Just stop

I remember this incident distinctly from my childhood. I had gone to my uncle’s home and was playing his video game. It was this amazing game of “Road Fighter”. I totally forgot the name of this game and had to google it to get it back now. Just in case if you haven’t heard of this game or forgot about it, here is a small clip from YouTube that might remind you of this super A W E S O M E game.

I was a beginner at video games in general at that time. I played for fun. Of course, I wanted to win. I neither had a strategy nor cared to think about it. I just played again and again with the hope that I would win.

Well, it took quite a few years (or should I say more than a decade) to get this wisdom about hope:

Hope is not a strategy.

– Traditional SRE saying (Google SRE)

haha! poor me.

But I was lucky enough to get some guidance in my video game journey early on. My uncle observed my playing style that day.

I press the joystick buttons like the whole world depended on it. I will never try to slow down the car in Road Fighter. When I hit something, I get more furious and press the joystick buttons crazily - left, right, and center. In simple terms, I would get very real and try to get back on track as quickly as possible. With the same furiousness, I would easily go on to lose the game.

(This is how a crash looks like in road fighter)

When I was facing going through a crash that I mentioned above, my uncle exclaimed:

“Just stop!”

I stopped playing the game and started listening to my uncle. He then told me the thing that would change the way I played video games forever.

“When you crash, don’t freak out and press all the buttons or even the move forward button or the (left/right) button in the hope of canceling out the effect of the crash. Instead, take your hands off the joystick (literally don’t touch any keys) until the car stabilizes back. Then move forward.”

Woah! That was it. I restarted the game and followed this strategy. The result was victory!

This taught me two things:

  • Having a strategy will help you win (even when you face hard times)
  • When something is going wrong, don’t go with it - instead “just stop” for a moment.

Even though I applied those principles while playing video games at that age, I had without my knowledge started applying those principles when I grew up in real life.

Why do I say that now?

Because I stayed up all night last night to “just stop” and think about the things that have been happening recently. Whenever I just stopped, I came back with more clarity and a stronger mindset of getting to where I want.

This is of course not a piece of random advice. It’s the one that helped in winning the games that would have been lost otherwise.

~ ~ ~ ~

So, video games teach a thing or two about life after all. (maybe allow your children to play more?)