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Gaming the System 006 - James' First 30 Days As a Digital Nomad in Thailand!

seriousjay

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About seriousjay

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  1. Hey guys, I think it's time I do my one year anniversary post. First of all, I want to say a big thank you and shout out to the people on Game Quitters that have stuck with me through this journey so far. @AlexTheGrape (you still alive bro??? haha), @fawn_xoxo, @JustTom and everyone else who lent a helping hand in my journal and other areas of the forum. And of course to @Cam Adair for making this all possible in the first place. You guys all rock! Never let anyone tell you otherwise, including yourselves. 🙂 Now I'm not one for much small talk so I'll get right to the insights that I've gleaned from my journey so far: 1. I have a hard time pinpointing the most important or vital thing that has helped me get to where I am so I'll just say this: every little thing you do in the right direction helps, no matter how minuscule. Journaling, helping others out on the forum, that one time you chose a banana over a cookie, etc. It may not seem like it in the moment, but keep in mind that your life today is the cumulative effect of every single decision you've made in your entire life. Think of your life as a scale with two sides. On one side, you have all the "bad" choices and attitudes you've made in your life that have led you to drown out your sorrows in video games. On the other side, there are all the "good" choices you've made that work to counter the "bad" ones. You might look at your own personal scale and wonder how on earth you'll ever make enough good choices to completely negate the effects of the bad ones. Here's the good news: my experience suggests that good choices, applied consistently over time, start to have a compounding effect (the meta-physical phenomenon called momentum, Newton's first law of physics, what have you). Put another way, the good choices make it much easier to make that good choice the next time, and so on. ACTION STEP: I would encourage everyone to identify an area where it's really easy for you to make good choices instead of bad ones, and plan to do that for at least a week. What you may find is that by making those good choices in that area, it's easier to make good choices in totally unrelated areas, and after a week you may actually find that you'd rather make the good choices than the bad ones! 2. Plan to fail, especially if you're early in your journey. I started this entire thing long before I made my initial journal entry on October 30th, 2015. I don't remember the exact date but it was some time in 2012 or 2013 that I realized I needed to change the way my life was headed. Long story short, I quit and went back to video games maybe 5 or 6 times before everything finally clicked in August of last year. My biggest issue, and something I still struggle with today is that I was really bad at planning and scheduling. Most often I would just wing most days. When I did try to plan out my weeks, I would either be completely unmotivated to actually do anything I planned, or I'd only go half way, or I'd do it for a week and then burn out and end up where I started. I don't know if there's an easy answer to this issue, but I do believe planning is a skill that can be developed, and I've recently discovered a way that has worked for me for a few weeks now. Additionally, the more you work at planning, the easier it'll be and the better at it you'll get. You'll eventually find a way that works for you that you will stick with. It's so important to plan out how you're going to spend your time because if you don't, it's just way too easy to fall back into old habits. Additionally, especially if you're new, have a plan to get yourself back on track after a relapse. I cannot stress this enough. The vast majority of the time that was "wasted" for me during my journey was mired in relapse, and I didn't have a plan to get myself back on track. I would just wait until something happened or things got bad enough that I decided to attempt to quit video games again. ACTION STEP: If you're struggling with relapse, plan out a way to get back on track. I unfortunately don't have good insights into how to do this so I'm hoping others can offer some good advice. Additionally, plan out how you're going to spend your time. Make it as easy as you need to make it. It's much better to say you'll go for a walk for two minutes a day, and then actually do it every day, instead of saying you'll walk for 30 minutes a day and sit at home. You might need to start out with something as simple as I'll read a book for 5 minutes every day, and that's it. Be honest with yourself and what you can accomplish. You might need to swallow some pride here but at least you'll get started on the right path. 3. As a bit of an extension of the above, make things that you want to do or try as easy as you need to make them so that you'll actually go out and do them. If you want to become a writer, you may need to settle for just writing 100 words a day, or a week. Slowly you'll build up that habit over time and you'll be able to do more and more as you go on. ACTION STEP: Figure out some things that you'd like to try and plan out a way to get started on them. Make it as easy as you need to make them, even if you have to make it so easy that the only way to fail is to do nothing at all. This is honestly really important because you need to fill that void video games has left with other hobbies and activities to keep you occupied, and more importantly, to begin living your life with purpose. 4. If you fail, don't be hard on yourself. There is research to prove that being hard on yourself when you fail actually makes it more likely that you'll fail again the next time. Practice self-compassion during times of weakness. If you choose that cookie instead of the banana, say to yourself "It's OK, everyone stumbles from time to time, I'll do better next time". ACTION STEP: Really short section but I cannot stress the critical importance of self-compassion. Think about things that you are likely to fail at, especially if you tend to be hard on yourself after that failure. Reframe the failure in a compassionate way and see if that helps you to make a better decision next time. 5. Practice gratitude and self-love. Every morning after my routine I lay in my bed and say out loud 3 things I'm grateful for and 3 things about myself that are awesome. This doesn't seem like much but it goes hand in hand with point 1. Even if you think you're the worst person in the world, you should be able to find some things about yourself that are good and that you're grateful for. Even if it's as basic as the fact that you're a living, breathing human. You can also google things to be grateful for if you're struggling to think of something. Hint: it can be something completely innocuous like the tree growing in your lawn. The point of this isn't the thing that's awesome or that you're grateful for, but sitting down and actually doing it. It forces your brain to think in different, more compassionate, self-loving terms. Slowly over time you should find it gets easier and easier to think of things to be grateful for. ACTION STEP: Find a time of day to practice gratitude and use the "law of least effort" principle. If you can only manage to spend 10 seconds to say you're grateful for the roof over your head, that's fine. Make it as easy as you need to make it so that you'll actually do it. Additionally, and this is really important, when you have negative thoughts you feel you have no control over, reframe those thoughts in a positive way. "I'm not good enough" can become "I'm taking steps to improve the aspects of my life that need work". When you do this, it softens your inner critic and creates space for compassion and self-love. Everything begins with the way you think about yourself and the world. This is another one of those things where you'll need to be really consistent about it to see results but it does work. 6. Read The Willpower Instinct and The Power of Habit. Seriously, these books should be required reading in school as soon as students understand what willpower and habits are. 7. Last but not least - know that you are capable of gaining control of what's going on in your head. That you have the responsibility of taking control of what's going on in your head. If you look for things to blame outside of yourself then it lets you off the hook. Even if it's true that everything bad in your life is someone else's fault, that doesn't change the fact that it's up to YOU and nobody else to fix it. Nobody is going to do it for you and you have to start taking the steps to make the changes that you want to see happen. ----- Your mindset is such a huge part of your success in life. Everything begins in your head. If you think you can do something, then you'll figure out ways to make it happen. If you don't think you can do something, then you'll find every excuse as to why. This principle applies to just about every area of life. It's a tough journey to change the way you think but it's the most important thing you can do for yourself in my opinion. Hope this helps you guys. 🙂
  2. It's simple, really. Create a mail account on any free webmail service. I suggest https://www.mail.com/int/ When creating the password, use a random password generator such as http://www.thebitmill.com/tools/password.html Now here's the trick. First, create a random password using the tool above and change your Steam account to that password. Make sure it's something long that you'll never be able to guess. Then, create a new e-mail account using that same password, and switch the e-mail address on the steam account to that e-mail address. Log out of both Steam and the e-mail account. If necessary, delete any saves logins to Steam and that e-mail account. Voila, you've just deleted your Steam account. 🙂
  3. GirlsChase is not really PUA material. In fact, and I may be wrong, but Chase (the site's creator) actually discourages traditional PUA techniques. The science behind his ideas is actually presented in the OneDate course, which again is not a PUA course. It's a structured approach that helps you go from nothing to getting a date to taking a girl to bed to retaining her after sex. Essentially he pored over years of research conducted by people (everything is cited in the course, FYI) to inform his advice. He goes over things like how to approach a woman, which types of approaches work and which don't, how to keep your conversation from hitting a dead end, what to do when certain things happen, etc. To be completely clear, literally everything he talks about can be and eventually is learned from simply going out and meeting women. You pick up what works and what doesn't through experience, and much of what he teaches eventually does become second nature. It's just that many men don't necessarily realize why what they do isn't working and it may take them years to figure it out. The course simply takes all the mystery and guesswork out of it. It's entirely possible that you already know everything he has to say, and that's great for you if that's the case. 🙂 Many men out there aren't so lucky, including myself. What I've gotten out of it so far is more confidence that I can successfully steer a date in the right direction and that I can more quickly identify what I'm doing wrong and how to fix it. My dating game has gotten better very fast just from arming myself with the knowledge he provides. To be completely clear though, his material is largely geared towards getting girls into bed as soon as possible, which he claims is the key to keeping her around as a girlfriend, or as a friend with benefits or whatever else you might want. It uses a scientific approach to create attraction between yourself and a girl and while she may feel attraction for you, it's entirely possible that you don't feel much for her. I would even argue that it borders on psychological exploitation personally since it tasks men with taking advantage of the things most women crave to see from men. It's all still just a different kind of dating advice and like with all advice, your mileage may vary and it's up to the individual to decide what's useful and what isn't. I am personally a virgin and have never really had what I'd describe as a real romantic relationship in my life and if the next girl I do have a relationship with is the only one, I would be quite satisfied with that. So in that sense, techniques to get as many women into bed as possible aren't that useful to me. Identifying the traits that women look for in a man and that are seen as attractive and how to improve them (stuff he goes over) are very useful to me and where I've found the most value in the course. Additionally, I really don't care much for the mystery aspect and figuring it out for myself because I just don't have time for that. Sorry for the long winded response but I do hope it helped to clarify some things!
  4. Hmm... not sure where else to put this and I see that the subforum is gone as well. I'm looking for an accountability partner. Ideally someone who has quit games for >6 months and lives in eastern time zone. No gender or age preference. Keeping a positive mindset is also important. I'd prefer to work with someone who tries to figure out how to do better next time as opposed to focusing on how badly they failed. Doing voice chats over Skype or something would be preferable. I'm just at a point where I've realized I need some help to work on certain things and am hoping to be helpful to someone else as well. If you're interested just shoot me a PM!
  5. Check out https://www.girlschase.com/ There are many great articles on there backed up by science. If you want the streamlined version of all the information there is a OneDate course that takes you step by step on how to get better with girls. I bought the OneDate course myself and found a lot of useful information. Hey how did you approach your girl at the gym? I've been thinking about this myself but literally everyone except me is listening to their music and focusing on their workout. I feel like if I interrupt someone to talk to them it'll be annoying and I won't necessarily get a warm reception.
  6. Yep although my knowledge is about 10 years out of date! 😄 Apparently enough people quit over nerfs to skills that they ended up throwing answers to things like that when you quit the game. Hilarious, really.
  7. 1) I noticed this too. I think it's because everything is greatly sped up in video games. Days are much shorter, there's none of the boring day-to-day stuff in between exciting events, relationships develop over a matter of hours instead of months or years, etc. The further removed you become from games the less this will impact you. I know I've seen my patience improve substantially. 2) The point of quitting games isn't to quit them, but rather to replace them with habits that lead to a more productive life. If you quit games for 90 days and do nothing to change your day-to-day, odds are you'll just go back to games after 90 days. I can't speak to anything about dopamine receptors or anything like that but the 90 days was never about that, to me. Also, I think cravings sort of work on a bell curve kind of thing. They'll go down over time but you'll still have those peaks of intense cravings from time to time. For me about 6 or 8 months in I ended up spending a month on Terraria before putting it back down. It does get better over time, I can vouch for that!
  8. Lol try quitting World of Warcraft. They pull out all the stops, including crying orcs and a massive list of popular reasons why people have quit in the past and answers to them. I've heard Blizzard hired psychologists to make WoW as addicting as possible.
  9. So the other day it fully sunk in for me how important self-love is when it comes to just about everything. I've been hearing about it a lot over the past year or so, but now I'm actually starting to intentionally live it. It makes it so much easier to deny temptations and other things that don't serve me when I'm framing that denial as an act of self-love. I'm also finding my inner critic has a lot less power over me as well.
  10. Nothing. Like you say James, last year me wouldn't have listened anyway. I go by a very simple adage: I did the best I could with what I knew at the time. If I knew better, I would have done better. I also wouldn't change a thing about what's happened thus far. Everything that's happened up to this point has turned me into the person I am today, and I really like that person.
  11. I can totally relate to this. It's called your negative self critic. Seems like yours has a pretty firm grasp on your mind. Try meditation, practicing gratitude, listening to positive and uplifting music, find people that uplift and support you, etc. Basically, just surround yourself with as much positivity and encouragement as you can. Find things that make you feel good about yourself, like people, hobbies, etc. Good luck! We're here to help. 🙂
  12. So after a few days of practicing gratitude twice a day with just whatever comes to mind, I think I'm really starting to see some benefits. For some reason practicing verbally instead of noting it in my journal is making a big difference.
  13. Thanks for your comment. I pretty much came to the same conclusions. Just keep working at it and continue putting distance between my current self and my gaming past.
  14. Yesterday, I came to the realization that I'm really not a very grateful person at all. I was driving to my mom's house and it dawned on me that I really do have a lot to be grateful for, but because there are things that I want and don't have, it isn't enough. I get the sense that if I continue along this path, there is no amount of anything that could satisfy me. This was hammered home when I got to my mom's house and looked up "how to be grateful for the things you have" on google. There were a bunch of lists of things to be grateful for, and I clicked one of the links. When I started reading the list, there were so many items that definitely applied to me but never even occurred to me to be grateful for. So I'm really going to take gratitude practice to heart. I'm going to take a few minutes each morning and evening to appreciate the things I have in my life, and when I get stressed out or things start going somewhat awry during the day, I'm going to try to remind myself that even though some things aren't going the way I want at that moment, there are still plenty of things I can be happy about.
  15. I've been mostly clean of games for about 9 months now and the "Now what?" question still haunts me from time to time! I have days where I question the path that I've decided to take since quitting, and I won't know if it's the right one for sure until I see some real progress, I think. The beauty of it is though that YOU get to decide what to do with your time. No one else. I used to believe that we all have some kind of "calling" or something we're "meant to do", but I've realized that what we're meant to do is nothing more than what we go out and do. Just find things that you like and do them, and just see what happens. Just remember not to put any limitations on what you think you're capable of. For every 1000 or 10000 people who believe a successful person got lucky, or just "has it", or whatever, there was that 1 person who discovered a strategy to achieve that success and implemented it with hard work. Literally anything and everything can be learned and mastered - it's up to you what you want to do!
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