Have you ever asked your boyfriend—or someone else’s boyfriend, or maybe yourself—maybe, even, your girlfriend (though it’s rare), why they like video games so much?
It’s funny: They won’t be able to tell you.
“It’s relaxing,” they might say, but we have seen how upset they get when they play, and we are on to them.
We know it isn’t true.
I’m not a scientist, of course, or an expert on almost anything, but I think I know the real answer: It helps them forget about themselves for a while. It gets them out of the real world, out of the past and the future and even the present—out of the realm of time.
It helps them escape.
And, more than all that:
It gives them a sense of accomplishment.
Movies don’t do that—not most movies, anyway. TV definitely doesn’t. But seeing your points or levels or whatever intangible rewards they give you accrue gives you motivation to continue—quantifiable motivation.
Well, okay, you may be saying. But what does that mean for me?
What it means for you and for all of us is this: the human brain is built to get pleasure from work.
Video games aren’t, essentially, pleasurable. They don’t directly stimulate your brain as eating does, or as exercise. Some video games don’t give pleasure at all—they are what we call “boring.”
What makes a video game fun, then? It’s fun when it’s challenging, and competitive, and creative. In other words:
It’s fun when it feels like work.
And the good news here: Real work can be even better. See, work not only gives me a sense of accomplishment—it gives me actual accomplishment. The better I do it, and the more I do it, the more I get back.
It is predictable, and it doesn’t disappoint.
You can do it for hours on end without guilt, without thinking you should be somewhere else, doing something else.
It is addictive.
Like a good video game, work you love to do can take you out of the real world and out of the realm of real time.
It can help you escape.
And that’s why I recommend getting a job.
But not just any job:
A job that you like.
A job that makes you feel important, and accomplished, and valuable to the world in some way.
It doesn’t have to be your greatest passion in life, or your favorite hobby.
But it should be something you do well.
It should be something you can immerse yourself in fully, something that rewards you with more than money.
Is that too much to ask?
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Get What I Learned from Jane on Amazon.
More Stuff to Read:
Some Spiritual Practices Actually Work. It’s Amazing.
There are hundreds of spiritual techniques for overcoming depression and increasing inner peace. Only one blog talks about whether or not they work. With ratings. (Take that, God.)
- My Favorite Spiritual Practices for Overcoming Depression
- Depression Success Stories and Spiritual Practice Success Stories
I Suspect Inner Peace Is Just a Myth. Here Are Interviews With People Who Disagree.
Some people are such show-offs. But that doesn’t mean they’re not worth listening to.
There’s a Book for That, Too
It’s a great time to get suddenly awesome. So many teachers. So many books.
- Best Spiritual-But-Not-Religious Books for Overcoming Depression
- Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday