How To See Your Life As A Game—And Yourself As The Main Character

Nicolas Cole
9 min readApr 17, 2020

Every time I speak on a podcast, sit on a panel, or present at a conference, I tell a quick story about my teenage years as one of the highest-ranked World of Warcraft players in North America.

The reason I tell this story is because, first of all, it’s not what the audience is expecting.

I don’t “look” like the stereotypical hardcore gamer (at least, not anymore). People always laugh, and find it funny that I would be willing to publicly admit my teenage obsession.

But second, and the real reason I like sharing this story is because it provides context to all of the lessons I share immediately after it.

Gaming taught me to see life as a game — and myself as the main character.

Over the course of my 28 modest years on earth, I’ve learned time and time again that “success” and “achievement” is the product of a small handful of actions:

  • How you spend your time (the # of hours you accumulate toward a given skill)
  • Who you spend your time with (the quality of your hours)
  • Where you spend your time (the # of skills you try to master all at once, or master at all)
  • Why you spend your time the way you do (what motivates you)

The vast majority of people go their entire lives without becoming aware of these 4 variables. They never once question how they spend their time — instead, they float mindlessly from activity to activity. They don’t deliberately choose their friends, or their “community of people.” They don’t examine their actions and question the efficiency of their habits. And most of all, they don’t take the time (or make the effort) to understand why they make the choices they do.

As a result, they do not ride the waves of life.

Instead, they flail as the waves toss them around.

I wish more people knew these 5 things about the game of life — and how it’s played.

1. Action is your engine. Reflection is your fuel gauge.

Nicolas Cole

100M+ Views | 5x Author | Co-founder of Ship 30 for 30 | Want to start writing online? Get the Ultimate Guide: