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Zane

Hi I'm Zane Hanson

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Hello everyone, my name is Zane and I'm 18 years old. My story is perhaps a bit different than that of many of you, but like you all I have been led here because of my disillusionment with video games and my desire to improve my life.

I realize that my post is incredibly long and I apologize for that. I have so much to say and honeslty I could have written three times as much and only scratched the surface. If you do read both these posts though I would love any input you can give me :)

I was raised in a pretty uptight household, though I have a hard time describing my situation precisely. I do know that I started playing video games at a young age and took a fascination to them as many young children do. After learning psychology and reading Cam's articles and Respawn guide, I realize why I was so fascinated with games. They are visual entertainment programs which harness our brain's desire for instant gratification and mental stimulation. I remember being very bored as a child, expect when I played video games. Playing video games was my favorite thing to do as a child.

But I didn't get to play very much at all. My dad was very firmly against video games, and aimed to limit my play as much as possible. I had no video games at my house; the only times I could play was when visiting my mother (whom he divorced) and when I went to friends' houses. This meant that video games became a rare thing which I would overdose on whenever I had the opportunity. Back then I suppose it wasn't much of a problem, because I really didn't get to play often. However, I do remember that I lived my life really bored and often wishing I could play video games. During the school year I would go to school and during the summers I would sit in my room all day being bored out of my mind. However, with the enormous time I had, I would sit in my room creating imaginary games and use legos or soldier men to create some pretty damn complex games that I would play with myself. These occupations were what I did during my elementary and middle school years. I had friends, and I was never bullied, because anyone who tried to bully me I would get into a fight with. I am actually skinny weighing at 120 pounds and 5 ft 8, but I never ran away from a fight and I had respect of many of my peers. I also did some sports like soccer and basketball but never became very interested in either.

But yes, I was a loner. I tried not to feel that way though, and I believe that I developed a mindset of little accountability and a habit of blaming all my problems on other people. This meant that I was able to regard myself pretty highly even though I was really not living life to the fullest. I did not get along with my parents, especially my dad. He was and is a smart man, but he is uncompromising and rigid in his ideals. He is a Conservative Chistian, and would often batter me with his "knowledge" until I was numb to any good advice he actually gave me. My point here is that growing up I had no purpose, no desire to give anything to the world, and only the desire to take. My two biggest priorities were getting laid and being able to play video games.

Oh, and I was smart. I am smart, according to many. I was always in honors classes in school, even though I was always scraping by because I had no motivation to work on homework. I am a good writer, and have written great essays and poems which many have admired. I did have strengths, but I didn't put enough time into many of them. To counter my addiction to video games, or rather to fill the hole left by their rarity, I would often read fantasy fiction books which stimulated me in many of the same ways that video games did. Game of thrones, for example, is a series that I vastly enjoyed readng. I liked to read, and my vocabulary has been very strong for a long time. I had strengths, yes, but I want to stress the point that as a child I was very undisciplined and very reactive. I am currently reading the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, and that book has allowed me to realize who I have been in the past. I was pleasure-centered as a child, only putting in effort to things which offered direct and quick stimulation, like video games. Thoughts like what I was going to do in the future and how I would be working for most of my life scared me and I did my best not to think of those things.

In High school I started seeing alot more growth in myself. I had more confidence socially, and I began to get involved in activites, such as Mock Trial, Swim, and Speech and Debate. I was in a highly rigorous academic program, and I started doing better in many areas of my life... to a certain extent. But in the summer, I would go back to being bored and craving stimulation. My relationship with my parents only grew worse during this time. In the summer after my sophomore year, however, alot changed when I was accepted on a free trip to Mexico for three weeks. It was a trip for an exchange program which I wrote an essay for and did an interview and it was focused on trying to connect communites and community outreach. I spent three weeks in Mexico and met many people, and it was an amazing experience. I got alot of love and attention from the Mexican girls as well :) One of those girls is special to me and I still speak with her to this day.

Anyway, after this trip I went back to school for my Junior year and felt very very ambitious. I started a club at school based on my deal with the Exchange program to volunteer/ work on community service. My club was a club for students on my level, (IB students) to tutor new english language learners in their math and english subjects. I was President of this tutoring club, vice president of the Speech and Debate club, an attorney for our Mock Trial Team which made it to state championships, and a swimmer, all while studying full time in the IB program, which was a high school program that followed international standards. Toward the end of the year, I even ran for Senior Class President, and I became very popular. I used my speech skills to give an amazing speech in front of most of the school, and I don't just say so myself. I lost that campaign by 5 votes but I still really enjoyed the entire experience, and more importantly, things seemed to be looking great for me.

However, what with all the extra stuff I was trying to do in my life, I was neglecting my school work, and I got bad grades. And I realized that my grades were not going to get me into a good college. And I realzied that I had to change alot of things, because high school was almost over and I had to worry about other things like how I would support myself after high school. Unfortunately, I dropped most of my activites the next year so that I could focus on school. I quit my club, quit swimming, quit Mock Trial, and all the activites that made me feel good. However, I did still play video games when I could. I learned how to get past the school computer restrictions and play Halo and Minecraft. I would play for hours after class all 4 years of high school, staying at school to play video games on the school computers. I spent countless hours learning about computers and found out how to use portable VPNs on my flash drive to go to any site I wanted, past the school's blocking system. I realized that spending those hours learning how to break the rules stimulated me just as Mock Trial had, or running for senior class president, or being a good swimmer. These were all goals that showed results and made me feel like a badass. JUST LIKE VIDEO GAMES.

My life changed completely my Senior year when I entered my first serious relationship. Nothing else in my life can compare to how I changed when I fell in love with this girl. Her name was Monica, and she and I had been friends for a few years. Before meeting her I had felt like I had no direction in my life but, but she knew what she wanted. She wanted me, she wanted to live the rest of her life with me, and go on adventures and get a house and have children. Before that point, things like marriage and having children were of no interest to me. I couldn't see why people, especially people like me, would ever want that. She totally shifted my priorities, and for the first time in my life, I saw a reason to work hard in school, to be confident, and happy. I was able to face my future and not turn away in fear. Things made sense. I felt secure and loved. And she was gorgeous; Im not even exxagerating. In fact I'll post a pic of us to show how gorgeous she was.

She was a project to work on, like the other projects I had worked on in the past, but the relationship was more stimulating than those other things. It was more addicting than a video game, at first, andmore inspiring than anything I had ever experienced. My grades improved that year, and I developed and began to execute a plan for after high school. I moved out of my abusive household when highs school ended and moved in with my Aunt, who offered me more freedom than I was able to adapt to.

When I moved out a year ago, everything seemed like it was at an all time high in my life. I was happier than I had ever been, and my future seemed set. My plan was to go to community college for two years and then transfer to her college at UC Santa Barbara.

I have to coninue this on a separate post.

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Continuing with this post, I want to first say that I don't want to sound like I'm complimenting myself alot lol. I do have a habit of doing that when I write sometimes, but my point here is to illustrate how far I fell and what role video games played in, well, bringing me here. In my previous post I gave a history of some of the challenges I faced in my childhood and some of the ways I responded. Here I'm going to talk about my past year and what I've learned during this year, especially but not limited to the influence of video games.

To continue what I was saying, I had plans to transfer to my girlfriend's college and live my life with her. In the meantime I was full of energy and excited to have the freedom to finally do what I wanted and go exciting and productive places in my life. First, I wanted to play video games, since now I could. So I played a little. Then I kept playing, and soon forgot about my plans to get a job. It was summer and I hadn't started school yet. I played nonstop every day, only stopping to talk to my girlfriend (who now lived in another city) or eat food. I played Halo, Skyrim, Age of Empires, call of duty zombies, you name it. It got on my aunt's nerves, because she had expected so much more from me. I felt bad, I felt wrong, but I couldn't stop. And that's when I began to lose confidence in myself. I was now able to drink soda, so I drank 5 cans a day, I never cleaned my room, I forgot to take showers in the morning, and I lost almost all motivation to do anything. The only thing I was ever excited about was seeing my girlfriend. But wih the long distance, we started hurtng each other, and even though we loved each other, things grew hard. I stopped feeling like a man, and I stopped being the man she wanted. I started complaining to her all the time and saying mean things and talking to her while playing video games. And when school started, I still had no job, and still played lots of video games. I didn't do my homework, and seemed to lose sight of everything that I had been formerly so excited for. Bad things happened, and I ended up going through an extremely painful breakup seven months ago which still pains me to this day.

At first, after the breakup, I went even deeper into video games. It was the only thing which made me feel okay. I made lots of friends playing Destiny. We started a clan and every night we would play the game together and joke around and have lots of fun and I felt so much better when I talked to them. Many of them were older and would drink so I would drink too and just have fun, staying up until 4 AM and going to school 4 hours later. Our clan grew and I was one of the admins and I was a very good player, one of the best in the world in fact, according to stats records kept online.

However, I realized that I could not go on like that. My grades tanked and I felt worthless. I felt weak and broken and I was truly suffering. There was no single point that I suddenly started to change, but I did start to change. I think I started simply by scouring the internet for answers. I wanted answers to solve my pain. That's how I started learning about all the mistakes I had been making in my life. It was slow and hard to make the mental change necessary for, well, change. The breakup filled me with energy to improve, to change my situation, and ever since then I have been trying to do just that. I remember at a certain point I read Cam's article on why I should quit gaming. I remember that played a big role in my quest for change. I even broke my Destiny CD a few days later, but a week after that just redownloaded the game. At that point in time I wasn't committed. And still, I am not entirely committed, but I have committed to other things and quitting video games is next on my list. I hope to have feedback from you after I'm finished with this.

Soon after the breakup, I did get a job. I currently work as front desk for the tutoring center at my college. I have developed a great relationship with my boss and coworkers, and I do like my job, which I am grateful for. In several months I am going to be a tutor for that center, because my English teacher loved my essays and recommended me. I am also working this summer.

Anyway, the job has been a good learning experience for me. As front desk I deal with people each day but I have found myself to be more confident in simply talking to people. I feel like I can talk to anyone now, and my social skills and maturity has definitely improved.

Three months ago I got a gym membership. Previously I had never been to the gym, but I realized that the gym was a very good idea. I developed the goal of becoming fit and strong and then went looking for a mentor. My first mentor was the internet, and I learned alot from different sources, though the information was sometimes contradictory. Then I met a guy my age who i helped out on my job who actually lives close to me and goes to the same gym, and he taught me alot. Then, after a month, I decided I was ready to see a personal trainer. I paid 800 dollars to see a personal trainer who is filled with passion for her job. I learned so much from her and will continue to learn from her when i can afford her in the future. I used what I learned to change my diet and exercise efficiently and felt so much more energy because of it. From here on out it is my goal to constantly improve myself by working out and eating healthy.

In the past month I have begun to read books that I have found recommended by sources online. It started when I saw a book lying on a table at work called "The Power of Habit" by Charles Duhigg. By then I was deep in the process of self improvement and I read a quarter of the book and intend to buy it and reead more, because it helped me realize how I could change my habits and stop playing video games, and replace bad habits with good habits.

I've also been reading "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" and reading it has filled me with ambition. I realized that my entire life I have been a reactve person, letting other people control my moods and how I saw the world. I choose to be proactive and take responsibility for my own happieness, rather than allow myself to completely depend upon another person emotionally, or blame my parents for my failures. I've realized that having the mentality of envy and hate toward successful people is not the correct way to succeed. I've learned so much about myself from reading and I don't plan to stop. I plan to change my mentality completely because I've realized that the best way to live is to constantly desire to learn and improve. The next book I plan to read is "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie.

I've realized that to become successful, I need to work hard, and view the world differently. I need to give more to the world before expecting to receive from it. And I want to find love again, but rather than expect love to just fall into my lap, I've decided to be proactive and take responsbility for my self improvement, to adopt the mentality that I should be the kind of person someone would want to be with, rather than expect someone else to just like me. I want to take on projects like the ones I've been taking and not to quit on those projects. I want to find a balance and not allow myself to slack off on school. In the future I would love to start my own business and be successful.

I've been struggling with quitting games for a bit now, but I'm seeing progress, and alot of it is psychological. For example, I realize now how and why Destiny has had me so hooked for months. This guy on youtube, bdobbinsftw, has explained in details how today's video game publishers have become greedy and are creating crappy video games because they are not pressured to make anything new. This is why call of duty has remained the same as it has always been, a first person shooter which aims to make everyone who plays feel like a badass by providing benefits for players of any skill. Getting kills and having a score pop up releases endorphins in our brain and keeps us hooked. A game like destiny with no story to speak of remains successful despite its grind because people want to level up their imaginary characters. And when the less skilled/devoted players get left behind, the developers add something which makes the huge grind the more devoted playters went through become worthless. I've realized that this is a pattern and things like this helped me leave destiny once and for all.

I would reccommend for people trying to quit video games to look at what is currently happening in the gaming industry, and realize that it has become a money grab where developers no longer have the incentive to create new exciting games, and instead rehash series, getting us hooked by preying on our psychology. By constantly giving us a goal to attain, even if it is so goddamm worthless, we are hooked into the system and find ourselves unable to pull away. But what if we could apply this energy to our real lives? I become excited when I realize this potential :)

To Cam, and anyone else reading this post, I would highly recommend checking out FightMediocrity on Youtube. He is a guy who creates really interesting videos explaining the biggest ideas from books such as "Seven Habits" and "How to Win Friends and Influence People." Whenever I watch his 5- 10 minute long videos, I realize that I really want to read whatever book he is talking about. I learn so much even from those videos. I highly recommend that you guys check it out.

Cam, I love how devoted you are to this subject, and how you are so giving to people who face this problem. I am frankly surprised that so few people watch your youtube videos and are involved in this forum. I havent created a concrete plan fopr how I'm going to approach my video game problem, but any suggestions you can provide for me crafting this plan would be helpful. I think I will purchase your 30 day challenge soon, because I quite like the idea of treating life as a video game, at least temporarily. When I read the page you had on it, I gave it some thought, and realized that thinking in terms of going on missions each day just totally changed how I viewed mundane tasks, and I would love to see what you have to offer.

Anyway, it's getting late, and I'm not going to spellcheck because I'm lazy so I know there's spelling errors, sorry lol. I hope you don't mind my super long posts. Thank you everyone for hearing my story. I hope we can all find what we are looking for and learn from each other here.

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Zane!

Thanks for sharing your story. This is awesome! I read both posts and really enjoyed getting to know you better through your story. I definitely relate to many of the obstacles you spoke of, including having a tough time after a breakup.

I checked out FightMediocrity and definitely think it's a great resource! I'm a huge fan of reading and have actually read over 50 books in the last 2 1/2 years! Reading is one of the easiest ways to become smarter and more successful. :)

When it comes to the videos or forum, it's important to remember that although my article has been around for over four years now, it's only this year I truly started to focus on building Game Quitters and putting more of my content out there. Up until now (other than that TEDx talk), I had really only been replying to comments and emails. It would have been great to start my channel or the forum earlier but the last two years I spent in a sabbatical working on improving myself to where I am now.

And now that I feel much more confident in myself, I decided this year I am going to go after Game Quitters full force, not for myself but for the community. That's why you're seeing all sorts of new content coming out and products like Respawn and the Challenge.

The concepts and missions I share in the Challenge are really what has allowed me to get to the point I am now in my life where I'm more confident and happy than ever. From reading your story, it's definitely a great next step for you. Respawn is perfect to take the initial steps of removing games from your life, and the Challenge is built to focus on how to really start living your life to the fullest.

I really appreciate you being here and sharing your story. The forum and community will continue to build each day, so remember these times when there were only a few of us, you're one of the original members! :)

Let me know if I can help in any way.

- Cam

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Thanks for responding! I watched the link you posted for Adam's TEDx talk, and I found it to be inspiring. I actually watched it before I posted my story but I checked it out again. The two biggest things I took from his talk are first that I should surround myself with likeminded/ inspired people who can help me stay accountable for following my goals, and second that I should "make the ask" or put myself out there and look for opportunities and support.

I've never taken part in any type of forum before, but something about this forum and the open minded idea of self improvement which accompanies it, makes me feel like perhaps I can help take part in a community which will eventually be composed of people inspiring each other and holding each other accountable in the same way as mentioned in that TEDx talk. I figure that this is exactly what I need. I need people to hold me accoutable. As soon as I return home from visiting family I will want to try out the challenge and write a journal entry each day and hope that others can help keep me accountable toward fulfilling my goals.

I don't have alot of friends right now, given my awkward situation in a new city going to a college with few people my age. This is something I want to fix. I want to go out and make lots of new friends. However, that will take time, and in the meantime, I don't have anyone I can rely on to help keep me accountable or support me in my endeavors. My family is supportive of me but they don't have the time or ability to understand my problem and help me in the same way likeminded people could help me.

After spending half a year at my job, I have found that I enjoy helping others with their problems too. Maybe this forum could be a place that I could support others too, especially if I find success in acheiving my goals here. Whatever the case, I'm definitely here to stay for a while :)

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Yes, that's absolutely right. A famous quote I believe in is that you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with. So if you want to really take your life to the next level, you want to be around people who inspire you (and hold you accountable) to being your best.

That's been one of the single most effective ways for me to really level up. This forum will be one way to do that and it will continue to build over time and we each have the opportunity to contribute and support each other. I hope to host a live event some day where we can all hang out and go through different exercises. I took part in five summits from The Higher Purpose Project last year and they were powerful, not only for learning and growing yourself but also meeting other likeminded people.

When I first quit gaming I didn't have very many friends and I didn't even really know how to make friends. So I went on this crazy journey to learn it, and I want you to know you can definitely learn it. The challenge will be a good way to start learning some of the basics, and then I can share with you some extra concepts once you're finished. Tyrone on the forum is a good example of someone who managed to really take his social life to a new level by applying some of the concepts I share in both the challenge and others we can talk about afterwards.

BTW, your profile pic is slick!

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Thanks! The photo was taken a year and a half ago, when I was at the peak of my confidence :)

Photography is actually a hobby of mine. I took Photography in high school for three years under the best teacher I've ever had. By the third year that teacher allowed our small group of devoted photographers to use his most expensive cameras, and it was thrilling to be creative and use my left brain, since I have been priarily a more logic based than creative person most of my life.

I checked out the Higher Purpose Project briefly, and I'm intrigued. I want to learn more! It seems like one way to meet likeminded people, as you said, and I will want to at least try out/ apply because it's time to make the ask, and not allow myself to ever develop the mindset that its too good for me, or that I'll never be so lucky as to be accepted. I need to put myself out there! Besides, it actually reminds me of the time I got accepted on a free trip to Mexico in the Sister Cities Trilateral Exchange Program, which must have cost thousands of dollars. I ended up meeting a wide array of people desiring to bring positive change to their societies. In fact I wish I had been a little older when I went, because I was less mature back then. I was part of an International project which aimed to bring us from different countres together to focus on being instruments of change. I wish that I had stayed true to the program and persevered even more. In fact, the other members in the group from my city gave up rather soon, and I kept up my goals for a year after returning, but eventually I lost focus, and the project was forgotten.

Then again, there was nobody to keep me accountable but myself. I was not surrounded by likeminded people in the city I grew up in. My parents were pressuring me to drop my extra curriculur activities because of my poor grades. And I had no clue how I was going to transition into life once I turned 18. I let the pressure kill my drive, and I gave up, feeling slightly humiliated inside.

I also suffered where planning was involved. I realize that not having a plan to follow and fulfill means that I procrastinate and get behind. I'm learning principles of good planning in the book I'm currently reading.

I would definitely like to learn Tyrone's story, and yours too. I've read about your past with video game addiction. But I want to hear about your crazy journey :)

I'll switch to the main room to share my current concerns in my goal to quit video games.

Thanks!

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Hey Tyrion :)

What you said about linking friends to hobbies is absolutely right. I am actually pretty shy about going up to anyone unless there is something to link them to. When playing video games, I was not shy at all. In fact, I would go to social areas and talk to people on my mike who I didn't know and make friends all the time. Then I would add them to my clan. I had zero discomfort making friends while playing games.

On the job, I also make friends, because peple come in asking for help all the time and I am very comfortable talking to them, because I'm in a very familiar environment.

But if you asked me to go to the grocery store and make friends with a random person, or go to a coffee shop and do the same, or ask a girl for her number as I see her while walking, I would recoil and not even try. I'm not comfortable enough to go and do that sort of thing.

Back in high school, I had lots of friends who had my back and with whom I could hang out and stuff. However, now that Im in a different city and going to a community college, I have alot less friends that I talk to and nobody to hang out with. Yes, I have friends on the job/ co-workers, but they are the type that either play video games or drink/smoke and watch netflix in their free time. I'm not interested in becoming a part of either group.

Truth be told, I haven't found anyone that I'm looking for at my college. The number of people my own age is miniscule. I'm sure I would have a much easier time once I transfer to a University and am surrounded by people my own age. However, I aim to be proactive now and look outside my college for friends to hang out with. I aim to do this by going outside my comfort zone and doing activities such as volunteering and other activites mentioned in Respawn. I'm considering the site Cam recommended called meetup.

If you don't mind my asking, what prompted you to start being more social? Was it simply learning Chinese and finding other chinese people to talk to? Do you plan on using your Chinese skills to make a career of some sort?

Thanks for the input Tyrone :)

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Hey Zane, thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed introduction. It's great to read of your experience in Mexico. Maybe where you live there's an international organization looking for mentors? I've been both an international volunteer and a mentor for foreign volunteers. I consider them to be keystone experiences of my life.

Edited by Tom

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Hey Zane, thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed introduction. It's great to read of your experience in Mexico. Maybe where you live there's an international organization looking for mentors? I've been both an international volunteer and a mentor for foreign volunteers. I consider them to be keystone experiences of my life.

??Thanks for the post! Yes, my experience in Mexico was superb. It was at the beginning of the best two years of my life, and it gave me the momentum for taking advantage of many great opportunities for those years. I would love to find myself in another position where I could meet people/ travel/ take advantage of great opportunities :)

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It's great you learn Chinese, I have always been interested in languages such as Chinese and Japanese, I even started to learning Chinese characters, but then I took an online course and panicked that I would never be able to master the tones. Can you give me some advice how to deal with them? Perhaps in a private message so as not to clutter the forum with something which is not relevant to everyone. Thanks :)

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