Something I’ve only just realized in my decade+ long career as a gamer is the importance of trusting the process.
You see, I’ve been playing increasingly more difficult, high stakes games in an effort to satisfy my curiosity and my need for challenges.
This has led me to play games like Bloodborne, an extremely challenging third-person action-horror game where you explore a city filled with beastmen, alien gods, and fucked up experiments. The game is… punishing to say the least. You will die over and over, to giant bosses slapping the shit out of you, and then be forced to work your way back until you finally see through the enemy’s patterns and take them down with whatever you have at your disposal.
There were some bosses in that game that took me many days to defeat. The final boss of the game’s DLC, The Old Hunters, took me a week. I played for an hour or two every day, until I finally understood its movements and developed the reaction speed to successfully evade and attack it.
I came to a very profound realization about myself, and I suspect this applies to just about everything we face in life: as long as you trust the process, keep showing up to the fight, and reflecting on each encounter, you absolutely WILL get where you’re trying to go.
It might not be as fast as everyone else, or as skillful. But you CAN do it.
I just finished reading a book called The Practicing Mind by Thomas Sterner where he stresses the importance of staying present in whatever your chosen skill or task is, and trusting the process as you move towards your goal. As long as you stay focused and don’t give up, you will improve, you will reach your goal.
It took me reading that to realize… I already knew it. I learned that lesson when I saved up for my epic riding skill and my onyx netherwing drake mount in World of Warcraft. I learned that after I double-looped in Nuclear Throne. I learned that after finally killing the Orphan of Kos in Bloodborne.
I realized the mindset I’d developed towards games that prompts me to find increasingly challenging games was a reflection of that knowledge of process: “As long as I keep playing, I WILL win, eventually”. That belief actually caused me some despair as it briefly stole the thrill of gaming away from me. Why even play if victory is promised?
But after reading The Practicing Mind, and realizing the importance of appreciating the journey, and the process, I see now that I can continue my path as a gamer, by just enjoying the act of gaming itself instead of feeling attached to the result and reaching the ending.
As gamers, we are some of the most persistent, determined, persevering souls to ever walk the planet. Let's own this power that we've fought so hard for, on so many planets and dimensions to earn.
Now, as this new year begins, I’m applying this attitude of process towards everything in my life. My fitness. My love life. My career goals.
I WILL succeed because I’ll always show up to play.
And let's be real. This life is the greatest game of all. :)
-Matthew D. Huff ∞