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My journal - Alan


Alan
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So now I'm going to think about how I fulfilled my human needs with videogames.

Temporary escape. Yes, gaming for me is definitely an escape. When I feel sick, I play. When I feel bored, I play. Those two are actually two biggest reasons why I choose to play over and over again - to escape pain and boredom.

Social connection. Well, not at all it fulfills my social needs. Here's the deal - now I play mostly Civilization 2. I actually rationalized playing it like "Well, it's a very old game, with archaic graphics, I won't get addicted to it". Now I realize that it's game design, not graphics that makes games so addictive. Ok, back to social needs... Since I play this game offline and have no friends to talk about it, I sometimes feel freaking lonely, and that forces me to reach out. Now I see that it's actually good, that videogames at least don't fulfill my social needs.

Constant Measurable Growth. Oh God, that's exactly what I get playing Civ2. My empire grows, population increases, tax income rises... And all of that is presented in neat graphics, tables, numbers. Everything in my empire is under my control. Everything is traceable.

Challenge. Yeah, this game is definitely a challenge. The goal is clear, the steps to achieve this goal are also clear. And it requires a lot of thinking and planning to win this game. Too easy? Just raise the difficulty level! This game is always a challenge, since on the last level computer opponents become virtually unbeatable.

Yeah, it feels really good to scrutinize my gaming. In the next post I have to find activities that will fulfill those needs.

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So, let's think how I'm going to fulfill those needs without videogames. One at a time. Now it is temporary escape.

I've tried reading books. What I've found out is that reading fiction is not for me - I quickly get bored because I'm not attracted to those alternative realities. So I tried non-fiction - at first I also got bored fast, but for another reason. I tried to absorb every word, I focused too much, like if I lost a single word I'd lose so much value of this book that all reading renders useless. Now I know that's not the case. When I read non-fiction like a newspaper, not trying to analyze every sentence, not trying to focus too much, not trying to absorb every idea, just relax and read - that's when I feel good and my boredom goes away.

But it works to a certain extent. What else have we got? TV series? Nah. Good, meaningful movies? Though better, when I watch them, I still get the feeling that I don't get any value from them, that the message and storyline doesn't have to do anything with my actual life.

There's so many aspects to think about. And it's just one need, and I'm still not done with it yet.

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What about reading some more philosophical books;
Fiction where it is not the alternate universe, that is in focus, but what the story says about ourselves that's important. An example could be "The stranger" by Albert Camus. Or maybe some actual philosophical essays, which aren't really fiction, but aren't really non fiction either. It's not important to absorb every word, as long as you grasp and think about the overall ideas.

Or maybe reading something like "Mans search for meaning" by Viktor Frankl, which is part biography and part philosophy about how he survived the deathcamp of Auswitz while never completely giving up on hope. 

Or as a russian it might be interesting to read One day in the life of ivan Denisovich by nobel prize winner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

Of course, books might just not be the right answer for you, however there are a lot of different types of books, and I do believe that there might also be some which can fill the gap your videogames filled ;-)

I hope my suggestions can be of any help, and I wish you the best of luck in finding an activity, whether it be reading books or something else.

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@qwethm987 Thank you, I'm definitely going to add them in my "to-read" list :)

@Cam Adair Thank you!

A week has gone by, and I didn't play videogames, that's great, though I felt like gaming many times. And this result I get after watching only two Cam's videos. Can't imagine the effects of the whole program.

So far the most valuable realization I made by joining GameQuitters is that videogames indeed fulfill my needs. And I actually introduced one very practical habit - every time I want to play videogames, I first ask myself - what need I want to fulfill right now by gaming? What is fascinating, everytime it's for different reasons.

Sometimes I'm tired and don't feel like doing anything. And what's funny, if I did a great job during the day, like hitting the gym, doing my household chores, practicing guitar, learning language - that feeling of being productive during the day actually exacerbates this feeling of entitlement to play videogames. Funny, and not so funny at the same time.

Sometimes I feel really bored. Like nothing is going on in my life, like I'm in some kind of emotional vacuum. And I'm like "Gosh, I want to feel something, I want to add some spice to this bland day, I want to experience at least something, and videogames will suffice". Now I understand that videogames can help me escape those feelings, but they only worsen over time if I disregard them that long.

Sometimes I feel stressed out. Something unpleasant happens during the day, or I get too entangled in my past negative experiences, and I feel like gaming again. Videogames are comfortable - there are no people that treat you disrespecfully, there's no rejection, feeling helpless and not enough.

Sometimes I feel like my mind becomes stale, like I need to give it some exercise. And what is better for my mind than a turn-based strategy videogame? Actually, many things are better, but that's the way I think during the urges, no matter how ridiculous it look when I don't feel the urge to play.

Sometimes I want to experience feeling of growth - that my life is on the way up, like I'm accumulating resources, influence, respect from others. And yeah, the game where I start with one little village and build an empire over time is perfectly suited for fulfilling this need.

So yeah, that's 5 distinct situations when I feel urges to play. After writing this post I actually have a feeling that I go unnecessarily deep analyzing my behaviors, but hey, so far it worked almost to perfection, so why not?

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So far the most valuable realization I made by joining GameQuitters is that videogames indeed fulfill my needs. And I actually introduced one very practical habit - every time I want to play videogames, I first ask myself - what need I want to fulfill right now by gaming? What is fascinating, everytime it's for different reasons.

That's a big one, mate. I'm having this approach everytime I pick my phone.

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@Reno F Yes, I agree, that helps a lot.

Recently I decided that I need to lose weight, around 12 lbs. So I decided to cook mostly myself. And I tried to cook a steak. It was a disaster. I know, it's not a cooking forum, but I have to get it off my chest. I bought a piece of meat, and watched Jamie Oliver's video "How to cook a perfect steak" on YouTube. At first I thought "Wow, that's not so complicated, I'm just going to follow the recipe to the letter". I cooked it, served it and then took a bite... It was horrendously tough. But I still ate it, and then my stomach felt bad.

I was like, WTF, I did everything as Jamie told, and still ended with a piece of tire. And then it hit me: not every cut of meat is appropriate for a stake. Those rib-eyes, t-bones, sirloins are not just big chunks of meat of the right size, but very tender ones. So at the store it was definitely wrong to think "Yeah, it's meat, it's beef and it's the right size, I'm gonna buy it". Well, next time I'm going to either buy a suitable cut or use a meat tenderiser.

Gosh, cooking for a guy who almost never cooked anything - very frustrating sometimes.

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So far the most valuable realization I made by joining GameQuitters is that videogames indeed fulfill my needs. And I actually introduced one very practical habit - every time I want to play videogames, I first ask myself - what need I want to fulfill right now by gaming? What is fascinating, everytime it's for different reasons.

That's a big one, mate. I'm having this approach everytime I pick my phone.

+1

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Yesterday I was thinking about some uncool fact in my life - I rarely bring things to an end, rarely follow through. I begin with a lot of enthusiasm and energy, read a lot of information on the subject, but over time I lose this fire inside and, yeah, I leave my project unfinished, my goal unachieved halfway through. And this pattern repeated itself many times in my life.

So I started to ponder on my goals that I actually did achieve, and I spotted one difference there. I did achieve my goals only when the alternative was unacceptable for me. I found a job when sitting at home doing nothing was no longer bearable for me. I lost weight when I planned to go on vacation abroad, and the last thing I wanted was to look fat in night clubs there, and so on. Yes, there was positive motivation too, like "I want to earn money", "I want to look slim", but I was as well positively motivated to achieve the goals that I didn't achieve at all. It was a mix of positive motivation AND unacceptability of the alternatives that did the magic.

The first solution for my not-follow-through-ing I thought about was kind of radical, burning the bridges and all that stuff. Like giving others promise to achieve a goal, betting actual money on myself, making myself look ridiculous if goal is not achieved. But that didn't resonate with me - I'm not at all that risky and adventurous. Besides, it's kind of weird from the society's perspective.

Then I found much better solution - reconsidering what is acceptable for me. The precise conditions when I say: Well, I can live with that. It's okay. It's not a disaster. It's not that bad. I can tolerate this. I can bear that... So, living life below these conditions is not okay, is a disaster, is bad, untolerable and unbearable.

Trying to achieve goals with sheer enthusiasm doesn't work, at least for me, for my character. But setting standards, kind of minimum requirements - so far it worked. So yeah, now it's time to ponder again on what is acceptable and what is not.

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I dare to say that the 'uncool fact' is human nature. If you keep working, you'll light the fire up. It will eventually lose its strenght again and you have to give it more fuel to feel it burning once more. It's like a sinusoidal wave, a cycle.

if that's what you really want, don't give up.

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@Cam Adair @Reno F @warrumin Thank you!

This month I started to work out regularly, and I noticed that I gravitate towards videogames more than before. After a vigorous workout I come home and then it starts to pop-up in my head:

"My body needs to recover before the next workout, and I'm really looking forward to the next workout, so I need something to pass the time. Why not games?".

It's funny how rational and reasonable this phrase seemed in my head, and how ridiculous it started to sound when I wrote it down. Let's set aside the fact that I didn't go to the gym precisely because of videogames. This soreness, fatigue will subside, but it will never go away completely (assuming I continue to workout and get results). So I really have to get used to it. Otherwise my life is going to be like "workout, then do some meaningless stuff behind the computer for a couple of days, then workout again, then do meaningless stuff again, rinse and repeat". Yeah, I can get buff this way, but not much else. I want to get buff so girls would like me, but they simply won't see me if I'm at home playing videogames. I want to get big so other guys would respect me, but are they going to respect a weirdo that stays home all the time and literally has no life?

So yeah, now I see that I have to get used to this soreness in my body. This fatigue, sure enough, limits my options to be active during the day, but it certainly doesn't leave me with staying in my room all day. Basically, I have to find the answer to the question "What to do when I'm fatigued"?

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