I've Never Failed, I Just Found a Thousand Different Ways That Didn't Work

Zykanthos (@chodebalm) 7 years, 10 months ago

“The fears we don’t face become our limits.” – Robin Sharma

In October of 2008, I bought a video game for the Playstation 3 called Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe. You’re probably thinking, “What? This post is about a video game?”

No, it is not. This post is about fear. Hear me out.

Everyone is afraid of something. Everyone has their fears and uncertainties. Success is determined by how you overcome your fears, and how you overcome your fears depends on whether or not you are willing to face them – I mean really look into yourself and face them.

I digress. The video game I bought in 2008 started off as just a time waster for me. It was fun and I had grown up on Mortal Kombat games, so I enjoyed dabbling with this one as well. The difference this time, however, was that it was the first time I had gotten into online gaming. I started playing against people online, often getting my ass kicked quite handily. The more I lost, the more upset I got and wanted revenge. It was my competitive nature, I suppose. So I would try to figure out why I lost, and then I would play that person again and try to do better.

Time went by and I started to get better. Much better. I was now beating the people that used to beat me, and I was doing it pretty convincingly. Still, there were players online who were much better than me. I would encounter them every once in a while and take note of their name and remember them. I’d play them again from time to time and each time I would get my ass kicked.

Months went by and I still wasn’t able to beat certain players online. I began to get annoyed and angry beyond what a reasonable person should feel. My girlfriend at the time hated me for it. The game actually grew into not what I would call an addiction, but rather a passion. It was what I wanted to do. I wanted to be the best player online. As nerdy as that sounds, it was true, and I didn’t care. However, the fact that there were still a good amount of people who could beat me really angered me. I ended up avoiding these people. I would remember who could beat me and started taking notice of players’ records. If it was a win/loss ratio of about 90/10, I generally would avoid that person for fear of losing to them and having my record suffer. So I only played people I knew I could beat or thought I could beat based on their record.

Then one day that all changed. Something clicked. I was sick and tired of staying at that level of skill. I wanted to be the best and I couldn’t stand it that others were better than me, yet I wasn’t doing the things I needed to do to improve. So I said, “Fuck it.” I told myself I didn’t care anymore about my record, I didn’t care anymore if my ego took a hit by losing to better fighters. I went full steam ahead and started challenging everyone who I knew was better than me. I learned their skills, their tactics, and how to improve my own skills based on theirs.

The game really became a head game. It was like a chess game in many ways, because the more understanding I gained of the game, the more it became a game of “He knows what I’m gonna do, and I know he knows what I’m gonna do, and he knows that I know that he knows what I’m gonna do,” etc.

Eventually I started beating the players who once beat me. There were SO many players online who would bitch about certain characters in the game being “cheap” or their moves were “cheap.” They didn’t want to fight certain players because those players would use characters who employed tactics that were very difficult to overcome, and so those tactics were labeled as spammy and cheap. I used to think the same thing, but after dropping my fear of losing, “spammy” and “cheap” moves no longer existed in my mind. They were simply tactics that I needed to figure out how to beat. And I did.

I realized that complaining about external circumstances and what other people chose to do was simply not going to help me in any way whatsoever. I wasn’t able to control how other people chose to play the game, but I was able to control how I reacted to it. Once I understood this, it shattered all my previous beliefs and I became truly a master of the game. I became one of the top 5 players on the Playstation Network for Mortal Kombat. I was even invited to EVO in Las Vegas to play in a tournament, though I declined because I couldn’t afford to go at the time.

Again, this may all seem a bit nerdy, but my point is not to illustrate my skillset in a video game. My point is to illustrate how that type of thinking applies to everything you do in life. It is an extremely beneficial mindset for life in general. You cannot control how other people act, how they think, or what they do. You can, however, control how you react to it. And more importantly, anything you are afraid of, you can overcome it and become better.

Fear is an extremely powerful emotion that holds us back in many aspects of our life. Mostly it is the fear of failure. We all want to be good enough. None of us enjoy failure and disappointment, but it is the mark of a successful person who uses failure to figure out what he needs to do better next time. You cannot grow, you cannot improve, unless you take a look into yourself and figure out what it is that’s holding you back from your goals.

Since this fundamental realization several years ago, I have used this mentality to do many other things in my life. I have learned a new language and can speak it fluently (used to fear sounding like an idiot while speaking the langauge to a native speaker), got into a career that I love that I originally never thought I had a chance at, got to 370 lbs on my squat in the gym, learned how to do freestanding handstands and freestanding handstand pushups, bought a car that I used to think I would have never been able to afford, and met the woman I’m going to marry and now will be having a kid with. I traveled to over 8 different countries in the past 4 years (some multiple times), as well as 10 different states in the U.S. Letting go of your fear is a life changing thing.

Maybe you’re afraid of talking to people for fear of rejection. Maybe you’re afraid of applying for that job you really want because you think you’re not qualified. Maybe you really want to ask out that girl but you think she’s out of your league. Don’t believe any of it. I thought my girlfriend was completely out of my league, and she turned out to be the girl of my dreams and the mother of my child.

So my point is – whatever it is you’re wanting to do, whatever you’re passionate about, no matter how small or big, go for it. Do not listen to yourself if you have doubts. If you are scared or fearful of something, let it go. Convince yourself to let it go. Take small steps if you need to. It will lead to big things. Failure is actually a wonderful thing. Failure is only bad if you look at it the wrong way. You have a choice to look at it the right way – to view it as a chance to improve. That’s what I did, and that’s what I try to do every day of my life. You cannot be successful in something unless you are willing to fail because you know that it will lead to improvement on what needs to be improved.

I hope you guys enjoyed my story and hopefully you can apply it in your own life. If only one person takes the advice and it makes a difference in your life, then my time has been worth it to write this. Cheers!

November 14, 2014 at 12:01 pm
Mike Wuest (510) (@mikeyw829) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

Amazing what a video game can teach you.

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Zykanthos (4,757)M (@chodebalm) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

For sure. Some of the simplest things can bring the biggest lessons.

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Anonymous (17) (@) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

My twisted childhood. <3
Kabal is still my favorite fighter. Gotta love Rain, though. Except his homo prince story.

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Zykanthos (4,757)M (@chodebalm) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

Lol! Yes, Rain was the shit. I was always a Sub Zero and Scorpion guy myself though.

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Manimal (2,998) (@manimal) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

KABAL!

I’m pretty sure they changed Rain’s story. They changed a lot of the plot and the character bios. Smoke. for example, is no longer a demonic dimensional entity, now he’s some czech guy.

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Anonymous (17) (@) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

They really make whatever they want with the story-lines. I saw some fan mod of Cyber Rain doing a Friendship by pulling out an aquarium with a gold fish? Fun stuff!

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YHVH (462) (@spaceghost) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

Ermac

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Manimal (2,998) (@manimal) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

I am many, you are but one.

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Almeida (304) (@xetado) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

Enlightening story! It’s impressive how videogames can teach us valuable lessons, thanks for the thread.

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Zykanthos (4,757)M (@chodebalm) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

Indeed it is. I think there are a lot of things that can teach us valuable lessons if we’re willing to look at them the right way. Glad you enjoyed the post.

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Alex (551) (@hollowinfinity) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

Video games are some of the coolest things invented. Definitely one of the best mediums for mythologies now! Only 2nd to music. :)

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Zykanthos (4,757)M (@chodebalm) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

For sure! What system do you have?

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Alex (551) (@hollowinfinity) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

Just Pc..but these days that’s enough lol. It’s a lot cheaper too. In some ways, I only had to buy a controller.

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Zykanthos (4,757)M (@chodebalm) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

What kind of PC? I’ve always wanted to look into getting a good desktop computer instead of a laptop. I haven’t had a desktop since probably 2003.

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Alex (551) (@hollowinfinity) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

Oh im using a laptop actually. Havent really run into anything I couldnt run yet. I use this laptop for a variety of games, and for music production too. Easier for me to have just one universal device than numerous separate ones.

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JonH (1,139)C (@IJesusChrist) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

I remember using my fun in a video game to catapult me into a social setting. My friends would do a round in some game, goof off and fuck around, I’d get into a great mood, and then head out with the ‘real life’ kids and feel totally great, almost too good – seeing my friends in a lower mood than I was, often.

Since I didn’t want dependence on video games, I translated the feeling of “fuck yeah” into yoga and exercise – instead of getting on the computer and killing pixels relentlessly and efficiently, I’d begin to warm my body in the sun, stretch my joints, and increase my strength. I’d infuse myself with that same ‘badass’ essence and take a shower, grinning from ear to ear.

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Zykanthos (4,757)M (@chodebalm) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

This is how I was 2 years ago. I miss it, because I’ve been too consumed lately with work – something I never thought I would hear myself say. But I love my job, and ironically enough I have the standard 40 hour a week schedule, and living in Minnesota doesn’t allow me to soak up the sunshine in the winter time! Lol.

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Alex (551) (@hollowinfinity) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

You live in Minnesota? God, my favorite band is from there. It’s where they have their festival every year. Im hopefully planning to make it there next year.

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Zykanthos (4,757)M (@chodebalm) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

What band? Is it by chance Trampled by Turtles?

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Alex (551) (@hollowinfinity) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

Nope. Wookiefoot.

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Zykanthos (4,757)M (@chodebalm) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

Haha! I know who they are. They played a show right down the road from where I live not too long ago. Good stuff.

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JonH (1,139)C (@IJesusChrist) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

Hey remember when I asked to hang out and you ignored me?

Cool bro. Cool.

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JonH (1,139)C (@IJesusChrist) 7 years, 10 months ago ago
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YHVH (462) (@spaceghost) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

I get sucked into games too easily. It’s a hobby of mine. Though I sometimes have to force myself away, I never regret doing it because it means I’m probably doing something productive. I enjoy that immersive experience video games provide. Theres something fufilling about interacting with well designed game mechanics. I learned extreme patience from slaying zombies on call of duty. I got quite good at it and can get to very high rounds. I can understand how you can apply lessons from them real life, though I have yet to utilize them as much as I could.

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Thomas (10) (@charlie7400) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

I feel the same way! I’m sure we’ll translate our game knowledge into real life action somehow ;). It’s also something to talk about with people who enjoy the same game as you. Im really into league of legends right now and can talk about it for hours with anyone who plays it!

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YHVH (462) (@spaceghost) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

Yea, it’s the same as any other hobby. It can help you deal with frustration too. Or fuel frustration. It’s whatever you make it, that’s why I play. I can make it what I want. Especially with games like Minecraft and Terraria. The key is balance. I can’t let a hobby turn into an obsession. Well, I could, but I don’t want to.

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Thomas (10) (@charlie7400) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

Really inspiring stuff, and a cool analogy you use with the video game. Good read :)

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Zykanthos (4,757)M (@chodebalm) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

Thanks Charlie. I appreciate the kind words and am glad you enjoyed it.

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