Time (II)

Time is a relative, subjective, and elastic concept.

Some say we should put everything on our calendar, from the time we start work to the time to watch a movie with our significant other.

Some say that, on the other hand, it is essential to set apart generous time blocks with nothing in them; that it is from this nothing that comes inspiration, creativity.

I don’t know which of the two approaches is more correct. I suspect that, as in most things, virtue is found in the middle.

But one thing I notice with me is that the phase of my life in which I objectively was the busiest, was also the phase of life in which I somehow found time to do more things.

Relative. Subjective. Elastic.

Nintendo

Playing videogames developed by Nintendo is more than “fun,” it’s a joyful experience.

I wasn’t originally a Nintendo fan, but after SEGA got away from their console business, I’ve discovered that their videogames are fun to play in a way that most others, aren’t. (And in a way that SEGA’s used to be, and to be fair, still occasionally are.)

Most modern videogames are more like glorified task-lists, where you accomplish micro-goals drip-by-drip as you play in a semi-automatic way. They are a bit like driving an automatic car VS a manual gearbox one.

(And I love my automatic car, but that’s because I don’t think there’s any inherent pleasure in shifting gears. I do know a lot of people who get that pleasure.)

Nintendo games are a joy just to play. The interaction between player character and environment is colourful and delightful and kinetic. There are goals, yes, but the enjoyment is not dependant on them – there is joy in the journey from one checkbox to another, rather than in a careful, constant dosing of checkboxes along an otherwise bland path, synthesized in the lab to ensure the optimal amount of dopamine release.

To play a Nintendo game is to delight in being a child again; to play most other modern games is to be a lab rat.

Sure, this art is not exclusive to Nintendo, but Nintendo is the brand that delivers it the most consistently. Bungie, I think might be the other example, but Bungie is a one-game studio. And for some reason, Japanese developers tend to deliver it more often than Western developers. But no-one, east or west, is as consistent as Nintendo.

I have limited time to play videogames, so I pick ones that make me feel genuinely happy as a consequence of the act of playing. 

I can get the joy from progressing on a goal checklist in other areas of my life.

Secrets Hidden in Plain Sight

In the lastest episode of one of my favorite podcasts, “The Tim Ferriss Show,” the guest tells us – among many other things – of his childhood as an illusionist. This passage that caught my attention:

(I am quoting from memory; these are not his exact words.)

“I don’t want to explain on the air how these tricks are done. It’s considered bad form in the magician community. These are secrets of the trade. Of course, they are secrets, but they are public – it’s all in books! The thing is, no one reads books. ”

This is true. There are many things that seem (and are!) tricky to do and that’s why most people hesitate to take something up, but in reality, almost everything can be learned from two or three good books.

From making friends to building a house; from investing in the stock market to painting a picture; from repairing a car to digging a pond in the backyard. And yes, learning to do magic tricks of the kind that people pay to go see on a weekend night out.

Of course, success comes through practice, training, trial and error… The ability to endure failure and try again. But the roadmap, the plan to get one there, that is in the books.

Just read them.

Photo Credit: Daniel Mennerich Flickr via Compfight cc

Writer. Podcaster. Marketer. Dental Surgeon. Gamer.