Invest some XP in yourself

I love videogames.

I played my first game (Tiger Heli 1985) when I was two or three years old and I couldn’t even hazard a guess how many hours of the subsequent 25 years I spent playing videogames.  I’m particularly a fan of games that allow intense customization.  My friends will tell you, I’ve spent at least as much time creating characters in Fallout 3 as playing them.

If I spend two hours choosing my complexion can I still pick a Chaotic alignment?

A common trope in my favorite games is earning and investing XP.  You spend enough time stabbing rats with your Silver Fork of ratstabbing and you earn enough XP to become a master ratstabber with all the attendant rank and privileges.  (Probably the opportunity to stab bigger rats.)

Therin lies the rub.  According to Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, (Listen to him talk about it on RadioLab) 10,000 hours is how long it takes to become an expert at a given activity.  It hurts sometimes when I consider the hours  spent playing games that weren’t worth the time I invested in them.

Think of an hour as 1 XP.  You need 10,000 XP to become an expert at something.  If you are like me, and want to start living the adventures you fantasized about as a kid, then you need to invest that XP in yourself.  Take a surfing lesson.  Save money for a kayak trip down the Amazon.  Learn Japanese.

As you do, I bet you’ll find that it’s the act of investing the time which brings the greatest reward.  You enrich yourself with memories as well as abilities.  Do you remember the last time you reminisced about playing a videogame? I don’t.

But I sure as hell think about riding my bike across the U.S. all the time.

We founded Level Up Adventures to create opportunities to do the things that most people only see on a TV screen.  Training will be difficult, you’ll push your physical and mental limits, but the XP is worth it.

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