And if you’re unhappy with how slow it’s taking you to “level up,” you have an experience problem. You aren’t getting the inputs you need for the output you desire.
3. Everyone plays the game for different reasons.
Some people play the game of life to collect “gold.” Others play to explore. Others collect rare items. Others master a skill. All “life purposes” are valid.
4. You don’t remember the rewards nearly as much as you do the friendships you make along the way.
The real joy in “playing the game” is overcoming obstacles with other people. And while the rewards seem like the purpose of the game, in the end you realize they’re not.
This is an Atomic Essay from the Ship 30 for 30 daily writing challenge.