I don’t normally write about video games but I received an email from a reader a few days ago. He is currently following a lot of my advice on improving himself in life.
“I’m really working hard in gym, in school, in my social life and working on my appearance. But at the end of the day I still got a lot of time leftover. I only get to the gym a few days a week and i’m taking college courses so literally half of my day is free time. So I’ve developed a habit of coming home, eating, and then playing my PS4 for hours on end. As a kid I was practically addicted to World of Warcraft and Runescape. Now I don’t feel addicted but I feel like I have to play because i’m really good at the game I play now which is Destiny. I guess my question is should I limit my time playing games or quit completely?”
I’m similar to him because I was also a huge gamer as a kid. I was glued to my computer from the ages of 11, to about 14 playing Runescape nonstop.
I was obsessed and also obese. Sitting in front of a computer screen was my favorite hobby, exercising wasn’t even a thought.
Even though I was just a kid, my mindset was that “gaming was fun and I had nothing better to do.”
It’s not just kids that think that way, some adults also think like I did. They justify their actions in anyway they can without thinking outside of the box.
If you asked me a few years ago, I probably would’ve said “It won’t hurt in moderation”
However, my opinion on Video Games has changed, actually it has changed a lot.
I used to think it was fine for me to play for a few hours a day, but I don’t believe that anymore.
For me, Video Games were the Ultimate Waste of Time. And they absolutely didn’t benefit me in any possible way.
At 14 years old, I wanted lose weight, make more friends, and finally get a girlfriend. Sitting in front of a screen for hours a day wasn’t helping me accomplish either of those things.
I will say this, if you’re making money from gaming, then keep on going. But the majority of you are not.
The main problem we all run into is quite honestly, boredom. You likely have nothing planned that day, so you turn on your computer or console and play for hours.
When you think about it, most (if not all) things in entertainment are solely for killing some time.
Watching TV, Watching Netflix, Playing Video Games, Using Social Media and Aimlessly Browsing the Internet are all great ways to kill time.
People get bored and then they turn on the TV. They find a good show and eventually developing a habit of watching it everyday.
Ask yourself, what is that truly accomplishing?
And that’s where Video Games get you.
They give you a false sense of accomplishment by setting up new levels, ranks and achievements to keep you striving for more. To keep you striving for video game glory. You’ll play a game for a few hours and soon enough start fantasizing about being at the highest level and being better than the rest.
People who don’t have a lot going on for them in life, often naturally seek out video games so they can feel like they are doing something important and worthy of their time. Certainly that doesn’t mean all gamers are like that, but some of them are. You might be one of them.
You might even invest a bunch of your money into a game just to get an advantage over others, I know I did.
I would buy a premium membership for a game and pay with my parents money. It was to upgrade my character, so that I could feel superior to other people in a fake virtual world.
Overall, gaming was a huge waste of my valuable time and often my money as well.
I could have spent that time playing sports, making friends and having a great time outside of the house. I could’ve exercised more and lost the fat at a younger age.
My grades in school would’ve been better too. I remember that I usually skipped homework or procrastinated until the last minute because I was so absorbed into whatever game I was playing.
Ryan, are you trying to say I should never play Video Games at all?
If you play Video Games often, that means you have a lot of free time.
And if you have goals in life, you need to replace some of the time you spend gaming with working towards your goals.
I’m not telling you to give it up for the rest of your life.
Instead, think about what is more important to you… a game, or reaching your true potential in life?
I own an Xbox One, and use it a few times a week mainly to watch Netflix. And I’ll spend at the most, 1-2 hours in a whole week actually playing video games. Most weeks, I don’t play video games at all. I’ve found that going to the gym is a much better stress reliever.
I spend my time at the gym, at work, socializing, working around the house, reading self-improvement and overall just keeping myself busy.
Whether it’s Video Games, TV shows, or even addicting pornography, they put you in a different place mentally.
You might completely forget about things that you have to do that day. You’ll probably ignore troubles you’re having in life because you’re absorbed in some fantasy world.
Someone wise once described gaming and TV shows as “Anti-Meditation.”
His reasoning was that you aren’t doing very much thinking at all, you’re simply glued to the screen and it becomes a barrier to yourself. You focus on the outside instead of dealing with your own reality.
Some people are alcoholics and drug addicts to “dull the pain” and forget about their problems in life.
Of course gaming a lot isn’t the equivalent to being a drug addict, but you aren’t exactly living in reality if all of your time is spent in some pixelated fantasy land.
If I wanted to be nice, I’d tell myself to cut back a little on the gaming.
But I want to be brutally honest.
Do your best to cut out the games completely. Find other things to do.
I went from playing 4-6 hours a day as a kid, to barely an hour or two a week.
Most days the thought of turning on my Xbox doesn’t even cross my mind.
With all that said…
For most of you gamers, your life can improve drastically by cutting down the time you play.
If you cut back even a little bit, you will find so many different things you can do to improve yourself and have more fun in life.
Like I mentioned, Video Games aren’t the only distraction people use.
If you watch so much Netflix that your eyes hurt, it’s time to give it a serious break.
Lift some weights. Hang out with some friends. Go on a date. Pick up a rewarding hobby. Read a book. Work on yourself.
Stop making excuses and distracting yourself from your real goals in life.
Some of you might be so absorbed into gaming, and identify with it so greatly that you’ll completely disregard everything I’ve said. Eventually you’ll realize exactly what I’m talking about.
You might be someone that can manage to do everything they need to do and still play games on the side.
There isn’t anything wrong with spending the rest of your free time gaming a little bit. But that’s only if you’re working towards your goals in life, and gaming isn’t significantly interfering with those goals.
I thought I was the King of the Mountain…and then I realized I was just playing a game.
If you have any personal questions, leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, ask me on my Contact page, maybe I’ll even answer your question in an article.