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I HATED computer games. And I hated myself!!!

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Maybe skip the big text and read the summary down below.

For over 20 years now, ever since I was a little boy, I have been a hardcore gamer. My entire life was based on it. I was either unwilling or incapable to focus on something else. Something meaningful. In all those years, I perfected the skill to sit in front of my computer, without moving a lot and pretty much ignoring every itch in my back... sitting there for hours playing stupid games.

However, this year, I lost this ability... 


Something deep inside of me has changed. It started with my diet. I hated to be controlled by sweets, junk food and trash like that. I quitted most of that at the beginning of the year. Sure, on occasion I would eat a piece of cake or something like that. How often have I eaten icecream this year? Not one single time. Chocolate? Maybe twice. I also started to work out a lot. As a result, I already lost 24 pounds. Over the year, I became quite obsessed with the idea of clean eating and good food. I cook a lot myself and try to eat as healthy as possible. I am a new person in this regard.

Yet, despite all of these successes, which were quite new to me, since I have tried diet changes for many years, I still was not progressing with my life. The reason?


I hated them. I hated that I could not resist on playing them, when I wanted to learn for university. I hated that I could not resist, when I wanted to clean my room. I hated that I could not resist, when I wanted to go outside and meet new people. I hated that they were like chains around my neck, making it impossible for me to become, who I wanted to be. 

The real outburst

Now three weeks ago, I had the biggest change of my life. I hated that I was oversleeping because of games. I liked the current topic in the university and wanted to really focus on that. I would like to turn it into a career, if possible. But the oversleeping was making this quite hard. The next day, I went to bed early and the next morning at 6.30 am I used the 5 second rule by Mel Robbins. It really helped me to immedieately stand up and start my day. A new burst of motivation was inside of me, which I have never felt before. I now work very hard for university, something I could never do before. Procrastination was always in my way. I now wake up between 5 and 6.30. I eat even healthier and I can even resist gaming in order to work hard. When I played some path of exile two days ago with a friend of mine,  it was the first time since one week that I was playing a game. Other things just seem more important right now.

Why am I telling you all this?

This sounds like a hero tale of someone, who has iron will and can change his life just like that. I think the only thing that I changed, was my identity. Which was easy, because... I hated myself!

I still hate myself, but something has changed. Just an identity change, which was not really focused on the outcome. That was the x-factor. Something I have overlooked for so many years. How can a couch potato become a health freak and exercise fanatic? By becoming a health freak and exercise fanatic. Just cooking healthy and going to the gym is not enough. It has to be a change inside of you!


This year, I mastered to do the following things:

- I turned from a couch potato into a health freak and fitness fanatic and lost 24 pounds so far

- I turned into an early bird

- I turned into a hard worker

However, there is one identity, which is stronger than every other. Seemingly stronger than eating and waking up: Gaming. I am a nerd, I am a gamer, a computer maniac. This is who I have been for my entire life. Right now, I have full control over everything I do. But I am not sure, if it will stay like that forever. I am afraid that gaming will strike back and pull me back into this dark hole, where I have been for many years. But even worse, despite me changing so many things this year, I am not sure, if I can change my identity of being a nerd. It is what I have been my entire life. It is all I was and all I am. How can I change it? How can I finally destroy the one thing, I love more than anything else?

But now the reason, why I am here

There is another thing, which takes my control away. Gaming made me a social cripple. I am not sure, if people can relate to that: I can talk and chat via the internet without problems. But I have trouble to go outside. I would like to go out and hang out with people; meet new people. But I don´t know how... When I go to a lecture in the university, I have problems to make the first step and talk to people, I don´t know, where to look and what to say. Making friends and small talk? It seems to be so easy for other people. But I am incapable to do it. It seems, they would talk to me, but they don´t know how to approach me. What to say... 

I feel like a weirdo. Looking on a screen. Looking at pornography, that is something I can do. Sitting in my room for hours. Like three weeks ago, I discovered that this one last identity, the nerd, the gamer, also has to vanish. To turn my life around completlely the way I like, it has to go. Otherwise, I will be stuck forever. Despite not even gaming, I feel the chains around my neck.

But I am afraid that I can not do this one last change by myself. I just opened my eyes for the first time after years and feel like I woke up in the matrix. Please help me! Gamequitters are the only people that fully understand me. People with similar problems and similar chains keeping them captive. 

Take care people, everything is possible. I belive in that!

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Well, it's great to have you here, Alexanderle! Welcome!

I still feel like a social cripple in many ways, but when I think back to how I was five years ago, it's like night and day. For me, it started with a few things:

1) NoFap

2) Starting to (at least try) to spend less time on video games and the internet.

3) Actually learning about social skills, and then putting them into practice.

I started out in a bad place. I used to think that being socially awkward was a curse, a genetic malady, and something that is fixed. I was also unable to make any small talk with a cashier. 

NoFap started to rewire my brain a bit, and I started to naturally have more energy and confidence, which made interacting with people easier. Spending less time on the internet and video games helped too as those were (and still are) my crutches and my comfort zone. Naturally, now that I had more time on my hands and trying to rectify my own situation, I begrudgingly started to search "social skills" on Google. That's when I realized social skills are just that...skills. They aren't talents. These can be learned and practiced and turned into habit, just like you've been doing recently! 

The best way to do this is to just get reps and start talking to people (and before anyone else says anything, I lose track of this often myself, and this is medicine for myself, too). At this point, I'm very comfortable opening random conversations with friends-of-friends and people I've seen repeatedly, but I'm stuck on complete strangers and especially female strangers that I'm attracted to. 

Some of the resources I used to start were:

1) The Art of Charm podcast, particularly the toolbox episodes. Very good about breaking down very practical things like social cues (especially physical cues), conversation, charisma, etc.

2) Much later I read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Kind of a classic, but something that one can over apply and turn into a snivelly suck-up. Again, chock full of helpful practical things, especially learning how to listen and ask questions. 

3) Models by Mark Manson. It's about picking up women, but there's a lot in there about understanding yourself and relationship dynamics which is really powerful once you understand. In a way, I feel I better understand how to put myself in someone else's shoes and understand what their desires are, both romantically and platonically. 

4) Improv comedy. This was unexpected, but this teaches you how to talk about literally anything, forever. And humor.

I have no doubts that you will improve your social skills provided you put in the work. Try stuff, experiment, see what works and what doesn't. I'm still progressing and learning and I still have some major hang-ups myself, but good lord are things better now. 

I hope this helps. I just got a little fired up, haha. 

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@DaBest wow thank you very much. Those were some really useful tips. I am familiar with Carnegies works, they are quite good. But it is really hard to actually use them in reality. For instance, despite knowing that smiling at people is beneficial, I just can't do that. Even looking at people is a problem. Anyway, I will check it them out and see, if they are can help me. That one with improv comedy is a little surprise though. 

And about nofap. It this really helping? I am not sure and to be honest, I struggle big time with this subject. ^^

@ismailkanaan what is the reason to start the journal? How will it help me? Do you have experience with that?

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16 hours ago, Alexanderle said:

@DaBest wow thank you very much. Those were some really useful tips. I am familiar with Carnegies works, they are quite good. But it is really hard to actually use them in reality. For instance, despite knowing that smiling at people is beneficial, I just can't do that. Even looking at people is a problem. Anyway, I will check it them out and see, if they are can help me. That one with improv comedy is a little surprise though. 

And about nofap. It this really helping? I am not sure and to be honest, I struggle big time with this subject. ^^

@ismailkanaan what is the reason to start the journal? How will it help me? Do you have experience with that?

No problem. Just trying to help where I can.

There's a lot to unpack with what you said. If we are talking about strangers, there's definitely more tension when looking at or smiling at a different person. There's a lot of different dynamics at play--your/their intent, your/their views on the world/past experiences, what they're thinking, your body language, dress, etc.--that all will dictate their response. With social skills you can receive better responses to your "offers" on average, but even then there's a lot going on with the other person that's out of your control. This can be intimidating for people like you or I. The best path forward is to just try and give value/good vibes without expecting anything in return, and then not giving a damn if you get a negative response, because you can't account for someone else's 20+ years of social conditioning. 

To make this easier, any kind of hobby where you see the same people consistently (preferably working together in some way), will naturally lubricate a lot of that friction. It gives you, as well as the other person, more chances to view the other and calm fears that the other person isn't some kind of a threat. My first big leap in social skills is when I joined a sports team back in middle school, and I went from social pariah, to someone who could kind of form a small social circle. Would highly recommend sports or something physical if you can manage it. Improv has had a similar effect.

Also, therapy. If it's an option, consider that too. Not being able to look at people is going to hinder your progress. There may be more there that needs unpacking. 

I'm markedly different when I'm on NoFap. I give far fewer you-know-what's and I generally have more energy. Masturbation itself absolutely floors me, and if I don't take a nap before I do something social, I'm just super tired and uninterested in everything. That's not good for social situations, haha. 

I also totally second doing the journal. The best parts are seeing progress (big reason video games are addictive) and being able to sift through the BS in your own logic that built up this habit/addiction in the first place. I personally find I do better when I post daily, which is why I'm still doing it even when my biggest issues at this point are not video games, though they will be if I start again. 

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Alright, I will try it out. Thanks for your kind words. It just generally know that I had no endurance in the past to do something like that. I hope it will be different this time ^^ @ismailkanaan

@DaBest I am not so sure about the therapist. Would really take a lot of willpower for me to try something out in this regard. Maybe with some different perspectives, it will become a little bit easier for me to do that. Furthermore, I highly doubt that I will be able to stick to the Nofap thing, but I will give it a "shot" I guess. xD That one with sports is right though. I know that it can really help to engage in something like that. But again, this is this thin transition between staying at home and finally getting my ass out of the house. There is just something that hinders me. Not even sure, what it is exactly. ? 

I can really relate to what you said with those social conditioning things. And actually, I tend to want something back in return, so this is also something, I can work on. Btw, I tried out the Art of Charm podcast. The guys are really hilarious and time flies by listening to them. This was a superb advice to listen to them. I will continue to do so. 

Take care!!!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Read your story and other comment and say I can relate to that. 

You've implemented some great habits into your life. What encourages me the most is that you claim it is possible to turn into a hard-working person.

I could really use some advice on how to keep urges at bay in the face if difficult tasks -_-


As for situation with social struggle: When I got to university 4 years ago I had little social experience also.

Articles on social interaction  and related sites really helped to build that foundation.

Another helpful thing was.. acting. Not on stage, but pretending to be social, interested and excited about some topic in everyday life. Try putting on this social mask, first for 15 seconds to ask for directions or how to get to class, then for a minute for some small talk about impressions from studies or what.. spices to chose for the next meal.. Eventually it will accumulate into an ability and a habit, like working out! 4 years of practice prove that.

This idea is better expressed in Amy Cuddy's TED talk "Fake it till you make it"


One last thing: I saw a russian speech some weeks ago about combating depression. In short, it claimed that working out somewhat triples the amount of nerve cells produced in hippocampus. And that allows you to learn new things and move on from old habits. So keep up the good work!

You can move past your gaming. After all, it's just a thing we've sticked to since childhood. That's the only reason it seems so dear. The baby duck syndrome in action ?


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@Vooglet Today I woke up at 5 am. I was ready at 5.50 and was reading for university until my parents woke up at 6 30. Until now, I already learned around approximately two hours. So yeah, I really claim that it is possible to become a hard worker. But like I said there are some things that really encourage that in my case:

I hated myself so much that I really wanted to become someone else. Not just copying another person, but becoming a new, "better" version of myself. New social life was shitty (it is still shitty), my diet was shitty, my work ethic was shitty, my family rellationships were not optimal, my health was shitty. I had nothing to be proud of. This already changed. Just the fact that I proved to myself that it is possible to have self-discipline is such a confidence booster.

I also have good rolemodels in my life: My sister is a workaholic. Diehard. And she has unbelievable success in her career. So I am kinda born in an environment of hard workers. This helps for sure. But even being born in an environment of procrastinators is only an excuse.

Lastly, I was bored. It feels like I was chilling for 27 years. It is time to get something done and to have an impact in this world. ?

These things let me stick to my behaviors right now. I don't know about the future (how could I?) but I am confident that this is not a one time thing.

About urges: They constantly come. And I still give in to some of them. I am still masturbating, but I really don't care. I still check out nba news during work or watch something on youtube. But it really gets easier day after day. It has all to do with this identity of myself, I believe in. I wrote something somewhere in this forum like "how to really change your life". There might be some things that could be helpful. Especially that thing about atomic habits. I unknowingly did what the author said for around half a year, before I read an article about it. 

My overall noob advice, because I really just started and have nothing to show yet:  Don't look so much at the results like counting days, measuring your weight or the average of your grades and fall in love with the process of self optimation and your vary core, where everything starts: Your identity. The results will come for sure. My next big project will be my social life.

Some really interesting things you mentioned like that Ted talk. I should check that out. Loved your baby duck analogy ? 

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