Level up in Life by Treating It Like a Game
Four years ago, I was writing a paper with a colleague from my university.
As we were sitting down in my flat, she noticed a variety of self-improvement books on my shelf and picked up the classic by Dale Carnegie “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”
She scoffed, and made a snarky remark:
Why would anyone want to read a book SO they could make friends?
It’s so unnatural because as you live your life, you will eventually learn to do this — she continued.
I was baffled, to say the least.
We entered a heated discussion that had no outcome, as we were both convinced that we were right.
My reasoning was simple.
It makes a lot of sense to pick up a book or any other resource that will help you communicate better and build relationships so you can do it in a shorter timespan.
Instead of going through life randomly, letting the time pass and hoping that you will acquire this skill.
Think about it this way — we are born Tabula Rasa aka Blank Slate.
Which is the idea that individuals are born without built-in mental content and that therefore all knowledge comes from experience or perception.
We are learning machines.
Everything you are and everything you will become is because of your ability to learn new things and apply them accordingly.
“The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways.” ― Robert Greene, Mastery
The better you become at this, the more you can grow and do in life.
You see, games are a great analogy for life.
Let me give you an example of an obsession of mine from childhood — World of Warcraft.
I was a Night Elf Druid called Bato (my real nickname which means “Small Bro”), and I loved every single moment I spent playing the game.
The game starts at level 1, and you start with basic gear, and just a couple of talents/skills so you can take the first few quests and gain experience.
Each new quest gives you experience and gear, and the more you do it, the faster you can level up.
It’s an enchanted circle.
Life is the same way, but unlike in games, the quests and levels are not as clear and specific.
The bad news is that you’re on your own in choosing the life quests and how you will play the game.
The good news is that you are in control of this, especially today, where you have access to every imaginable resource for free.
Here’s a Strategy for Leveling Up
The basic premise is simple:
Use what you can and who you can to level up.
The biggest problem is uncertainty on whether or not your direction in life is the right one.
That’s why instead of worrying about what you will do 3 or 5 levels ahead, focus on just the one in front of you.
1. Choose one main thing you want to accomplish.
Undoubtedly, you will have more things going on at the same time.
But try to focus on a KEYSTONE one.
A habit or a goal that will have a massive ripple effect on everything else in your life. Not only when you accomplish it, but while performing it.
I’ll use one relatable example:
A) First, Analyze Previous Attempts.
The most important thing is that you don’t repeat the same destructive pattern.
That’s why you need to evaluate why it didn’t work out the first time (or first seven times).
- What made me fail previously?
- Was I too ambitious and had wrong expectations?
- Did I have a system in place?
- If I did, was it the wrong one?
- How can I improve this time, and make sure that I’m successful in my pursuit?
Don’t repeat the same pattern.
B) Specify Your Goal
Losing weight is too vague.
You need to know exactly how much weight you want to lose.
Once you have the specific number in mind, set a deadline.
Then work backward.
2. Define Resources
The next step is knowing how you will accomplish this goal.
You don’t need to become expert, but you do need to know the basics, so you can track progress and correct yourself along the way.
You can use anything (depending on a goal)
- Online and offline courses
- A coach
- Friends and family (someone who’s done it before)
Other possibilities are conferences, seminars, mentors, and any form of formal and non-formal education.
Once you find a resource that suits you, consume it, and then build a simple system for yourself.
3. Simplify the System
Most likely you will conclude that you need to do two things:
- Improve diet (remove certain foods, and add specific foods — to stay below the daily calorie baseline)
- Do some physical activity (gym, yoga, walking, jogging, running, pilates, body weight workouts)
Define what you need to do on a daily basis.
Eat 1500 calories by consuming three meals — specify food for yourself.
Go for a walk and achieve 10,000 steps, or do the gym 2–4 times a week.
4. Focus on The Compound Effect
In the beginning, until you develop this as a habit, you need to focus on consistency.
The biggest threat is breaking the consistency by overthinking and jumping from one goal to another, or from one strategy to another.
If necessary, sacrifice the Quality and the Quantity for the sake of CONSISTENCY.
Know that for almost everything you do, you won’t be seeing results for a while.
This is okay. It will come eventually.
Try to focus on enjoying the process and improving by 1% every day.
5. Evaluate and Improve
After a while, a month or two, make a pause and dedicate some time to evaluate your strategy.
Once you get the feedback, based on the results you’ve been getting, use it to improve your system and go back to work.
Repeat this process until the deadline ends, and you achieve your goal.
I’ve used an example of losing weight, but the reality is that this can be transferred to pretty much anything you want to do in life.
The thing is that learning doesn’t stop when university finishes, it stops when you stop.
If you want to level up, you need to become great at learning new things and applying them to accomplish your goals — whatever they might be.
The more times you do this, the more skills you will have acquired, which will start to stack up. Then you will be able to combine them to achieve bigger things and reach exponential growth.
Now all you have to do is choose what’s your next level, and what needs to be done to level up.