The Value Video Games Have Added to My Life

Why do people assume that video games are a waste of time?

They’re not much different than watching TV, a movie, or reading a fantasy novel.

They are all activities that people engage in to escape reality. It’s incredibly rewarding to not worry about making rent this month, or wondering when you’ll find your player 2 for the game we call life, even if only for a few hours. It has an aspect of instant gratification to it. Therefore, most people readily engage in these escapes. We’re addicted to instantaneous gratification.

I think it’s healthy that we give ourselves somewhat of a break from the harsh reality we face every day. We should take time for ourselves at least once a week, to recharge and refresh. You can even utilize your method of escape as a reward for completing your goals for that week. It’ll help give you the motivation to make that last push to accomplish your goals.

Although these activities are an escape from reality, it doesn’t mean that they can’t be productive!

I don’t think I can count high enough to tell you the number of times I have been told “video games are a waste of time”. I disagree with that statement.

From the outside looking in, I can see why people believe that video games are a waste of time. You’re sitting there mashing buttons in a virtual reality that will generally have no effect on your actual reality.

When you’re inside the game however, you’re most likely having the best dang time of your life. Unless your top laner just fed the enemy Yasuo seven kills in ten minutes. Then you’re in for 30 minutes of “why do I do this to myself”? You end the game frustrated and angry at the game. Yet, you queue up for another and do it all over again.

The game in context is League of Legends (LOL). It’s been one of the most popular video games in the world for the last seven years. To gain perspective of just how big it is, its viewership ratings for the world finals passed the NBA finals viewership ratings by 5 million viewers.

This game is where I learned that video games and other activities that are generally looked upon as being unproductive, can be turned into productive things.

I’m a huge competitor. I’ve been involved in sports all my life and I’ve always loved the work you can put in to become better at something. I love to see this work translate into success over opponents. I treat video games the same.

I mainly play player versus player (PvP) games. In PvP games, you are usually going up against another person somewhere in the world that has a similar skill level to your own. It’s very similar to how sports work. Game developers have even added in-game ladders so that you can see how you rank against the rest of the players in your region.

At my peak, I was in the 92nd percentile of LOL players in North America. When I started out, I was placed below the 50th percentile. I practiced, learned, and eventually got really good at the game. Honestly, I spent way too much time on the rift.

Here’s the kicker though, I didn’t only learn how to climb and succeed in LOL, I learned how to climb and succeed in all aspects of life. Here’s what I discovered.

1: How to Deal with Failure that does not Matter.

1- How to deal with Failure that does not matter. (1)

Losing in PvP can be incredibly frustrating. When you get into a game and just proceed to get decimated it becomes easily to feel powerless. The absence of power can be extremely cognitive dissonant. You know you can beat this guy, but for whatever reason, he is wiping the floor with you.

You’ve now lost and proceed to queue up for the next game only to repeat the process.

This happened repeatedly. I was wasting so much time and energy letting my losses on the game negatively affect my life. Eventually, I learned to accept that I was failing at something that didn’t even matter. It was just a dumb video game. I realized that this game did not dictate my worth as a person. Once realizing this, I transferred the mindset to other aspects of my life such as school.

This led me to adapt my current mindset that only the things you value are important. This was a life changer for me.

2: Graceful in Defeat.

graceful in defeat

Once I accepted failure, I quickly became graceful when presented with it. Sure, I might have lost, but I can still say GG and move on.

I find this experience similar to being graceful in rejection. It’s a very good skill to have. If I were to go up to a girl, get rejected, call her something mean in response, like a cotton headed ninny muggings for example, while walking away, I would look like a complete jerk. If I took the high road and simply wish her the best in rejection, then I’d come off as a decent human being.

I’m trying to set a good example for my son here. I’d much rather him see me being a kind person regardless of the situation, than a negative person when faced with failure.

3: Overcoming Obstacles.

Overcome obstacles

In league’s ranking system, there are different tiers with 5 respective divisions in each tier. For example, there is bronze 1-5, then silver 1-5, then gold 1-5, etc.

Each division and tier is an obstacle. The goal of the obstacle is to overcome it. If I’m in silver 5 for example, my goal is to get to the next division being silver 4. To do so, you must learn how to overcome the obstacle of silver 5.

With each tier comes a new obstacle to solve as you being playing against better people. For example, the main obstacle in silver 5 may be learning what each playable champ does in the game. However, once you get to platinum 5, the main obstacle may be rotating correctly.

Each obstacle is different and therefore requires a different solution. Being able to overcome obstacles will bring numerous benefits to one’s life.

4: Hone in on your Mistakes.

Hone in on Mistakes

When presented with an obstacle, you first must figure out what the obstacle is and why it is an obstacle. Video games have taught me how to analyze my actions and the obstacles that present themselves to me.

If I keep dying on my enemy’s side of the map, then I can hone in on that mistake. What is causing it? I wander to the enemy’s side of the map alone. How do I fix it?  Well, if I make sure to only go to their side of the map with a team member, then I will stand a greater threat if an enemy tries to come after me.

And just like that, I have set myself up to overcome the obstacle by honing in on where the obstacle is at. Now, I just need follow my plan of action.

5: A Positive Mindset Makes a Massive Difference.

Positive mindset

This is probably my most valued lesson from video games. If you’re constantly thinking you can’t do something, then you’ve already lost. This will not cause you to fail, but to be defeated. Failure is a good thing, defeat is not. Defeat is accepting that you cannot succeed. I believe that anyone can succeed at anything in some way shape or form, as long as they do not allow themselves to be defeated.

If you believe you can achieve something, then you will achieve it, once the proper effort is put forth of course. With every failure you learn. Defeat is not in your vocabulary.

I knew I could be good at LOL. With every failure, I kept on going. I utilize this mindset everyday now. 2017 has been my worst year in a very long time. However, that’s not going to stop me from looking toward what I know I’m capable of.

All of these aspects have been transferred into my everyday life in one way or another. Without them, I probably would not be here writing this post.

So before you feel bad about engaging in an unproductive activity, figure out how you can make that activity productive. It will probably be easier than you think.

Stay wild.


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