Choosing to Believe (In Yourself)

If there’s one message that I could give to any gamer it would be: You can learn to do anything. If you choose to excel at something, you can.

Imagine the following scenario: You’re at work, and your boss gives you an opportunity for a new role as a team lead. It’s not something that you’ve ever done before, so you’re nervous about accepting it. Like any normal person, you’re concerned that you won’t be able to do a good job since it’s an entirely new field of work. None of your experience seems relevant.

It’s at this point that I would step in with the advice opening this article:

You can learn to do anything. If you choose to excel at something, you can.

I know this to be true because of the nature of what games are. Consider what a ‘game’ is. Fundamentally, a game is a series of challenges grouped together as a test of your abilities. Challenges that you had no prior knowledge of. Challenges, with rules that (often) have no bearing on reality. It’s because of this that games are such fantastic evidence: You can.

Let’s take a look at one of the most iconic video game levels, Super Mario Bros 1-1. Within the first five seconds, you’re likely to experience the following:

The first challenge

What is this sinister-looking mushroom? Why is it walking? Am I half the size of that mountain?

A great many of us will die and have died to the first goomba (the sinister-mushroom) of Mario Bros. That said, many of us also succeed in overcoming this challenge. For those of us that have been gaming for a while, this may no longer seem like an accomplishment. However, from the perspective of a new player, there’s a lot to learn! How do you move? How do you jump? How do I… wait, I can jump?

As a gamer (new and seasoned), we’re continually experiencing this cycle of learning something completely new and using that to drive our future decision making. Taking this back to our real-life scenario, what is really different? We’re in a foreign environment being asked to overcome a new type of problem. It may seem like a stretch, but you’ve got to believe that you have been in this scenario before, and, just like last time, you’ll come out on top.

So get out there. Try! You have it in you to overcome even the most alien issue. You already have the experience you need to start, and all the practice you need to learn how to win. Nothing is truly impossible for you to accomplish if you choose to do it.

Further Reading and References:

The indispensable value of believing in yourself

Just in case you want to see how far you’ve come
Check out this awesome video on the design of Super Mario Bros. 1-1