How to Min/Max Real Life
Min-Maxing in video games is pretty common and simple. You find out what you want your strength to be and then maximize that as much as possible, and you don’t work on your weakness. You focus all your effort on what will get you the best outcome, the best DPS, healing, or damage mitigation. You can do that IRL as well.
Just because we CAN do it in our own lives, doesn’t mean it is easy. Real-life is often full of distractions and unforeseen complications. Sometimes we say yes to too many things. Yes to that dinner party. Yes to helping that friend of a friend of a friend move next Saturday. Sure, I’ll take on that extra work that gives me no benefit; you say to your boss. Knowing what to chase after, and what to avoid is incredibly important in life (and in the final boss fight of the dungeon).
How to min-max in real life:
Step 1: Define your goals, define what your endgame content will look like. Are you trying to spec into being a damage dealer, healer, or tank?
Do you want to have the most money, the most happiness, or the simplest life?
Define your goals.
What does your ideal character sheet look like for your endgame (let’s say 60+ years old)? This is going to be the most vital part of the process. You will need to have a very good True North, something to works towards. Take some time to think about it. Do you want a family? How much money do you want to have? Where do you want to live? Who do you want to be? How do you want to look? What strengths do you have? Did you decide magic seemed fun, so you went mage and created a new tech or a business? Did you go sword and board and decide to become a cop or firefighter to defend or save the innocent? Did you join a nonprofit so you could heal the world, one project at a time? Or did you decide to duel wield or grab a giant sword and go to the front lines and grind it out until retirement? All ways work, you have to find which ways work best for you.
I will call this Step 1.5: ask yourself “why”? Why do I want a lot of money when I retire? Why do I want a family with six kids? If the answer to your why question isn’t something that makes sense to you, or you don’t feel strongly about; maybe you have to change your goal. Or maybe you have to think a bit longer on the why. Take your time. If you rush this step, you might put in thirty years of hard work to become a mid-range warrior. When, in reality, you could have been a much better rouge, with a lot less work.
Define what your endgame will look like and ask yourself why you want it to look that way.
Step 2: Define how to get to your endgame.
So, you’ve decided on what your ideal life would look like in thirty years. How do you get from where you are now, to that point in the future? Did you grind it out, quest after quest. Taking on as many jobs and projects as you could, so you could make as much money as possible. Maybe you decided to take the dungeon route. You spent your time traveling to difficult places and healing those around you. You decided you wanted to join a nonprofit to travel and build houses, or establish villages, or maybe join FEMA to help after natural disasters. Maybe you always found yourself in a party grinding out the same high-level monsters for that sweet XP and loot. You and your college friends continued to live together and have a great time. You work the same job, but your expenses were really low, so you ended up saving lots of money.
Define your path. Check. Define the best (and ideally the most fun) way to travel to your endgame. Check. Next? Stat points.
Step 3: How are you going to spend your stat points?
There are 24 hours in a day and we all choose how we spend them. Sleep, exercise, reading, gaming, hanging out with friends, etc…What are your hobbies, and how do they help you in other areas of life? If the hobbies/majority of your time spent don’t have transferable skills towards your endgame build, then maybe you should look to spend your time in a different, more efficient manner. Maybe your build doesn’t need a college degree. Good. Don’t take on the debt. Forge your path. A solo rouge probably doesn’t (and shouldn’t) care about the mystic arts. He won’t be focusing on casting any spells, and therefore, it would be a waste of time to learn. If you are focusing on becoming a nurse, then spending your time stocking shelves at your local grocery store during 3rd shift, might not be the best use of your time. There might be other jobs that can give you more insight, practice, and transferable skills towards your healer build. In a video game, you don’t level up and then immediately throw away your stat points. You use them as efficiently as you can, to be better at whatever class you are playing. Every year we get older (we level up) and we should decide how to spend the next year of our lives.
Invest time and money into yourself, and into whatever your goals are. Learn to say no to most things that have nothing to do with that path. Learn to do as Bruce Lee once said: “Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own.”
Step 4: Adjust when needed. Games are constantly changing, just like the real world. Builds that were OP a few updates ago, might not be worth pursuing now. Real-life is the same way. Factory jobs were abundant and are now severely diminished. Coders were rare a few decades ago, now coding is commonly taught in schools. You may think that you wanted to be a wizard at age 16, but by the time your 30s were creeping closer, you realized you wanted something less flashy, and something more simple. It happens. Be willing to go to that shrine, pay the fee, (usually the fee is the time that it takes to learn a new skill set or job position, but sometimes real-life money does come along with that) and respec. It is rarely too late, you would be surprised at how quickly you pick up the new class, and how natural it will feel in no time.
Repurpose your old skills when you can. A warrior tank and a DPS mage might seem like they have nothing in common, but there might be something you can transfer. Maybe as a warrior, you were griding away at a 9–5 job, but there was always something you didn’t like about your boss or the work that you did. Use that knowledge to take a risk and build your own business.
Discard what didn’t work, change the rules, and refocus your path on your new life goal.
Step 5: Repeat steps 1–4 until you’ve made it. You reached the endgame. For most, that might be 65+ years old. For some, that tried a less common build, maybe that is 35+ years old. I’ve always been a fan of Powerleveling as fast as I could to get to the endgame because, for me, that was where the true game began. My goal is to have my endgame by 40. That is in ten years. My endgame looks like this: I am a simple Mage, living the wilderness, enjoying life, traveling as often as I can, and not spending too much along the way. Hopefully, my party consists of a female healer who can help me through the tough times. Also, maybe a third or fourth noob in our group by the time I reach 40. We won’t power level them though, we will simply watch them grow and guide them to whatever spec they choose to live their life. (Those noobs would be my future kids, by the way).
Min/Max your life to what makes you the happiest. Money, love, nature, freedom, travel, or whatever it might be. Improve on your strengths and favorite hobbies. Learn to say no to things that you don’t want to do, that don’t benefit you or those around you. Don’t feel bad about it either. Nobody wants someone in their group that was forced to heal but is bad at it. The group would rather you stood your ground, stayed a crazy OP DPS, and helped the group more in the long run.
The world will be a lesser place if you decide to take on a path that is any lesser than what would make you the happiest.