As the title may imply, I sold my Xbox 360.
You may be wondering why, though more likely you don’t give a crap. In which case, why are you reading this? Whatever, I appreciate your curiosity.
I’m selling my Xbox because I unlocked the biggest achievement I’ve ever unlocked by playing it.
Fight through and struggle until you achieve your goal. NEVER GIVE UP. Boom. Achievement Unlocked.
Let me explain.
I didn’t have a game system when I was a kid. When I was probably 11, I got a Game Boy, but ended up smashing it in frustration after a few weeks of owning it and not being able to beat a game.
Later on as a young bachelor I procured a playstation 2 on my own and had some fun with some games, but never really dominated at any of them. I just wasn’t very good.
I loved games that had an Invincibility Mode. I would immediately enable and then play through for the story.
Games that didn’t have those cheats available ended up frustrating me to no end when I got to a part that I couldn’t beat. I would just give up and play something else.
To me, my thinking was, “Video games are supposed to be diversionary fun, an entertaining distraction, that’s all. When a game stops being fun, I walk away.”
That’s how I justified it. In truth, I was just lazy.
A different parallel: In school, I didn’t have to study too hard most of the time. I was pretty naturally smart. I loved to read and that helped. I had a college reading level in 6th grade. But I managed to only make Salutatorian in a senior class of 9 people. I didn’t even make the top 10% of my class! Strange and dubious honor to be Salutatorian but not in the top 10%,
What if I had been that naturally intelligent as a kid, but had also studied my tail off? Where would I be today? How different would my life look, if I had been entertaining scholarships from multiple schools? Or if I had stayed right through for a Master’s because I graduated with top honors from a great university?
The difference I’m talking about here is effort. Struggle. Hard work. Patience. Persistence. None of these are traits people tend to associate with me. And that’s what I’m trying to change about myself. Ok, back to video games.
I’ve had an Xbox 360 for a while now, and have basically played it off and on in the same lazy vein I’ve always played it.
Then I listened to a podcast from the Art of Manliness that interviewed Carol Dweck, who explained this concept of a growth mindset vs. a fixed one. I’ve always lived in more of a fixed mindset. I am good at these things, I’m not good at these other things and I will plan my time and life and career accordingly. A growth mindset recognizes that one can significantly improve and/or acquire new skillsets through hard work and practice and EFFORT.
It strangely made think of an excuse I’ve said a hundred times in my life, whenever my friends who are games, talk about getting together and playing Halo or Call of Duty. I always say that I’m really crappy at video games and so I’m terrible when I play with others. I always reference that I didn’t have a game system growing up and so I never developed those skills, whereas some of my friends have been playing first person shooters since before that had hair under their armpits, so it’s second nature to them and they just plain dominate me.
It struck me that I never really tried to put in the time and effort into bettering my video game skills. It struck me that all my friends, weren’t automatically or instinctually better than I was at video games. I realized that they hit those same parts where they died a bunch of times and didn’t know what to do.
But. they. kept. playing. They didn’t give up when it was hard. They tried again. and again. And again. Getting more comfortable in the chaos and learning what’s happening around them to better navigate it.
I know this doesn’t sound like anything groundbreaking to anyone else, but to me it was flooring. Plain as day but I’d never really seen it.
At the time, I was starting to play through Star Trek for Xbox 360. Yes I love Star Trek.
But there were definitely some parts near the latter half of the game that I just couldn’t get past. But I was determined to not give up. And I didn’t.
And I beat the entire game.
It took way longer than it should ever take people who are gamers. But I did it. I kept trying again, even when I died a million times in a row. And eventually, I figured it out.
It was the sweetest moment in my video game career. I definitely wish the cutscenes were longer, but still an achievement.
So there and then a real seismic shift occurred in my psyche. I was now able to see things that are difficult and know that I can still work hard and not give up on them and see them through, and in the process get better at whatever that thing is.
“But Drew, that still doesn’t explain why you’re selling your Xbox 360! It seems like you should be excited to play more now.”
Well that’s just it. I’m looking at a lot of things in my life a lot differently now. And really high on the list of realizations is that I don’t have the time to play video games anymore. For lots of reasons that are mostly my laziness and ineptitude, I’m behind on so many things in life. I have a lot of struggle and growth to catch up on. So, now that it’s taught me maybe the biggest lesson I’ve learned this year, my Xbox is no longer needed. It could never leave my life in a finer light.