When I first started with self-improvement, I heard only two concepts for a long while:
go all the fuck in and make crazy changes,
or make yourself one percent better every day.
To be frank, after 5 more years I haven’t found something that wouldn’t fall into these two categories. These are the main ones – pillars of improving the life, and each has its place.
However, there are layers to them. Different perspectives, approaches – it is more about the mindset behind it really.
Some may click for the rest of the world, but not you. And vice versa.
Some may just be waiting for some big epiphany – something so minuscule, yet so profound, that it finally becomes the straw that “does” it for you…
For me, one of these concepts was “gamification of life”.
As one of my life long passions is video games (I would literally have hours of them on my perfect day) – the concept of “gaining experience” to “level up” some part of life strongly appealed to me.
It was a fun view on life.
It haven’t got me to actually apply it though... It never really clicked.
Somehow, today, when I thought about going to social meetup just for one hour, the concept of getting more experience (points) came to mind.
I thought about skipping it altogether, because I had so little time and would not get any noticeable progress there.
And then I finally “got it” – just going there for the smallest amount of time possible will still give me like 1 exp. point – not enough for a huge change but it is that famous “1%” we all talk about.
Now, that definitely feels like a grind – there would need to be a lot of these “1 exp’s” for the actual, visible progress.
I am not a fan of grinding games personally, but aren’t some of them still enjoyable? Or at least very addictive (sometimes I don’t want to remember all the hours I spent on “idle” games…).
Notice how they entice you to do the same thing over and over again, because each time you feel like you gained something – some infinitely increasing numbers on screen.
Life is like that too. We make small improvements each time we take some action, it is just harder to notice if we are not paying close attention to it. Or we may be framing it differently – like a waste of time, or even as a regress.
Though, if we think about it deeper, there is always progress.
Life, when thought from a game perspective, has a huge advantage over its video/mobile relatives – there are no experience cap.
There are no “over leveling”.
In video games doing something easy and “low level” when you are “advanced” won’t give you any improvement.
It is like, “You are too far ahead to learn from it”.
In the real world that ain’t true.
Any experience, any event, any person in your life, no matter how “beginner” it may seem, will always affect you in some way – or you wouldn’t notice or allow it to happen in the first place.
Think about it – if you meet someone, and they leave you really frustrated – when the only feeling afterwards is “I don’t like that I spent time on that interaction”.
It did give you this thought – insight about you not liking it.
Before the interaction you, at least in some way, expected something good out of it. Now you know slightly better.
Give it enough repetitions, gain enough “exp” points and you realize it is actually useless and won’t go through with it in the future.
You learn enough to stop allowing it to happen in your life. Or use it for a different purpose – which, once again, still gives you something.
Now you may say that you don’t always have the choice of the interaction.
But is that actually true?
There are a lot of ways to deal with, let’s say, in-person interaction that you just know won’t give you anything.
Here are some from the top of my mind: decline them, ghost, don’t show up, reschedule, excuse yourself and leave, scream at them until they go away, don’t listen to anything that is communicated to you, or even say “fuck it” and just leave in the middle of it.
You probably used some of it in the past.
So when you still go through with it – you know it will give you something, even if it is the knowledge not to do that again.
As you already know, it is experience as well.
Back to the point of grind – while considered extremely boring in games, I think in reality it is quite fun.
There are just so many variables in our everyday life to have exactly the same experience multiple times – some detail will be different.
Remember also, that your life – yes, the one you playing right now – is the only one you have. And even these minuscule improvements will stay with you forever.
You cannot reset your character and start over, hoping for a better roll of luck.
You cannot be banned and forced to go to a square one.
It is impossible to lose your progress in life.
You are stuck with this current character – you may as well make them slightly better today.
Level up parts of your life and yourself overall.
Enjoy the grind – each passing moment gives you that precious life-long exp.