I’ve learned a lot about myself and the people around me by playing (or watching them play) games that are competitive. How you handle yourself in something as insignificant as playing a video game or a game of ping pong can tell you a lot about your strengths and weaknesses. Think of a time where you were playing a game in which you were truly competing. Then, ask yourself some of these questions:
- Do I lose focus while I’m winning?
- Do I stop trying when I start losing?
- Do I make a game-plan or do I just wing it?
- Do I let my actions speak for my words?
- When losing, do I start to think about “next time” or do I keep focused?
- If I lose, do I make excuses or think about what I can improve on?
- If I win, do I still think about what I can improve on?
How you answer these questions can reveal to you your strengths, and more importantly, your weaknesses. You may be thinking “Who cares about how I handle myself in a game? Its just a game.” Yeah, it’s just a game. It could mean nothing. But at the same time, your answer could be revealing a weakness you’re currently unaware of (or refuse to admit). Let me use one of the questions above to help demonstrate my point:
Example Question: If I lose, do I make excuses or think about what I can improve on?
Example Answer: I make excuses.
Real Life Translation: If you can’t own up to your faults in something as insignificant as a video game, you’re probably never going to admit to faults you have in something that actually matters (like your career).
I discovered this technique of analyzing myself through playing the popular video game: Madden (NFL Football). One of the weakness I discovered was that I would tend to lose focus when I was winning by a big margin. Meaning, I would go up a couple of touchdowns against my opponent, but once I felt comfortable I stopped following my game plan. The result was I ended up losing a lot games that I should have easily won.
As much as I hate losing in Madden, that’s not where this weakness really hurt me. It hurt me in a way much worse: it cost me money! Basically, whenever I ran low on money I would work hard to make money. Then, after all that hard work paid off (literally) I felt comfortable with my financial situation and stopped working as hard. And before I knew it, I was back in the same situation I began in. To put it another way: I would lose focus. The weakness I had in a video game effected me in the game of money.
Luckily, I was able to spot this weakness I had in Madden and realized that I was doing almost the exact same thing in real life. Not only did I fix it in real life, I have made it a point to keep focused when playing Madden as well. I do this because I want to build the habit of always keeping focused, and always trying my best. Analyze your habits while playing your favorite game and see if you can spot any weaknesses. If you don’t find anything, it wont be a waste of time cause you’re having fun anyways.