One year ago I had just graduated from the University of Missouri. I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. To be honest I was freaking out. Indecision and uncertainty paralyzed me with stress and fear. So I did what any rational 25 year old would do: I bought Diablo 3 and pushed all thoughts of the future into the furthest recesses of my mind.
An idea formulated in my mind during that first week of Diablo mayhem. I loved gaming. I loved health and fitness. I’m Asian. So why not make some videos targeted toward nerdy Asian gamers who want to be healthier? In my World of Warcraft days I’d created a PvP video(link) so I knew the rudimentary elements of video editing. Since I was already sinking 12-14 hours a day into Diablo 3 why not make a few videos and see what happens?
Starting out I knew almost nothing about video editing, building websites, SEO, driving traffic, or any of the skills you need to be successful with an online business. I learned as I went and this is a mindset that you need to cultivate. You cannot know everything. Make peace with your ignorance and learn as you go.
The first video I uploaded on May 18, 2012. I cringe listening to it now. Terrible audio quality. Terrible video quality. I talk in a monotone voice. Lots of “uhs” and rambling thoughts. Definitely far from perfect. If you wait to do something until you’re perfect then you will never end up doing anything.
I pushed on making videos. The videos were getting a positive reception because the content was good even if the production values were terrible. Earning my first $100 was what really spurred me to take massive action. I created multiple videos every day and diverted all of my energy from gaming into producing videos. An interesting sidenote: I’d been following the advice in Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich by visualizing my goal of 1,000 subscribers and 1,000,000 video views by June 30, 2012. And on June 30, 2012 I hit those two goals. Just 42 days after my first video. Coincidence? Maybe. But I firmly believe now in the power of positive intention and visualization(provided that the positive intent is backed up by massive action).
Beginners luck and life’s obstacles
I read somewhere that the universe will reward action with initial success(or beginner’s luck) but then throw obstacles at you to test your commitment. Whoever wrote that was a wise man. I was on top of the world after my first two months. If I kept growing at this rate I’d never have to work another day in my life.
And then I hit end-game in Diablo 3 and realized that the game had no lasting power. My views plummeted as people lost interest. I started falling back on old negative thought patterns. What if I fail? What do I do now? This means I have to get a real job. How am I going to pay rent?
But a new MMO was on the horizon. Guild Wars 2. This is what would catapult me to success. The game was getting rave reviews and looked to be the “next big thing.” Except, that it wasn’t. Now the two games I’d invested all of my time into weren’t going nearly as well as I had planned. On top of that I was really sick of playing games for 12 hours a day. This was not the kind of life I wanted to live.
The old indecision and fear came back. I saw a bleak future filled with boring accounting jobs. I lost my motivation. I lost my drive. I became depressed and didn’t make any updates to The Healthy Gamer for three months.
I contemplated joining Active Duty in the Army. Not that it was necessarily something I wanted to do but because it would provide a measure of security and stability.
Failures show us which paths to avoid
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison
Finally in December I started rebuilding a positive mindset largely thanks to the audiotapes of Earl Nightengale(which you can get by signing up to my e-mail list here). Looking back I am very thankful for my depression. It made me analyze my life and refocus on my true path. Emotions are our signposts in life. And negative emotions remind us that we’re not moving in the right direction.
I had lost sight of my initial intent with The Healthy Gamer which was to help gamers improve their lives. Instead the YouTube channel had turned into a gaming channel. I’d stopped working out regularly. My diet was completely off. I’d stopped my daily meditations. I’d stopped waking up early. All of the positive disciplines I’d built in life were coming apart because I was focusing my time and energy on being a good YouTube gamer. Now I can see that the negative emotions I experienced were a direct consequence of getting off-track.
“If at first you don’t succeed,
Try, try, try again.” – William Edward Hickson
With renewed vision I started producing content again in January of 2013. My focus shifted from gaining as many viewers as possible to being the greatest service for those gamers seeking to make true lasting changes. Like Earl Nightengale said, “focus on being of great service to others and money will take care of itself.”
- Focus not on the metrics(views, subscribers, unique visitors, money). Focus instead on being of the greatest service. Focus on doing whatever you do better than anyone else in the world. Focus on serving your customers and clients with all the passion and energy you can muster. Do these things and money will take care of itself.
- Make small improvements every day. The greatest craftsmen in the world started as an unlearned apprentice. Compare my first cooking video to my latest cooking video. Still lots of room for improvement but much better.
- Goals. Set daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. No ship leaves port without a clear destination. Likewise you should not live one day without a clear direction in which you are moving. And if you only take one small step per day you will be surprised at the vast distance you can cover with time.
- Maintain your disciplines. Waking up early, eating well, staying fit. All of these directly impact every other aspect of your life. And like a muscle discipline is strengthened with use and will atrophy with disuse.
If you never start, you’ll never arrive
Today The Healthy Gamer has 11,151 subscribers on Youtube. The website has been visited 1,115,908 times. I get e-mails every week from gamers telling me how Healthy Gamer content has helped them start or get back into a healthy routine.
None of this would have been possible if I hadn’t uploaded those first few videos. How many ideas have you had that you never took action on? What is stopping you?
Don’t let the fear of not being perfect stop you from taking action. Trust me I have gotten loads of hate mail and people telling me that my videos sucked. It’s okay. It’s part of the process. You will never arrive if you never take that first step.
I want to challenge you to take your first step today. Whatever that step may be. Start your own business. Get going with a workout. Start the diet.
And you know what? You will fail. It’s inevitable. But that’s okay! It’s all part of the journey. Cultivate the mindset that failures are nothing more than signs from the universe that you need to try a different approach. Cultivate this mindset and you will be unstoppable!
It truly is amazing how much we can accomplish by taking small action steps every day. You don’t have to be perfect at what you do. Just make make small improvements and you’ll move closer to perfection every day.