As an old-time gamer, and one who even designed them professionally, I’ve always been easily lured into a good game. Some of them are mere distractions, things you can play and put down anytime you want, then there are others that compel you to play for 8 hours straight. Sid Meier’s “Civilization” series coined the infamous term, “Just one more turn…” because that turn would inevitably turn into another 100 turns and you’d realize the sun was coming up the next day.
My wife managed to help get me hooked on Candy Crush, this little mobile game that has addicted many people on its
crunchy goodness. I’m a gaming veteran, so I know how to pace myself, but the mere fact I’m spending any time on it makes me feel unproductive. You see, back in late 2009, I had an epiphany of sorts. The economy was a wreck, and I read a controversial book by Michael Ruppert called “Crossing the Rubicon” that made me realize the world outside had become a far scarier place than anyone could envision. I almost immediately stopped playing games. I wanted to be productive, and I wrote “The Case for a New America“.
There are millions of people, my age in particular, who have put in thousands of hours worth of gaming. Nearly all have nothing to show for it. Nothing worth value in the real world, anyway. Sure, some games are educational. Some gamer’s get into gaming professionally and make money at it (I did for 3 years), but otherwise, if you counted ALL of the hours wasted on these distractions and envision what those same people could have done with that time…productively…the world would literally be a different place right now.
There would be far more successful people out there if those tens of thousands of hours had been invested into something that actually had a return on investment. Imagine spending even 100 hours learning guitar, a trade skill, writing, programming…anything that could reap a personal and financial benefit, and the idea becomes shocking.
There is nothing inherently wrong with playing games, or watching TV, or doing any leisurely thing that helps you relax or entertains you. We all need those distractions. It’s when they replace the time you could be using to better yourself, or others, is when it becomes a problem. It’s mental masturbation on a massive scale.
When I’m playing Candy Crush, I can’t help but think that even the 10 minutes I invest in it I could have been reading some historical text or working out the plot to my book. I’ve put myself behind, and delay something I should be finishing so I can start earning royalties on the book and start my next one. Instead, I’m spending time playing something that some other person labored for hours to create and make a ton of money off of.
Being an author, in particular, opens all sorts of doors for distractions merely because we are constantly at a computer with easy access to every distraction imaginable. Enjoy your free time, play some Candy Crush, but make sure the majority of your time is still spent doing what you know you need to be doing…writing more books!
What are some of your favorite distractions?