I grew up playing video games and if you’re a millennial like me, you probably did too. While I don’t play them anymore, they were a big part of my childhood. I’m sure plenty of time that I spent playing them was wasted, but I know there are some cognitive benefits to playing video games.
For one, video games make you think. Depending on the game, you’ll need to plan how you’re going to win and execute your strategy. That alone is something you can use in real life to get ahead.
Something I treat like a video game in my own life is budgeting. I lay out my income and expenses and the goal of the game is to get that income as high as possible and the expenses as low as possible. I’d say this strategy has been working pretty well. We saved 36% of our $5,200 take home pay last month and also tithed 10% of it. So we technically saved 46%.
Another good thing to treat like a video game is your career. Figure out what it is you need to do to get a raise or promotion and implement a strategy. Once you’ve got your goal in front of you, each time you do a task related to the goal will be like a level up. Sooner than you think, you’ll be at the top of wherever it is you’re working.
You can take this mindset and apply it to just about anything. The act of creating an end goal and having something to work towards will help you to progress. Before I had a job in the IT field, getting a job in IT was the end goal. I didn’t stop until I got there and now I’m working in IT.
“If you’ve got a big enough why, you can face any how.”
Video games teach you to be competitive and you have to compete in this world to get anything out of it. If you look at things like they’re a game, you’ll want to win the game which means you’ll compete. There are limits you should put on your competitiveness though. If you’re always dominating everything you can, nobody’s going to want to play with you and that’s worse than losing.
In order for you to win, someone else has to lose, so that’s important to keep in mind. It might be fun to win things to feel good about yourself, but if that’s the only reason you’re doing it, you could be taking away something from someone who actually cares about that particular thing.
Video games are good at teaching you it’s okay to fail, as long as you get back in the game. I was actually hesitant to play video games when I was a kid. The fear of dying held me back. Eventually, I tried it out and although I died within a few seconds, I realized it wasn’t so bad. I could play again and make it further next time.
That’s how we go about life. We dip our feet into things we’re uncertain of until we get comfortable with them. Now that I’ve gotten used to trying new things, I jump right in without thinking twice. I might even jump into things sooner than I should (like starting this blog without any plan). When you think about life like a video game, you’ll realize you have unlimited chances. You may fail a million times, but as long as you get back to playing the game, you’ll become successful.
When you’re playing a game, you try to do everything as good as you can so you have the highest chance of winning. When you take this mentality and apply it into the real world, you see a lot of progress. Think about how much better your life could be if you tried to do everything as good as possible. Not only would that improve your finances, but everything in your life would see a boost.
Going back to the strategy, when you have a plan, you can start optimizing everything. I love coming up with new ideas to optimize my life. It could be my personality type, but any inefficiencies I notice bug me.
Some of my most productive days have been when I was thinking about what I was doing like it was a video game. Each task I complete gets me one step closer to the finish line where the reward is. It’s easier to focus on what you’re doing when you feel a boost each time you have a small win.
Regardless of how small the task is, you can think of it like you’re getting experience points (XP) each time you complete one. Eventually all that XP adds up and you just might see a promotion or pay raise as a result.
Defeating your enemies
Your enemies could be other humans, or anything that comes at you in a negative way. Your own thoughts could even be an enemy. When you think about life like a video game, you can visualize anything negative as the enemy and develop a strategy to defeat it as quickly as possible.
You may have to go down deep into a dark place with the monsters, but if you can defeat them, you’ll come out of it a hero. As long as you don’t sacrifice your virtues to defeat them anyways. It may seem silly to think about life this way, but there’s definitely some utility in it.
To sum things up, if you take the things you want to succeed at and put a video game spin on it, you might see some good results. Thinking about this blog like it’s a video game has actually helped me to stay persistent with it. I’ve thought about giving it up several times, but I know if I continue to level up my writing and financial knowledge, my audience will grow and I’ll be able to help some people out.
I also look at the goal of becoming a millionaire as a game I’m playing. It’s a very high goal, but the game is fun and the result will be worth it.
Here’s what my millionaire strategy looks like:
- Make as much as I can.
- Save as much as I can.
- Invest as much as I can.
That’s as basic as I can write it, but there are endless amounts of things to do in each of those three categories.
Have you ever thought about life like a video game? It can be a fun, refreshing way to look at things.
Nathan created Millionaire Dojo to document his journey to reaching a million dollar net worth so that others may be inspired to follow the same path. He and his wife reached a net worth of one hundred thousand by the age of 25 and has been featured on Business Insider. His blog focuses on practical advice that can be implemented immediately in the form of saving money, earning more, and investing to create passive income.