10 Life Lesson I Learned From Gaming

I’d hear my Dad coming down the hallway to wake me up. He’d open the door slowly, then shake my leg lightly.

“Tom, wake up buddy. It’s time to wake up. Wake up…”

I’d fake groan.

“Dad, I’ve been up all night. I’m really sick.”

Then he’d let me stay in bed for an extra 10 minutes. He would check-in again. He had let me stay home from school about five times until he started bringing me to his business when I was “sick”…

I would do ANYTHING to just game a little bit more.

My next door neighbor Sean and I would plan the days we would stay home. We played one game: Halo 2.

Both of us were world ranked. Sean was ranked in the top 150. I was ranked in the top 200.

I learned a lot in life from Halo 2 and video games in general.

A. Know the Terrain

Analyzing the terrain is key to listing off all your competitors’ moves, whether it is a Halo 2 map or your business ecosystem. This leads you to make the best decision for yourself or your business. Through constant trial and error, you learn from experience when you make a decision, whether it ends up right or wrong. This is the reason why the more you experience something, the faster you make the right decision. You should be constantly learning

Lesson: When you can predict your competitor’s moves more accurately, you can make the best countermove with the least risk involved, bad players take on too much risk.

  1. Analyze the terrain.
  2. Make a list of your competitor’s moves and predict the most likely ones.
  3. Execute a move with the best opportunity (and least risk) to beat that move

Rinse and repeat.

B. The “One Thing”

When you are playing any single player game like chess or checkers this idea doesn’t play a role. In team games, however, this determines winning and losing.

Billionaire Peter Thiel has a management style he taught Mark Zuckerberg called the “one thing” philosophy. It is the idea that each individual team member should be given a single variable to optimize and manage. In business, this variable may be improving your user base. In Halo, this was long distance shooting, close corridor shooting, protecting the right side, or the middle. You get the point.

Before each match we knew our role and our job. This job was simple and our mission was to be effective.

Lesson: The fastest way to win at a game is to focus each member on “one thing”. Hold each other accountable to each maximize your “one thing.”

C. STRATEGY

It’s better to have a terrible plan than have no plan. A plan allows you to test and measure what is, and more importantly, what isn’t working. Work with your team members and develop a strategy for each and every situation that you could come across. Even though you have a team leader, that doesn’t mean every team member’s input is important. Work together and discuss what each team member thinks is the best strategy.

Make sure everyone fully agrees to fully execute the plan. The worst thing that can happen is when a team member breaks from the team because they think they know better. Work together and constantly test and retest your strategies. Fine tune them, but don’t be afraid to mix it up sometimes. You may be pleasantly surprised at the results.

Lesson: Know your terrain. Know your role. Know your teammates. Plan accordingly.

D. HOW TO LEVEL UP

Halo 2 was the beginning of Xbox Live becoming popular. LAN parties were still a thing and we would connect an ethernet cable to the modem so that the Xbox got on our Local Area Network (LAN). The entire upstairs instantly became a game center.

One of us would bring our Xbox to “party house.” Two TVs. Two consoles. 8 controllers. We were all connected to the LAN and were ready to go. That moment when the announcer guy would say “Slayer,” you knew it was going down. We were excited for the 4 vs. 4 team slayer.

It was the older kids versus the younger kids (Sean and I). It was a true neighborhood battle.

But we were painfully humiliated. They crushed us. Over and over again. After three hours of being bullied, we gave up.

I don’t know if I even scored one kill.

Lesson: You make improvements from taking on a challenge that is 4% greater than your current skill. Anything lower doesn’t engage enough interest and anything above that is discouraging.

That summer we took on that 4 percent greater challenge every day. We definitely got better as a result (see above).

E. SHORTCUTS

A buzz word we used for certain players when I played video games was the word “noob.” We called players noobs when they used combo weapons that were more effective than mastering just one weapon. Don’t be afraid to be a noob.

Noob moves drive the competition crazy due to the fact they actually get results. A lot of players think that is below them. I think you just get better faster. You can only get better only so fast without taking shortcuts. The trend of growth slows down compared to the amount of time invested.

In Monopoly for instance, the best investment is three houses on a property, to avoid buying utilities early and to purchase the railroad as fast as possible. When the game is winding down, jail is the best place.

Lesson: Master the shortcuts in life that make you better, quicker. People may call you a noob, but you will be laughing down on them from the top after you get there quicker.

F. MASTERY

I wasn’t always a great player, but I learned a lot from this story a Halo Pro once told me:
There once was a great Kung-Fu master who had a student approach him and ask, “Master, what makes you so great?”

The master replied, “I don’t make mistakes.”

“But master, how does one learn not to make mistakes?”

The master smiled, “I made a lot of mistakes and I learned from them, until I no longer made any.”

Lesson: Try to be a master of your craft. Just realize what it takes to get there.

G. LOSING

They say you learn only when you lose. One lesson sticks out from my mistakes and loses:
winning is more fun.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Most of the parents and teachers are skeptic of gaming, these are considered to be utter waste of time, however, when I see my nieces playing their favorite dress up or cooking games at friv2hub or some of their other favorite sites, I know they are learning new skills that are imperative to their brain growth and social lives in the future, there are always hidden life lessons that kids can pick up from games, this study shows how some kids that were taught basic grammar and math through video games performed better than other students in class.

It is also good to integrate with your kids, play together and create an intimate child parent bond.

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