I’ll be perfectly honest here. I didn’t learn much about perseverance while in school. I also didn’t learn much about successfully finishing projects. I learned those things later, when I got into online gaming, particularly breeding sims like Aywas, LioDen, Horse Isle, and yes, that granddaddy of all games, the one that started it all for me, Howrse. It sounds silly to me, but it’s really true.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that consistent effort is more important than a large amount of effort that is sporadic. I have achieved great things in online games by just doing something a little every day and setting good goals. Whether that’s earning game currency, building experience, or collecting items, it doesn’t take long before that effort adds up. That has translated into novels, complex pieces of art, a better job, a paid off car and a much nicer apartment that I had to save up for.
I’ve learned patience as well. Usually, in online games, there are tedious tasks that you must do over and over in order to get some kind of reward. In games, as in life, patience usually yields good results.
I’ve learned to be a bit more comfortable with measuring myself against other people. I’ve also learned about leadership as I’ve come up with ideas other members of my gaming sites have enjoyed, and set up small events such as forum threads. That has taught me much about taking the initiative. I’ve also learned about communication and negotiation.
I’ve also learned a surprising amount about economics from games. I’ve learned about finding what people want, offering it at an attractive price, researching the competition, and keeping up with the trends. I’ve learned that the way to make money is to stay abreast of trends, recognize opportunities, and jump on them when they come. Then know how much things usually are going to cost, price just under that but not far below. This is especially important for freelancers. You want to be attractive to your clients, but not ruin the market by pricing so low that you devalue the service you provide. We see this in art – I could have a book cover created for $5, a task that used to cost hundreds.
Finally, I’ve learned about ways to make my offerings more attractive to other people. I’ve learned about wording, ad copy, creating interesting and eye-catching graphics.
These lessons have caused me to put effort into my various projects, such as writing books or blogging, a little every day. I’m far better able to work at it without expecting immediate success or payoff. Consequently, my work is higher quality than before and I produce a lot more of it. I credit much of that to learning patience and persistence from online games.
(Sometime I’ll write another article about how useful tabletop role playing has been!)