Ok, just to be clear. I spend the max just a little bit more than an hour every day to play Candy Crush Saga. I play it during study or work breaks, or when I’m waiting. So, to say that I spend hours on it is an overstatement because I know a lot of the pros out there playing eight hours every day. However, for a non-competitive person who gets bored really quickly playing ANY games, that’s actually an accomplishment, and I keep playing not only because I love the game, but also because I feel good when seeing myself going from level x to level xxx. Here’s a photo of where I’m at in the game.
And the main part of this post is I want to share my 5 lessons.
- The more I spend time doing something, the better I become at it. Yes, that definitely sounds cliché and self-explanatory. I’m right now at the point of getting golden crowns 10+ straight, which means I won on first attempt. *Knock on wood*. As I see myself level up in the game, I really wish I spent that much time and used that much effort figuring out that one coding problem or read that chapter of a book. If only other activities produce the equal amount of dopamine…
- Luck is not everything, but without it there is a lot of “nothing’s”. I don’t know much about the structure of the game, but I notice that some rounds I could just fuse 3 candies every move, but there were also rounds in which my phone vibrated for a full minute because all the candies just keep blending together, and I won with 20+ moves left. I consider those are from luck. In life, I have made stupid decisions that cost me lots of anxiety. Last minute visas. Prepare for a college application a month in advance. Doing multiple choice tests but forgot to read that one section that took up 20% of the exam. Over the years, I have learned that no matter how hard I try, I still need luck. I have given up on the belief that I am in full control of my life. The future is uncertain. I do my best to get myself ready for the best opportunities, but I also do my best to stay calm when the situations turn out not as expected.
- The higher levels come with nightmare challenges, but from passing the lower puzzles, I get equipped with the necessary tools. If you’re like me, you have probably tried out a lot of games on the market. You would download it, get into it for a couple of days, and then “boom!” it gets hard and you give up. That’s why I am never a gamer. I don’t think it’s worth it to be good at a game. You gain respect from others, and I have a hard time finding another good reason besides that. Yet, I am challenging myself by keeping up with this game, and it’s also not that hard because I enjoy playing it. The higher up, the more challenges that are fun. The intensity when I was just-so-close to winning or the joy of actually pass a level is something that an easy level could never reward me. Moreover, the golden crowns I stacked up also associate with more experience and especially more tools: color bombs, stripe candies, wrapped candies, free switch, coconut wheel, etc… And a lot of golds, too, for winning the challenges. They become so helpful, and that also leads me to the fourth point.
- Tools are helpful, but they only bring minimal advantages if I don’t make the most out of them. First of all, it’s not helpful if you need to collect 15 more blue candies with 5 moves and you decide to use a free switch, unless you have 1 bazillion of that kind. You can you a color bomb but without matching it with a strip or a wrapped candy, the advantage you have is at the least. There are tools, but to incorporate those into the work smartly takes up a whole different conversation. Can you think of a time when you totally fail to use that one handy tool in a creative way that work out the best? Like doing that homework ten times over but fail to learn the pattern and apply it for a harder problem. Or another one that is really specific to me is how I absorb information from book. I don’t do intense noting or writing essays to reflect. I just jot down the most important things because I read for fun. However, a lot of the time I couldn’t remember where those information is from and fail to retrieve them; thus, a lot of my talks sound stupid because I’d state a fact with no back-up source and everyone looks at me with crazy eyes.
- Failing to focus on goals is fine, except they cost much time and effort. In a fast-paced world, that is a great costs. In the game, at each level, the top bar would displays what the player is supposed to collect. For example, you have to collect 20 color bombs or 45 jellies. Many times, I start playing without looking at the top bar, only to realize that I had wasted a dozen of moves. This sometimes would be fine (usually with a lot of luck involved), but most of the time I’d end up losing. Failing to set a goal and to achieve it can surely be costly.
I am a loud and determined advocate for the idea that everyone has their own timeline, and you have to respect that. One can finish school at 22 or start college at 28. One can have two kids by 25 or focus on building a career at 30. You do you. It doesn’t matter as long as you have a purpose and working towards it. With that said, one time a friend told me he couldn’t help me with this one thing because I didn’t have a clear idea what I wanted to do. “I could help you, but if we just start randomly, later on it’d take time to relearn what’s important to achieve what you want.” I have gone through school with the ideas that I wanted to learn everything. I have made my parents proud by being a well-rounded kid, only to realize that I am good at nothing and have wasted a lot of my life steering aimlessly to the sidewalk and going nowhere.
Of course life is not as easy as playing a game, and goals are not determined by others but established through a process of understanding who you are and what you want to spend your life doing.
Live with a purpose. You can adjust your purpose, but you can’t undo the opportunity cost of times when you try to be well-rounded and aim for nothing but to be well-rounded.