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kortheo

My Journal - Travis

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Day 1

A week ago, I found this website. Three days ago, I started reading The Slight Edge. Yesterday, I posted in the introductions section. Today, I'm starting this journal.

Too frequently I don't participate is online communities. I just lurk. It's like being a part of something without having to do any work, or make yourself vulnerable to criticism. But it's also kind of crazy, and a pretty 21st century phenomenon. You would never be in a group of friends or any other community in life and be silent the entire time, where you didn't contribute at all. So, lurking is a habit I plan to break here. I think this is a great community, and I want to contribute to it.

I haven't yet committed to 'never playing video games again'. That feels intense, and I think I need more time to come around to that. But I will commit to a 90 day detox, right here and now. I'm curious what effect it will have on my life. I'll see where that takes me and then decide where I want to go from there. Maybe after 90 days I'll be ready to quit for good.

Part of why I'm here is that I spent the past two weeks totally obsessed with a game. Those of you who have never played it may not understand why I would be obsessed with a 15 year old game, but I was - Baldur's Gate 2. It's a CRPG - fantasy themed, very challenging, great characters, great story, great voice acting. In sum, both immersive and challenging, and with a very clear sense of progression and achievement. For whatever reason, the MMORPGs that most people get addicted to never quite clicked for me, but these sorts of games always did. In any case, I love the sense of challenge that a game like that gives. The way the game is, you frequently have to reload and try battles over and over again, until you get your tactics and strategy just right. I also love the sense of immersion it provides. I guess that combination provides a great way of escaping from your real life and giving you the feeling that you're accomplishing something, when you... aren't, in any real way, anyway.

After playing 70 hours in just under 2 weeks, it began to dawn on me that this game was pretty much all I was doing in my spare time (I work a full time job). I felt pretty isolated. When my girlfriend was over we weren't interacting like we used to - we would really just be doing our own thing, and my own thing was really pretty pointless, in some ways. Sure, I was progressing in a game I loved... but what was the point, ultimately? I felt lonely. My only "interaction" was with characters on a screen that aren't real people. I was less social at work. Etc, etc. As much 'fun' as the game was, as good as it felt to play it, it didn't feel healthy anymore.

One thing that I really love that Cam has done is broken down the needs that games fill for us. I think that's a great insight. This game was providing me a challenge, an escape, and constant measurable growth. Clearly, it wasn't giving me anything valuable socially - in fact it was doing the opposite. So, how can I fill these four areas elsewhere?

Well, I love fantasy themed games, so I decided to start reading fantasy/sci-fi novels and exploring that genre. I can also make it social by joining forums where people talk about their favorite books, etc (r/fantasy, goodreads.com, maybe find a book club or something). Though clearly I need to explore other social avenues too.

I'll need another activity to provide challenge and measurable growth. To be honest, I'm not sure what this will be yet, so I'll think about that for my next entry. I do get some of that from my job. I work in IT, so I have to constantly be improving my skills. But I think I'd like something else that's more of a hobby, instead of a career.

Thank you for anyone who reads or comments. I think I needed to get all this out of my brain.

Best,

Travis

Edited by kortheo

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Love seeing another journal up here! I believe the way we do something is the way we do everything... so I imagine for you part of this experience to engage and participate will also translate more to how you show up every day in your life. Most people just lurk and sit on the sidelines not just on forums but in LIFE. This is a turning point for you to start engaging in creating the experience you want to create for yourself in the world. It's awesome!

Starting with the 90 day detox is the right course of action. 90 days is enough time for you to learn a lot about yourself, and at the end you'll be better equipped to make that decision for yourself.

Try meetups.com to find a book club or similar fantasy-themed group. I'm sure you can find one in the SD area.

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I hadn't made that connection but you're totally right. I guess people DO "lurk" in life. Not that they would literally not interact with members of a group, but they certainly sit on the sidelines and do the bare minimum socially or don't really engage. And now that I think about it, that is true of me. I mentioned somewhere that I never felt like the center of a social group, but rather always on the periphery. I didn't really stop to think that that might be my own fault. It's hard to have a socially fulfilling life if you don't put yourself out there and get into it.

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Hey Travis!

Congratulations for stepping out of the shadows, so to speak :D

Hmm finding a new activity is something worth your time. You can check Cam's hobby ideas or in other places! Maybe take some time to be alone and think about what you need to improve on and work from there until you reach a hobby that works on that. I don't know xD

Keep us posted!

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Day 2 (Day 6)

I say Day 6 because although it's my second day of journaling, it's been 6 days since I've played video games... from here on I think I'll use that number, instead, just to keep track.

I've continued to read The Slight Edge (90% through it) and it has already had a large influence on my thinking. I've always been interested in personal development / self help (the good kind, not the cheesy 'believe and it will happen' kind), so upon reflection I have been living the slight edge to some degree already. For example, several years ago I started reading zenhabits.net and worked on developing healthy habits. Sometimes they stuck, sometimes they didn't. But The Slight Edge seems to provide a missing piece to the puzzle. It ties everything together into a sensible framework for how you can structure your life on a daily basis for long term results. Thinking long term can be overwhelming sometimes, but if I can just focus on one day, then that feels much more manageable.

So I've been trying to think of habits that I could do on a daily basis that would be beneficial. I noticed that I really enjoyed writing this journal yesterday, and it occurred to me that I actually really enjoy writing, but I haven't really made time for it in a while. In the past I think I've been a better writer, but I feel rusty at it now. So I'm going to try getting back to it, maybe start a blog. There are a lot of topics I enjoy thinking and writing about, but I just haven't done it much since college. I have tried to start a blog a couple times, but it usually just fizzles, because I never develop it into a habit or have a long term sense of what blogging will do for me. I don't have the aim of trying to make money off of it... I just need a place to put my thoughts down, and if someone finds it and comments, so much the better. I'm sort of a voracious reader... I'm reading 4 books right now. I find that I absorb a lot of information but it kind of goes no where... so having a blog as an outlet might be good for me.

Anyway, in terms of gaming, so far so good. I haven't really had any urges yet. I'm sure they will come, though. The past couple of nights have been nice because... suddenly it feels like I have more time in the day. Before I would get home at 5-6pm, and need to get to sleep by 930pm or so to get up for work the next day. If I fill that time with gaming the time just seems to melt away, and I feels like I didn't have enough time to enjoy myself or to really accomplish anything, in game or out of game. It'll be 9, I'll still want to keep playing, and the dishes need washing and my apartment's a mess, but I just keep playing until I absolutely have to stop and sleep. Without gaming, things just go slower... by comparison, reading a book doesn't make the time melt away quite like that. Even if the hours do fly by, it just feels longer, somehow. I manage to get the chores done and keep to my daily habits and routines without scrambling. I am able to get some exercise and meditation in comfortably. I feel more in touch, in control. Not lost in escapism.

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Similar to this journal, when it comes to a blog (or any habit really) it's important to set a specific time/schedule for it. For example, with my YouTube channel I chose 1 video each week, to go out on Monday. I chose Monday because that was the day my first video went out so I figured I'd stick with that. Now I have 34+ videos, almost 800 subscribers and 25,000+ views. But it all started with 1 video on a monday, and then another, and then another. In July I spent a lot of time promoting the channel and growing the audience, and I'll do more of that in October again. The same can work with your blog. Pick a day and publish something, anything on that day. A good book to check out would be Write, Publish, Repeat.

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Cool, thanks for the advice. Yeah, it seems to be that consistency is key with blogging, or videos - any kind of internet content creation really.

I like the idea of a daily writing habit, because that's a good way to improve over time, and has other benefits (http://zenhabits.net/write-daily/). Maybe I can take the best of the writing that I generate and make that what gets blogged once a week or so.

That is great that you have 800 subscribers in 34 weeks. Seems pretty solid. Earliest part is the hardest and hopefully viewership will begin to snowball at some critical point.

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Hey Chris,

Yeah, from your description it seems like are having very similar experiences and coming to very similar conclusions. I haven't played Dark Souls but I can see the similarity. You really hit the nail on the head - for a time it can seem like you're accomplishing so much, and there's a lot of satisfaction in mastering something so challenging... until you take a step back and realize that none of it has any meaning beyond yourself, and that very limited context of you playing a game. Imagine if you invested that 160 hours into something like improving your social skills, or a hobby that others would be able to understand and appreciate, or reading or exercise or meditation or writing, etc. That would probably be enough time to really improve something about yourself. But when we invest (or waste, depending on your perspective) on games, you don't get that feedback. Really all you're getting is fleeting entertainment. I admin that gaming may have some peripheral benefits, but they don't outweigh the cost, I don't think. So yeah, I think it's fair to say that I'm coming to the exact same conclusion - games shouldn't be the focus of my life. Thanks, I hope all is going well for you too! Also in response to your post in another thread, I will definitely make a point to check out Stone soon hah.

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Double post... but... it's my Journal, I do what I want :P.

Day 7

Nearly done with The Slight Edge now, hope to finish it today. I will probably follow it up with another book, perhaps the Power of Habit. I don't think The Slight Edge has all the answers - but I think it should be required reading for game quitters :D. I understand now why people recommend it so much.

One thing I want to say is that I really love how positive this forum is. I've been trying to be more positive myself lately, and I've begun noticing how negative so many people can be, and so much of the internet can be. All the encouragement around here is a nice change a pace, and a good part of this community. By contrast, I was shown a youtube video by a friend today that was a compilation of "worst plays" made in a video game (Hearthstone) - the video was essentially making fun of people who were bad at the game. I might have laughed at that in the past, but now it seems pretty petty. If we entertain ourselves and make ourselves feel better by putting others down, what does that say about us?

After 2 weeks of limiting my caffeine intake and working on my sleep, I feel noticeably better rested, more alert, calmer, and more present. My sense feel sharper, and my mental fog has decreased. It feels really good. This is also after 1 week of no games, so I htink that might be playing a role as well. When I would do long gaming sessions I felt so sucked in and kind of out of touch with reality. My reality was the screen, rather than my actual environment. It feels good to be out of that headspace.

Last item for my update today - I have spent some time getting started blogging. I took an evening and did a lot of research on Wordpress, and that's the platform that I'm going to end up using, I believe. I actually did create a blog but it's in its infant stages. I used to write a lot more than I do, and I'm remembering how much I enjoy reading, thinking, and writing. So I'm excited to start that, and I think it will be a good way to use the time freed up by gaming and potentially meet new people online. Looking forward to it.

Got to run for now but I hope everyone is having a great day.

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You're having some great insights! Imagine what things you had done in these 1-2 weeks if you kept gaming the way you did.

Nowadays, society is almost completely controlled by negativism. It's all about sharing tragic/sad news, creating worthless conflict, gossiping about other peoples' lifes, etc... That's why I blocked my facebook feed and stopped watching/reading the news, because there is nothing to learn from there. Making fun of people that don't play well, for example, is something that people who only think on petty things do. If you are starting to notice such things, you already are in a nice path :)

Good thing you're working on your caffeine intake and sleeping! Contrary to what most people think, sleeping well results on more time for you (and health ofc). Caffeine is something we can live without, but a cup of coffee a day doesn't do any harm, I'd say :D I just didn't understand how some colleagues of mine could drink 5 cups of coffee per day (the tiny cups).

Blogging is exactly what i was looking into too! Yeah Wordpress is by far the better choice. I see that you do like writting so it could do wonders to you! It isn't just by meeting new people online, it's about finding your tribe. People who think like you and agree on following you and your ideas. Pretty cool stuff!

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Chris - That's a good point I hadn't considered. I probably lurked a lot due to a fear of rejection as well. I'm kind of a perfectionist, so I take criticism harshly (trying to care a bit less :P). Nonetheless I do always appreciate constructive criticism, even if it's hard to hear it sometimes.

Thanks for the kind words... I will definitely share my blog once it's got a few posts going on it :).

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Day 8

Today, I want to share a story.

When I was growing up, I used to go to a local game shop named "Game Adx" (read: Game Addicts) to buy new games. This was in the mid/late 90s. I always remembered those trips fondly and got a lot of cool new games there.

The shop was across town from where I grew up, but it just so happens that I now live right down the street from it. It's still there, some 20 years later. I could walk from my house and be there in 5 minutes. It's less like a GameStop and more like a collector's shop these days. They have a ton of old, rare, or generally difficult to find gaming stuff. It's a niche shop, with stacks of NES games from floor to ceiling, a R.O.B. on the top of a shelf, a PowerGlove behind a glass case.

I've only been in there once as an adult, when a friend was visiting from out of town who was interested in what they had in stock. The place is a lot different than I remember as a kid. It's small, cramped, and dim. It feels a bit dirty, and nothing is organized. It's kind of chaotic, and feels a little hostile even. I checked their Yelp page, and a number of the Yelp reviews remark on how the owner is just really rude and was a real jerk to them. A couple reviews talk about the owner referencing his personal collection of games (supposedly in the thousands), and thinking back he actually said something about it too the one time I was in the shop.

Now, far be it from me to psychoanalyze someone I don't really at all know, and to do so over the internet no less, but I can't help but wonder if part of the reason the owner is unpleasant, and presumably unhappy, is due to him constructing his life around games in this way. I have nothing against him personally, but I think it's an interesting observation.

Now that I think about it, there's a certain irony here. Games are supposed to be fun. They are supposed to entertain. Entertainment supposed to make us happy, to make us enjoy ourselves (at least, in the short term). But that only seems to work in a certain context. For some of us, maybe it doesn't work at all. If your entire life is games, if you are a Game Addict, if you live to game instead of game to add to your life, you will at some point not be having fun anymore. You won't be using games for entertainment, you will be using games to hide from yourself and your pain. Games might even be using you, pulling money from your wallet each month.

The good thing is we don't have to game anymore if we don't want to, if we feel it's making our lives worse instead of better.

A final note end on: We all came to this site because we wanted to stop gaming. But that isn't really what this site is about from my perspective. Not gaming is 'easy': you just have to turn off the console or computer. This site is about what comes after that - about improving ourselves, and finding fulfillment, and shaping our lives so that we won't ever feel compelled to go back to gaming.

Edited by kortheo

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A final note end on: We all came to this site because we wanted to stop gaming. But that isn't really what this site is about from my perspective. Not gaming is 'easy': you just have to turn off the console or computer. This site is about what comes after that - about improving ourselves, and finding fulfillment, and shaping our lives so that we won't ever feel compelled to go back to gaming.

I feel exactly the same! The attempt to quit gaming has turned more into finding meaning and fulfillment for me.

Edited by SpiNips

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A final note end on: We all came to this site because we wanted to stop gaming. But that isn't really what this site is about from my perspective. Not gaming is 'easy': you just have to turn off the console or computer. This site is about what comes after that - about improving ourselves, and finding fulfillment, and shaping our lives so that we won't ever feel compelled to go back to gaming.

?

I feel exactly the same! The attempt to quit gaming has turned more into finding meaning and fulfillment for me.

?I talk about this in my new video coming out tomorrow :D

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Day 9

I get the sense that my journals are starting to feel more like blog posts. Hence my desire to start a blog. Will still keep you guys updated on that.

But for today, I just want to say a few things. First, I finished the The Slight Edge. Awesome book, enjoyed it more than I expected to, actually. It has definitely shifted my perspective and change the way I view my free time and my habits. It's hard to put it concisely, actually, so suffice to say, very happy I read it.

Second, I also started reading The Power of Habit. I was a bit skeptical at first because I've read a lot about habits already - or so I thought - but it's becoming clear to me that this book has things to say that I haven't heard about yet. Very well written and engaging so far (a couple chapters in).

So, as this is post "Day 9", I couldn't help by be reminded of "Day9", the streamer of Starcraft fame. He streams Hearthstone now, a game which until recently I played a lot of, so I'm familiar with his Hearthstone content more. Yesterday I talked about a local store owner who devoted his life to games and had a reputation for being very rude and, I presume, unhappy. But Day9 is an interesting counterpoint, because he has devoted his life to games in a different way, and he is by all appearances and reputations, a very fulfilled and happy person. He enjoys gaming, he remembers that games are supposed to be fun, and he doesn't seem to let it get to him when he loses.

Of course reality would never be as simple as "if you play games a lot you'll be unhappy, and if you don't, then you'll be happy". That's obviously wrong. But I just wanted to pose the question: what's the difference between people on this site and someone like Day9? For some people, maybe gaming is something that they can do in a way that works for them, in balance with a healthy lifestyle overall. But for lots of people, apparently, that's not the case. I suppose it's less about the games and more about the person though. If you're lonely and isolated and unhappy and you game a lot, games didn't really cause the problems. You went to gaming because of the problems, in a sense. Games appealed to you because of your situation. Hence why quitting gaming alone won't fix your problems. Turning off the console or computer is the first step, but then you actually have to fix your problems.

Hopefully that made sense, haha.

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Definitely has to do with other factors and how that contributes to a negative impact or positive impact from games. I discuss a lot of that in this interview here with my friend Locke Vincent who's kind of like Day9.

Also, I'll never forget the 100th episode of Day9 back in the day. Loved his stuff.

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You may want to add Daring Greatly by Brenee Brown to your reading list. I think it will be a perfect fit for you! Cam recommended it to me, and I was able to benefit greatly from it.

?And her new one, Rising Strong. :D

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Definitely has to do with other factors and how that contributes to a negative impact or positive impact from games. I discuss a lot of that in this interview here with my friend Locke Vincent who's kind of like Day9.

Also, I'll never forget the 100th episode of Day9 back in the day. Loved his stuff.

I listened to that interview, very cool! That was really relevant to what I was thinking about, thanks for sharing.? One thing from it that stood out to me was when you talked about the difference between having fun and being happy as being the difference between being stimulated and being fulfilled. Thinking in those terms, it's clear to me that video games are stimulating but not fulfilling.

You may want to add Daring Greatly by Brenee Brown to your reading list. I think it will be a perfect fit for you! Cam recommended it to me, and I was able to benefit greatly from it.

Yeah I did see that recommended here as well! It is on my list. Is that a newer book? I remember I tried to read one of her books in the past and it was very women-centric. Nothing wrong with that, but it just didn't quite speak to me. ?

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Day 10

I've continued reading The Power of Habit and it is really impressing me. Now I'm thinking of how to change my behaviors in terms of cue -> action -> reward loops, haha. Great stuff.

Last night was good. I got off work, came home, ate a meal that I cooked for myself, went to the gym, came home, showered, went to a coffee shop to read (The Power of Habit), came home, meditated, read some more, slept. And I woke up early this morning, meditated, and got to work 20 minutes early (which virtually never happens).

I feel like I have way more time than I used to. Because an example of how one of my evenings might have gone a couple of weeks ago would be:

Get off work, come home, eat fast food, play video games for 3 hours, sleep, wake up sleepy in the morning, get to work 10 minutes late. And that was kind of my norm. Those three hours would fly by and it would hardly feel like that much time had actually passed. It felt like I really didn't have that much free time. It just disappeared into a black hole of gaming.

Now, hours just seem last longer... in a good way. I feel more engaged and aware of my life.

I am grateful that I'm writing this journal because it does make me document these changes over time. It makes them easier to notice. Without it, I would probably not notice them, and wouldn't fully appreciate the changes that were taking place.

Edited by kortheo

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I am grateful that I'm writing this journal because it does make me document these changes over time. It makes them easier to notice. Without it, I would probably not notice them, and wouldn't fully appreciate the changes that were taking place.

When things aren't working we notice them, but when they are we don't. It's important to step back and notice when things are working because it helps us identify what's contributing to that and then do more of it. :)

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Day 11

Last night was challenging. After I got home from work, I didn't really have a plan for my evening. I spent an hour shopping online for something that I don't really need, and then got frustrated with indecision about what I wanted. I decided to put it off and think about it later, but it really just felt like wasted time. I had had a stressful day at work, so that is likely the stress talking. So I was laying on my bed feeling stressed and frustrated with myself - in the past this might have been a habit cue to watch porn or play video games, or eat something unhealthy. But I realized I would feel a lot better if I went to the gym instead, so I did that, which was great. I'm noticing that choosing to go to the gym is rarely the wrong choice.

I don't have much of a social life right now. In fact, that's my single biggest challenge right now. I feel strongly that gaming is an obstacle towards me getting a better social life. The past 11 days have made me feel more confident and feel like I want to start going out and being social again, which was never something I felt while gaming. I never felt like I had the energy before, or even really the desire. It was more like, "I know I need a better social life, but I'll deal with it later and play video games in the mean time for fun".

I also purchased Respawn last night and Step 1... can't access the Respawn forum yet, but I wanted to just say (without spoiling anything) that Step 1 both makes total sense and yet was totally unexpected ha. And it was also way more difficult than I expected. I'm excited to keep going with it, I feel like this is what I need to do.

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Day 12

I'm kind of in a weird place right now. Quitting gaming has forced me to look at things in my life that weren't working, and that process is continuing. It's not something I'm ready to talk about here yet, but suffice to say I'm working through some challenging things - I know it will work out, though. Very glad to be doing this in a context of self-improvement. Yesterday I reached out to some old friends who I haven't talked to in a while and had long conversations with them, which was really refreshing for me.

I have continued on with Respawn and completed steps 2 and 3. I will be posting in the Respawn forum about those! I'm really enjoying Respawn - it has surpassed my expectations and is definitely is worth the money.

I've told myself that I'm going to start going to meetup.com groups. I would like to join one or two. And I want to get some sort of social sport into my life, it seems like that would be a good addition (and something outside my comfort zone - I've never really been athletic). I think that a rock-climbing gym might be an option, I'm going to look into it. Even though I've joined meetup groups in the past I still have hesitance because I haven't done it in a while. But, pushing through that discomfort is how we grow.

I've decided to start posting my daily gratitude here, which I was previously doing in a journal:

  1. I'm grateful for green tea.
  2. I'm grateful for my friends.
  3. I'm grateful for my job.
Edited by kortheo

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