Growing up, I played a lot of video games.
So much, in fact, that it cost me quite a bit of my social life. Video games literally sucked my time dry.
I started with computer games, moved onto console, and then split my time between the two.
I remember my days distinctly, mainly because they weren’t much different:
- Wake up.
- Go to school.
- Come home.
- Play video games.
- Eat dinner after my mom would yell at me to come down for the 54th time.
- Do a bit of homework.
- More video games.
Looking back, I shake my head at how much time I wasted. But I chalk it up to innocent youth. Because on some level, it was true innocence. Whether you indulged in video games, barbie dolls, or anything which most kids enjoy, it’s nice not having to worry about full-time jobs and relationships.
Mortal Kombat and How It Relates to Life
One of my favorite games growing up was the Mortal Kombat series. Most of those finishing moves (or “Fatalities” as they’re called in the game) were insane and lit up a 12 year old kid’s face when executed flawlessly.
To beat your opponent (usually your friend) and then watch your character perform their special move on your freshly defeated foe…that’s what motivated me almost as much as true success motivates me now (ah, to be a kid again).
I remember I used to buy those strategy guides with all the finishing moves (this was slightly pre-Internet, cut me some slack) and study them intensely.
I’d try to memorize multiple characters’ finishing moves all in one sitting:
Ok, I got this….Scorpion’s first one is Up, Down, Down, Left, A, A, B, X, Down, Right, A, B.
Sub-Zero’s first one is Left, Up, Right, Up, Up, A, B, B, X, X, Left, B.
Liu Kang’s first one is….
You get the idea.
I’d spend all this effort and time memorizing like it was an exam for school and my grades were on the line. And they were difficult to remember as you can see above.
But when it came time to play and actually use them, I couldn’t remember 90% of them. Why?
I never studied one move, practiced it until I became an expert or at least decent, before moving on to the next.
No, I’d spend all this time reading and studying but never taking action.
I can’t think of a better metaphor for life than what I just described above.
And let me tell you one thing: it took me absolutely forever to understand this notion. And to this day, I actively work on making sure I try to take action when I can. But it’s hard, and I’m the first one to acknowledge it.
Because nothing kills dreams, kills momentum, and kills your happiness faster than not taking action on the things you want in life.
Doing Versus Saying
One of the most underrated traits a person can have is the ability to back up their talk and ideas with action.
People are full of ideas. They are full of intentions. And last but not least, they are full of promises.
Yet when it comes down to it, very few people act upon them.
I know you’ve heard some of these phrases:
- “All talk, no walk.”
- “You’re writing checks your ass can’t cash.”
- “Nothing but hot air.”
People flap their lips all day long and barely hold to what they intend or what they say.
It’s so commonplace, in fact, that it becomes a rare treat when someone actually follows through.
And as a kid, I did just the opposite. I used to brag to my friends about the finishing moves I’d memorize for the game, but when it came time to utilize them, I couldn’t perform.
I spent all my time talking and studying 12 different characters’ moves, and didn’t take the time to study one and then act upon practicing with them.
Then in my 20’s, I transitioned into having all these wonderful intentions for things I wanted to do or try.
But when push came to shove, I got scared. I couldn’t execute on the vast majority of them.
I would tell myself and others every excuse in the book.
For instance, I knew I needed a new career. But I didn’t quit my old one until years later after I got fired for the first time.
I blamed it on the Great Recession we experienced in 2008: “well, I had a job when it hit, so I wanted to ride out the recession.”
I blamed it on wanting to make sure it wasn’t for me: “well, I got another job in the same industry just to make sure.”
I did this with a lot of other things. And to this day, I still struggle with following through on every intention I have. But I think that’s fairly normal. We’ve all probably got 10,456 intentions in our mind, but we have to be selective with our time and effort.
But when you don’t make a move in any direction, whether it’s your words or your intentions, people notice. Trust me, they do.
And when you begin to take action, people will also notice. And if you can follow through on that action, people really notice.
Because following through is another underrated trait. But I’ll save that one for another day.