Level Up!

I’m sure I’m not the first person to compare life to a video game, but I think the analogy is worth the exploration. Aside from the one possible difference in how many “lives” we have to “beat” the game, the remaining aspects hold parallels that can offer some unique insights into getting through this one journey we each have guaranteed.

Life undoubtedly comes in chapters, each with its own sets of lessons and challenges. We can use those experiences to grow our resilience; we do this by finding and adding new tools to our emotional inventories. When we embrace a growth mentality and seek out the opportunities for self-improvement, we can transform each chapter into a steppingstone toward greater heights.

Fortifying the Spirit

Just like in a video game, we must learn the most effective ways to level up — to strengthen ourselves in preparation for even greater challenges ahead. Few level-1 players are experienced enough at to face the big, final boss and survive. Most need to start small, battling weaker opponents to improve their game before they dare consider tackling anything harder. Without the proper foundation, we can’t expect anything that follows to remain stable for long.

Consider how we must learn basic arithmetic before we can learn algebra, geometry and trigonometry, which are prerequisite for grasping calculus. Many of the skills we need to survive as functioning adults come in steps, and we must practice if we want to use them effectively.

When we become overwhelmed with certain aspects of life, we might actually be attempting to fight monsters that are too formidable for our current level. In whatever area it might be, when we’re feeling ill-equipped to handle it, we might need to consider revisiting the problem once we’ve mastered all of the foundational skills we need for the task. Just like in a video game, we might need to run around aimlessly for a while before we’ve faced enough lower-level encounters to do the trick. It’s all about practicing what we learn and using it to strengthen our character.

Facing All Obstacles

When a formidable new challenge presents, particularly one that demands we use skills we’re still learning, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. Some people might fall into patterns of procrastination or avoidance to protect themselves from the potential battle scars. The approach might feel helpful initially, but it lacks forward movement.

When we allow ourselves to go stagnant, we might as well be putting the game on “pause.” Growth needs trial and error; we cannot learn the most vital of lessons without making a few mistakes. The key is seeking out just enough challenge — just enough discomfort — to keep that forward momentum going.

The world isn’t an easy place to navigate, and each of us can only forge ahead as well as our tools allow. By working to “level up,” we’re practicing the life skills we need to remain steady in the face of even greater hardships. Ultimately, each of us wants to stay in the game as long, and as gracefully, as possible — because when that big boss fight hits, we might only get one shot.

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