I’ve had another week of struggles. The Gwent closed beta sucked me in and I’ve played it for at least 60 hours this week. I have done very little productive work. It’s taken a week to make any headway but I’m finally getting a handle on this round of binge gaming. Today I had a great session in the gym and am now rolling that momentum forward into writing this post and I’ll edit some photos later.
Whenever I binge game I get depressed. I think this has to do with the feeling of hopelessness that the binge brings on. Because when I binge the urge to play a game overwhelms my desire to do anything else. So I see no positive future – only a spiral of life falling apart as I spend my time playing games while ignoring real responsibilities. The hopelessness is realistic in the sense that yes – if I continue to play games for 10+ hours a day my health, my finances, and my future success will all go down the drain. I’ve had many periods like this in my life ranging from a few days to months when I was younger. Each time it’s a horrible feeling of worthlessness mixed with anxiety and fear for what will become of me. This only further fuels the gaming addiction as I use the video games to escape from the terrible things I’m feeling.
Persistence is the trait that has saved my life and allowed me to eventually pull out of each downward spiral. It hasn’t been intelligence, or willpower, or strength. It’s been the ability to withstand whatever is at hand and not quit.
So let me clarify what I mean. I’ve quit lots of things in life. I quit Navy ROTC after only seven weeks. I quit running my gym after it was open for five months. I quit my computer science degree. I’ve quit three different accounting jobs.
What I mean by the phrase “never quit” is to never quit trying. Sometimes things don’t work and you realize you’ve made bad decisions and at that point it makes sense to quit to quit. But with each venture you set out to accomplish something. Don’t quit on that goal. I quit Navy ROTC but later joined the Army National Guard and served for six years as an Infantryman. I quit my gym but have persisted with new business ventures. I quit my computer science degree but received a Masters in Accounting instead. I quit those accounting jobs and hope to god I never have to work as an accountant again.
Sidebar – I wrote quit seven times in the last paragraph and now it looks like a fake misspelled word.
This trait has kept me alive during my worst periods of depression. Because it doesn’t matter how bad it gets there are still things that I want to accomplish in life. So each day I try something. Sometimes all I can manage is maybe a half-hearted gym session but it’s through these small efforts that I eventually pull myself together and feel like a normal human being again.
And I think because I’ve struggled with addiction and depression for so many years it’s developed this trait of persistence. When I was hiking the Appalachian Trail I felt it as an almost physical entity residing withing me. I actually never seriously considered quitting the trail because I felt persistence in my heart. It feels like a warm weight sitting on the upper front of my heart. When things got tough I could feel my persistence residing there and it gave me the strength I needed to continue on.
Another trait that has developed out of my struggles is the willingness to try everything. When I’m at my lowest I’m often desperate for any relief and that leads me to try lots of crazy ideas. It’s how I got into meditation and many other beneficial habits. Last month I completed a challenge of 21 days of cold showers and ice-baths. It sounds like a crazy thing to do but I found it to be a great experience and now have incorporated elements of it into my morning routine that really helps me to kickstart my day.
My struggles have built this habit of trying new things and I think the willingness to try coupled with persistence is the key reason that I’ve found any success in life. I started The Healthy Gamer on a whim because I said “I’m playing a lot of Diablo 3, why not try and make a YouTube video and see how it turns out.” Well how that’s turned out is that’s created a business which has supported me for the last four years. I learned many valuable lessons and skills because I was willing to try.
To conclude this post my message is very simple. Never quit. Try everything. No matter how hard life gets don’t give up on life. Keep striving for your goals. When you’re down get back up. I find great solace in the idea that life is worth living as long as I persist. I don’t have to win fame or fortune or even reach any of my goals. I simply have to keep striving. Because in the end if you fail, at least you failed while daring to live. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. – Teddy Roosevelt