Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Immersing Yourself

I'm a jack of all trades: I can do a lot of things pretty well, but I'm really not a master of anything. It's the thing about myself that frustrates me the most. I've at times been an artist, a writer, an actor, a salesman... yet I've never completely dedicated myself to any one skill.

The funny thing is, I know how to do this. I've simply never decided on what to immerse myself in.

That said, I think I've figured it out. I'm hoping to become a true game designer, which means I'm going to have to put in a lot of hard work if I'm to make that so.

The first step in getting great at something is to assess the way you currently use your time. Time is the most important part of learning any skill, but no matter what you've only got 24 hours in a day. Eight of those hours are best spent sleeping; you can't plan to trade your sleeping hours for more waking hours without hurting yourself. So what's left? Time at work, playing video games, watching TV, goofing off on the Internet, exercising, cooking, writing a daily blog (winky face), spending time with friends, family, loved ones...

The second part is figuring out what to give up. Permanently. If you want to become a great artist, writer, or (in my case) game designer, you've got to spend time on it almost every day. The more the better. If it's important to you, then you must sacrifice something else.

I had to deal with this myself when I decided to write a daily blog: each post takes about an hour to write, so that's an hour of my day that I can't play video games, watch Netflix, or spend with my girlfriend. It's not always easy, especially right now when I'm behind and writing two blogs each day. I've spent over 230 hours writing blogs so far this year. That's enough time to watch the entirety of Breaking Bad three full times and be almost to Season 5 a fourth time.

The next step is using that time to immerse yourself in whatever it is you want to do. Turn it into an addiction. Devour everything you can about that thing. It should become something it's hard to stop thinking about. People should be a bit weirded out by how obsessed you are with that thing, because most people aren't used to seeing that kind of passion. You'll know you've succeeded when someone asks you, "man, do you ever stop thinking about _______?"

From there, who knows? Spending tons of time on something isn't a guarantee that you'll become good at it, but not spending that time is a guarantee that you won't become good at it. If it's important to you, then it's worth putting in that time. If you still aren't satisfied with your progress after 30 years, well, I guess you should pick something else instead.

And that's all there is to it! Easy, right?

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