What Being a Gamer Taught Me About Balance and Recharge

David Schmeikal Entrepreneurship

My name is David, I am the Brand Alchemist for the Rivitt Collective. I bridge the intersection between people, ideas and technology and believe that without a willingness to build real relationships, you’re missing out on a critical resource, Trust.

I am also the Collective’s resident Jedi and I play in all sorts of digital worlds. I am a gamer and practice the art of failing hard and failing often. You might consider me a professional failure, allow me to explain.

It has been noted that “fun” video games depend largely on their effectiveness to teach their  players to succeed on a set of tasks that are initially quite difficult. Essentially, game designers need to ensure players fail – which is why I am a professional failure.

I love to fail… at least in the virtual worlds. In the “game” of real life, I grapple with how to manage the constant failing and why I should even both to keep trying.

It’s ironic on the best of days.

So why is the contrast so different between the real and virtual worlds?

A Little About Me Before We Get Into It

I was introduced to video games by my grandfather funny enough – he is now in his 80’s.

He gave us our first computer, a Commodore 64 and he had Amiga 500’s at his home, which we played on whenever my brothers and I spent time with them during our summer holidays.

Back then, this was considered the high end of the gaming experience.

Gaming was very social and it brought me closer to my brothers. I have my grandfather to thank for that as he was definitely one of my biggest technology influencers growing up.

I found that gaming was a casual experience for me growing up. It was something I did when I wanted to be entertained or was looking for a change of pace.

Creating Relationships and Building Community is Easy…Isn’t It?

When I was in my early 20’s, I helped run a number of online gaming forums and gaming guilds. I had the notion that I was an introvert. This was my first introduction to the broader community of gamers.

I eventually found my way into the richly immersed worlds of MMO’s and RPG’s like World of Warcraft, Dark Souls and Black Desert Online.

You could play on your own but the biggest difference was made when you joined a guild or clan, some of which held hundreds of players inside a world of tens of millions.

The friendships created there were unique and despite most of us living thousands of kilometres from each other, we had created a strong culture of support and connection amongst the group.

Whenever someone needed something, you made a request. And if you had the capacity to help, you would. It made you feel good to be part of something seemingly bigger than yourself, even if it “wasn’t real”.

The Parallel to Real Life: Resources and Energy

In a game, you have an interface that lets you know how much of what resource you have left. It’s in that high level picture that has the management of these stats work so well.

The mechanics of most games are setup to gradually build up these reserves. I see this having a number of applications  and I’ll use an example to illustrate:

In Black Desert Online, you have two specific stats that are critical to understand as you begin to play the game:

  1. CP (Contribution Points) is a point based currency you acquire when you quest in the game. They are a finite resource for you to invest back into the game. They are awarded when you help others in the game and move the story line forward.
  2. Energy is the second resource available to a player. You increase your energy pool over time as you uncover more knowledge about the game. What’s different is that as you expend energy, you regenerate and can use it over again.

Energy allows you to build on your in game knowledge base, improve your relationships with the in game characters, gather resources and contract workers to make some money – just to name a few. All essential tasks to progress your character forward in the digital world.

From my experience, that common functionality appears to be missing for us in the real world. I often find myself thinking that I have an unlimited pool of resources and energy in my life.

I am spending like a won the lottery and when I get to the last drop, I am left feeling confused, frustrated and tapped out.

The Real World Stats: TEA (Time, Energy and Attention)

Playing Black Desert began to bring the parallels out in front of me using entertainment as its medium. I started looking at what I had available to me personally and what I do with these resources in real life.

Time: This is such a finite resource, so I am looking at what I am doing that is not worth the time, to make more available for the things that are really important for me in my life.

Energy: Like the game I have only so much energy at my disposal. However I can increase my energy pool and it regenerates over time. So what do I do to increase my available energy levels (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual)?

Attention: This is a unique stat to the game that is real life. I also believe this one to be a finite resource as well. So I am looking at what I’m naturally drawn to that really engages me. As well as what is distracting me and causing me to continually shift my focus.

So if these are the stats available to me, what am I doing to optimize my real life gaming experience?

As an entrepreneur, I have it most of the time that I gotta “Hustle” and “Grind”. And it is true those are important. Hell, there is a grind in every RPG/MMO game too.

But if you focus too much on the grind you burn out and lose interest.

What I Love About Games

Maybe you feel like you have very little control over what goes on in real life when you look at the bigger picture. However, games are specifically built to empower you with agency and control. An answer to a deeply ingrained and primal need.

So what happens in real life when you allow yourself to be immersed into a world where you can fulfill on those primal needs?

For me, I get recharged, amped up and ready to take on what it is that I am committed to work towards in my business and in my life. It recreates the many adventures of the real world around me.

Games inspire. There are no limits to the imagination other than the ones you set. The world of games can immerse you into our own history or propel you ahead. They take you to outrageous places you would only ever find in the movies or in your dreams.

They entertain you. The worlds are rich and have amazing stories that you get to be a part of.

Gaming’s Ability to Entertain and Inspire, Recharge and Rewire

Some say that gamers have increased perceptual and cognitive abilities: from improvements to basic visual processes, attention and vigilance (the action or state of keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties) to reduced impulsiveness and the ability to overcome dyslexia.

Overall games are designed to let you learn, develop and excel. But this post is not about the overwhelming evidence of the impact video games have on society.

There is a crux to this vast and open creative world. It either looks like an unwillingness to explore new things or we absorb ourselves too deeply into one thing – a typical human reaction.

I am guilty of this (like most of us humans). It shows up sometimes as binge gaming (with awesomely sophisticated justifications in doing so) or an unwillingness to try other games, that anything else just doesn’t “do it for me” like ‘x’.

You could replace anything with games and the output would be the same.

When I structure a gaming session grounded with the intention to decompress for a short time, I am naturally creating an environment where my attention is light yet focused.

This removes any expectations that I would normally setup with (that it needs to go a certain way). It keeps things interesting and actually has me more present to the nuances of the game that might normally have gone unnoticed.

I am filling up my Attention reserves and it shows after I turn off the game and engage in the next activity. If the game I was currently playing had a big focus on tactical development and execution, I find myself laser-focused and bringing those warmed up tactical resources in to my real life problem solving.

If it was a slower pace and more about focusing on building up a crafting profession in game, that energy would show up as a deep attention in whatever I chose to focus on after my session. The fast paced survival modes amp me up and put me in a high energy mode. Perfect for when I go to the gym.

The Impact When You Are Not In Balance

When I binge play, I set myself up to fail. It is often covert and doesn’t show up right away. The cycle usually begins with one of those awesomely, sophisticated justifications like “Well I haven’t had a chance to play in like two weeks so I’m allowed to make it up….”

Any planning (and I do a lot of that – just ask my wife) takes a back burner as I am now only interested in the dopamine hit of the next win, challenge or scary situation to deal with.

This actually takes away some of the magic of the accidental surprises in gaming because I am too focused on getting ahead in the game as far as I can.

Despite the significant time played on a binge session, I find myself at times feeling incomplete, distracted more anxious afterwards.

Think about when this has happened in your life. When have you just decided (usually a reaction to something uncomfortable) to do something (maybe taking in a movie, watching an episode of your favourite series, or socializing) but your heart and gut wasn’t aligned with it?

How much of a negative impact did it have?

Now think of the time when doing that thing felt energizing and “good”. What was different?

Key Takeaways

When we are clear why we do what we do on a level deeper than entertainment, we allow the actions and choices more space to do more for us, in balance.

What’s that thing you love doing?

Maybe gaming isn’t your thing and that’s totally OK, It’s not for everyone. The point of this post was to provide a better understanding of what drive those of us to game, what drives me to game and to open up ways to look at how we allow entertainment to take up time in our world.

Games continue to become more immersive, more challenging and more rewarding. They are evolving and empowering us to think about conflict, motivation and failure differently.

Our heroes are more relatable now, more than ever. They are flawed and emotional, intelligent and complicated. Their losses and wins become our losses and our wins. Their curiosity about life becomes our own.

They have become worthwhile experiences that we take back with us in the “real” world and can be applied to whatever it is that’s relevant for us in the moment. They inspire us to look at what’s possible for our future, what’s needed that might be missing and to actually do something about it.

It sources us and motivates us and creates a clear pathway to travel.

We live in incredible times, it’s not perfect, and that’s what has each of us aspire to take that thing on and make a difference.  

As business owners and entrepreneurs there are a lot of  “rules” that tell us that spending time on anything but your objective is seen as wasteful and not an effective use of time.

Yet what we do in our downtime has a direct affect on the success of those things we’re up to in life. How do you manage your own TEA time? What sort of activities do you make time for that allow you to recharge and is it in balance?

Curious to hear what some of things are that you do, so post them in the comments below!


About the Author

David Schmeikal

Twitter

The Brand Alchemist - David Schmeikal is head of operations and chief bridge builder for Rivitt Collective. As the resident Digital Jedi, he guides clients through the journey of uncovering what is so unique about who they are and why they do what they do and shows them how to express that in the market so they are heard and understood.

Share this Post

My name is David, I am the Brand Alchemist for the Rivitt Collective. I bridge the intersection between people, ideas and technology and believe that without a willingness to build real relationships, you’re missing out on a critical resource, Trust.

I am also the Collective’s resident Jedi and I play in all sorts of digital worlds. I am a gamer and practice the art of failing hard and failing often. You might consider me a professional failure, allow me to explain.

It has been noted that “fun” video games depend largely on their effectiveness to teach their  players to succeed on a set of tasks that are initially quite difficult. Essentially, game designers need to ensure players fail – which is why I am a professional failure.

I love to fail… at least in the virtual worlds. In the “game” of real life, I grapple with how to manage the constant failing and why I should even both to keep trying.

It’s ironic on the best of days.

So why is the contrast so different between the real and virtual worlds?

A Little About Me Before We Get Into It

I was introduced to video games by my grandfather funny enough – he is now in his 80’s.

He gave us our first computer, a Commodore 64 and he had Amiga 500’s at his home, which we played on whenever my brothers and I spent time with them during our summer holidays.

Back then, this was considered the high end of the gaming experience.

Gaming was very social and it brought me closer to my brothers. I have my grandfather to thank for that as he was definitely one of my biggest technology influencers growing up.

I found that gaming was a casual experience for me growing up. It was something I did when I wanted to be entertained or was looking for a change of pace.

Creating Relationships and Building Community is Easy…Isn’t It?

When I was in my early 20’s, I helped run a number of online gaming forums and gaming guilds. I had the notion that I was an introvert. This was my first introduction to the broader community of gamers.

I eventually found my way into the richly immersed worlds of MMO’s and RPG’s like World of Warcraft, Dark Souls and Black Desert Online.

You could play on your own but the biggest difference was made when you joined a guild or clan, some of which held hundreds of players inside a world of tens of millions.

The friendships created there were unique and despite most of us living thousands of kilometres from each other, we had created a strong culture of support and connection amongst the group.

Whenever someone needed something, you made a request. And if you had the capacity to help, you would. It made you feel good to be part of something seemingly bigger than yourself, even if it “wasn’t real”.

The Parallel to Real Life: Resources and Energy

In a game, you have an interface that lets you know how much of what resource you have left. It’s in that high level picture that has the management of these stats work so well.

The mechanics of most games are setup to gradually build up these reserves. I see this having a number of applications  and I’ll use an example to illustrate:

In Black Desert Online, you have two specific stats that are critical to understand as you begin to play the game:

  1. CP (Contribution Points) is a point based currency you acquire when you quest in the game. They are a finite resource for you to invest back into the game. They are awarded when you help others in the game and move the story line forward.
  2. Energy is the second resource available to a player. You increase your energy pool over time as you uncover more knowledge about the game. What’s different is that as you expend energy, you regenerate and can use it over again.

Energy allows you to build on your in game knowledge base, improve your relationships with the in game characters, gather resources and contract workers to make some money – just to name a few. All essential tasks to progress your character forward in the digital world.

From my experience, that common functionality appears to be missing for us in the real world. I often find myself thinking that I have an unlimited pool of resources and energy in my life.

I am spending like a won the lottery and when I get to the last drop, I am left feeling confused, frustrated and tapped out.

The Real World Stats: TEA (Time, Energy and Attention)

Playing Black Desert began to bring the parallels out in front of me using entertainment as its medium. I started looking at what I had available to me personally and what I do with these resources in real life.

Time: This is such a finite resource, so I am looking at what I am doing that is not worth the time, to make more available for the things that are really important for me in my life.

Energy: Like the game I have only so much energy at my disposal. However I can increase my energy pool and it regenerates over time. So what do I do to increase my available energy levels (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual)?

Attention: This is a unique stat to the game that is real life. I also believe this one to be a finite resource as well. So I am looking at what I’m naturally drawn to that really engages me. As well as what is distracting me and causing me to continually shift my focus.

So if these are the stats available to me, what am I doing to optimize my real life gaming experience?

As an entrepreneur, I have it most of the time that I gotta “Hustle” and “Grind”. And it is true those are important. Hell, there is a grind in every RPG/MMO game too.

But if you focus too much on the grind you burn out and lose interest.

What I Love About Games

Maybe you feel like you have very little control over what goes on in real life when you look at the bigger picture. However, games are specifically built to empower you with agency and control. An answer to a deeply ingrained and primal need.

So what happens in real life when you allow yourself to be immersed into a world where you can fulfill on those primal needs?

For me, I get recharged, amped up and ready to take on what it is that I am committed to work towards in my business and in my life. It recreates the many adventures of the real world around me.

Games inspire. There are no limits to the imagination other than the ones you set. The world of games can immerse you into our own history or propel you ahead. They take you to outrageous places you would only ever find in the movies or in your dreams.

They entertain you. The worlds are rich and have amazing stories that you get to be a part of.

Gaming’s Ability to Entertain and Inspire, Recharge and Rewire

Some say that gamers have increased perceptual and cognitive abilities: from improvements to basic visual processes, attention and vigilance (the action or state of keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties) to reduced impulsiveness and the ability to overcome dyslexia.

Overall games are designed to let you learn, develop and excel. But this post is not about the overwhelming evidence of the impact video games have on society.

There is a crux to this vast and open creative world. It either looks like an unwillingness to explore new things or we absorb ourselves too deeply into one thing – a typical human reaction.

I am guilty of this (like most of us humans). It shows up sometimes as binge gaming (with awesomely sophisticated justifications in doing so) or an unwillingness to try other games, that anything else just doesn’t “do it for me” like ‘x’.

You could replace anything with games and the output would be the same.

When I structure a gaming session grounded with the intention to decompress for a short time, I am naturally creating an environment where my attention is light yet focused.

This removes any expectations that I would normally setup with (that it needs to go a certain way). It keeps things interesting and actually has me more present to the nuances of the game that might normally have gone unnoticed.

I am filling up my Attention reserves and it shows after I turn off the game and engage in the next activity. If the game I was currently playing had a big focus on tactical development and execution, I find myself laser-focused and bringing those warmed up tactical resources in to my real life problem solving.

If it was a slower pace and more about focusing on building up a crafting profession in game, that energy would show up as a deep attention in whatever I chose to focus on after my session. The fast paced survival modes amp me up and put me in a high energy mode. Perfect for when I go to the gym.

The Impact When You Are Not In Balance

When I binge play, I set myself up to fail. It is often covert and doesn’t show up right away. The cycle usually begins with one of those awesomely, sophisticated justifications like “Well I haven’t had a chance to play in like two weeks so I’m allowed to make it up….”

Any planning (and I do a lot of that – just ask my wife) takes a back burner as I am now only interested in the dopamine hit of the next win, challenge or scary situation to deal with.

This actually takes away some of the magic of the accidental surprises in gaming because I am too focused on getting ahead in the game as far as I can.

Despite the significant time played on a binge session, I find myself at times feeling incomplete, distracted more anxious afterwards.

Think about when this has happened in your life. When have you just decided (usually a reaction to something uncomfortable) to do something (maybe taking in a movie, watching an episode of your favourite series, or socializing) but your heart and gut wasn’t aligned with it?

How much of a negative impact did it have?

Now think of the time when doing that thing felt energizing and “good”. What was different?

Key Takeaways

When we are clear why we do what we do on a level deeper than entertainment, we allow the actions and choices more space to do more for us, in balance.

What’s that thing you love doing?

Maybe gaming isn’t your thing and that’s totally OK, It’s not for everyone. The point of this post was to provide a better understanding of what drive those of us to game, what drives me to game and to open up ways to look at how we allow entertainment to take up time in our world.

Games continue to become more immersive, more challenging and more rewarding. They are evolving and empowering us to think about conflict, motivation and failure differently.

Our heroes are more relatable now, more than ever. They are flawed and emotional, intelligent and complicated. Their losses and wins become our losses and our wins. Their curiosity about life becomes our own.

They have become worthwhile experiences that we take back with us in the “real” world and can be applied to whatever it is that’s relevant for us in the moment. They inspire us to look at what’s possible for our future, what’s needed that might be missing and to actually do something about it.

It sources us and motivates us and creates a clear pathway to travel.

We live in incredible times, it’s not perfect, and that’s what has each of us aspire to take that thing on and make a difference.  

As business owners and entrepreneurs there are a lot of  “rules” that tell us that spending time on anything but your objective is seen as wasteful and not an effective use of time.

Yet what we do in our downtime has a direct affect on the success of those things we’re up to in life. How do you manage your own TEA time? What sort of activities do you make time for that allow you to recharge and is it in balance?

Curious to hear what some of things are that you do, so post them in the comments below!


About the Author

David Schmeikal

Twitter

The Brand Alchemist - David Schmeikal is head of operations and chief bridge builder for Rivitt Collective. As the resident Digital Jedi, he guides clients through the journey of uncovering what is so unique about who they are and why they do what they do and shows them how to express that in the market so they are heard and understood.

Share this Post