Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How Video Games Can Improve Your Work Ethic

Many of us enjoy playing Super Mario, Mortal Kombat, and World of Warcraft, but there were always comments about how you should join the “real world,” and how video games are just for fun and not for learning. They entertain us, for sure, but is there something else to be gleaned from these games? Are there life lessons that we can apply in our everyday lives?

[I hope so. Because if not, this article just became very short!]

Below is a list of ways that Video Games can improve your personal or work ethic to make you a stronger contender in the game of Life:

Every player starts as a “Noob”
Sometimes when you are sitting in your corporate office, surrounded by VPs and Directors who drive Porsches, it is hard to believe that everyone started just like you. But it is true! Very few people start at the top of their organization, and those that do have still have to pass through some beginner stages. As a result, it is understood that a new associate will make mistakes, because everyone does! The important things is that, much like in gaming, you need to ask for advice or help from more experienced team members, and you have to do your research. Are you continuously being killed by the first boss in a raid? Are you making mistakes in your first meeting? Turn to your party members or co-workers and ask for help. It will not only help you refrain from making noob-mistakes, but it will also instill team work and camaraderie with your peers. 

“Camping” your boss can be a good thing
In gaming it is considered camping if you sneak up upon a player, attack and kill them, and then wait for them to return so that you can kill them again. This is not a good idea in the work environment. Not ever. However, if you were to metaphorically “camp” your boss, as in being an on-hand asset all the time, that is a great thing. This is what will help you to subconsciously inform your boss that you are excited to work and ready for the next level. If your boss needs help with a project, volunteer. If your co-worker needs a hand with setting up a room for a presentation, make sure that you are the first one there. This will help you to stand out amongst your peers and will establish you as a great asset in your office. 

If you make a mistake, you can always “Re-Spawn” or “Reset”
Since every player in life makes mistakes, just remember that you do have the ability to reset or learn from your errors. Too many times I have seen team members who are dragged down from an error, and I myself have experienced this before, but just remember that mistakes are just as important as lessons. One phrase I have found valuable in my career has been to advise my boss of the following: “I will make mistakes. It is going to happen. But I won’t make the same mistake again.” In video gaming, you can quickly discover that heading down a left path will drop you down a pit to die, so you know the next time to take the right path; the same theory applies to real life. If you forgot to tag a team mate on an e-mail, leading to a miscommunication, ensure that you do not forget the co-worker again. If you are forgetting something too often, set yourself a daily reminder or write a note down on a Post-It and attach it to your desk at eye level. At first the reminder will be helpful, but overtime you will overlook it, and that is good: it means that the behavior will become ingrained. Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed by mistakes. You can always try again. 

Achievement Unlocked: Brag about it
Often times we are able to accomplish great things, but a moment’s glory can be forgotten by others due to busy schedules and daily tasks. If you are able to achieve a goal, make sure that you share it with others, and celebrate the achievements of your peers! If you close a great deal, make sure to peek into your boss’s office for a moment to let him or her know. Many people send e-mails, but this can be lost in the grand scheme of e-mails, or can seem too pretentious. But mentioning the achievement briefly allows the person to acknowledge you immediately and doesn’t leave an annoying train of replies and forwards (among the other hundreds your boss may have to go through). It’s also valuable because it is a good way to let your boss know that you are adding value. If your co-worker completes something, take a moment to congratulate them. It can really go a long way to cheer up a person’s day, and they will eventually return the favor. Also make sure to post any certificates or awards at your desk. It will help to decorate (especially if you have a Spartan-decoration style like myself) and it will cheer you up when you see them. 

Make sure you dedicate time to Leveling Up
Nothing was better than jumping on the flag pole in Super Mario to show that you had completed the level and were ready to “level up,” and the same sense of effort should be made in your work life as well. Make sure that you take the time to increase your abilities, whether in the personal or work-related realm. This could include things like taking special classes, reading books related to your passions or work, or volunteering in your community. So many times we allow ourselves to become overwhelmed by the little details in life, and we do not allow ourselves to move forward. Taking these extra steps will not only distinguish your resume among others, but it will also make you feel accomplished and will introduce you to more people. The investments that you make toward your passions, like gaming, writing, or painting (for example) will show through in the quality of your work and will show your boss or co-workers that you are willing to work to get to the next level. It is enjoyable and it is a great investment.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article! Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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