Let me start off by thanking the entire community for what has been created here. HE is certainly one of the most creative and thought-provoking places in the internet.
To understand my problem, I will give you a little insight into my life. I am 21 years old and I always had a thing for self-optimization and the pursue of happiness. I read a lot about happiness and life-hacking and that knowledge and probably a lot of luck brought me into this really great place in my life. I live with a great roommate, have a fun and well-paid job, do a lot of sports and dancing and have a wonderful girlfriend with whom I travel a lot. I appreciate life everyday and strive to learn new things like Dvorak, polyphasic sleeping or lucid dreaming. I am happy.
Unfortunately I like gaming and youtubing around. I know it is bad and won’t get me anywhere but I do it anyways. My job allows me a lot of freedom and I have a lack of discpline, so these circumstances don’t come in handy.
Every day at breakfast I waver between watching TED talks and fail videos. I know which one would make me more happy in the long run but all too often I choose the easy, mind-numbing, instant-pleasure path.
I have thought about this a lot, meditated about what I really wanted in life, but I still cannot seem to overcome this bad habit. I just like it. 6 hours of gaming and no break. Of course I feel a little bad afterwards, reflecting on the bad effects that session had on my productivity, posture and general health. But hey, that was fun. Why end it?
Did any of you have the same experience? What can I do to overcome this urge for junk content?
There is nothing inherently wrong about gaming, however it obviously seems destructive to you to your own self-image, this causing all kinds of psychological guilt problems. You can either work around these and game all you want, or you can move your focus elsewhere. You have to decide.
As an ex-poker player, I am now able to see game structures everywhere. Language games, emotional games, business and political games. They are just more advanced and complex, but can be extremely fun and frustration. The big difference however is that with real life, there are real consequences. And this is what deters most people, which I feel is a very wrong view.
Gaming has a strong appeal for men because men are cultured to be goal oriented – that’s the way wealth is accumulated and you attract the opposite sex… The problem with the real world is that its very obscure in terms of what you get out of it for what you put in. You can work really hard, and for reasons beyond your control still fail. Gaming is the antithesis to this. If you put in enough time on any game, you will rise to the highest level, no matter how many times you “die” in the game. This has a very reptile brain level of satisfaction for men. That’s why games are so seductive. You struggle to overcome the obstacles, and you always win in the end.
Real life is not so logical, fair or direct in its rewards and punishments.
Whatever makes you feel less sick and more connected is the right thing. Being goal oriented can make us sick. I think it feeds us more to be process oriented
Just resist it one day and each successive day it will become easier. Like Martijn mentioned you can use this time to master something. The hardest part of getting out of an ingrained habit is at the very beginning, but you can easily replace that habit with something else that gives you more satisfaction.
I suffer the same fate, got soo much time on my hands these days and all too often I end up playing games, listening to music, watching sports on tv simply passing time instead of doing something .. real.. I don’t have any specific advice, but Ellie puts it the way I think about it, I guess we just have to start defying the urge and with time it will get easier, but I’m currently lacking ideas and motivation to do so myself.. [insert embarrassed smiley here]
Well, breaking a habit is all about breaking the habit. It’s that simple, you just gotta stay very conscious and persistent for the first few days and set that snowball rolling, then it just gets easier and easier. There are no dirty tricks that will do it for you, but it isn’t hard to do.
JUST GET TO IT.
Also, there’s plenty of stuff that’s funny AND educating AND inspiring.
Thanks for all the answers so far. I guess my main problem is convincing myself of the need to change something. Overall, I don’t consider gaming a bad habit. The part of me that wrote this post is just a small voice which raises concerns for the current situation. The rest tells me everything is fine, you are happy, keep going. Is pushing back youtube and gaming the right path at all? Time we enjoy wasting is not wasted, right?
You can always appreciate who you are and what you do. Every single activity that you engage in was once just an idea in someone’s mind, and by participating in them, you are honoring what they worked so hard on to cast into the world. Feel good about that, brother! We don’t have time to do everything in life. We pick and choose and sometimes we’re OK with simpler pleasures over those on a grander scale. There’s always enough time to do what’s right, and as long as you keep that in mind, you’ll be good to go for as long as you remain alive.