Practicing Super Smash Bros Combos, or A Different Way To Approach School

Have you ever wondered why we sometimes invest countless hours into learning about the lore of a book, TV series, or how to maximize your auction house profits in an MMO, but don’t (want to) study mandatory classes for school?

Shortly after getting a 3DS for my 17th birthday, I decided to download the Smash Bros demo and see if that game was for me.

I decided to buy the game a couple of months ago. It’s technical, the kind of game that you can easily pick up but take hundreds of hours to come anywhere near being at a good competitive level.

Some characters are harder, more technical than others. Some are weak and useless if you play them incorrectly *cough* *cough* LITTLE MAC *cough*, but absolutely devastating when correctly handled.

I’ve begun studying the game on my free time, and am learning new things every single day: dairs, arials, tilts, edgeguarding…

But why?

Why have I felt so compelled to study something I 1) don’t need to study to enjoy and 2) that’s not going to be that useful in my life? (considering I’m not planning to go on tournaments).

Well, the secret is this:

I felt compelled to study Super Smash Bros. because I knew that what I would learn would be useful to me directly.

Think about this: why are many students in schools not compelled to read books they are required to read? Or choose to wing tests? Yet, at home, are experts at their favorite series (book or TV) or favorite video games? Because they are curious about these things. Why were they curious about it? Because 1) they are interested in it, and 2) they know the information is useful to them.

Think about it. If you love the Harry Potter series, you want to be able to converse with people that have the same interest. Thus, acquiring knowledge about the Harry Potter universe becomes directly *useful* to you. Or, even if you’re not planning to do that, if you love immersing yourself in that lore, then learning more about it becomes useful to you, in an entertaining sense.

Now, back to the school case.

If you’re a student (what I’m about to say applies to basically any profession) and want to improve on bad grades/performances, or are having good grades but not feeling as great as you should about them (because you don’t exactly know why you’re getting them), you need to get curious.Don’t study what you need to study because a teacher or your parents are making you, but study because you want to learn more about the world. Leo Gura has a great video about it, that you can find here.

To summarize, I’ll end with this:

I will study for school like I study Smash and practice combos. Sure, some of the facts that I’ll have to memorize will never be of any use to me in the grand scheme of things. But I’ll study them because I want to. I’ll study them because I’m curious about the world, and will never know when that kind of knowledge will come in handy. I study Smash because I’m interested in it. I practice combos because I know they will be useful to me, even just for entertainment purposes. I will study and work on my school work not because “I need to”, but because I truly know that in some way or another, it will be useful to me. And if not, then purely because it feeds my curiosity.

I’ll Always Try To Understand

The generational gap there is between my grandma and my cousins and I became really apparent when she began to rant on how, in her time, people used to talk, a practice that is now completely, utterly abandoned, according to her.

Now, I was reading information on lucid dreaming, mind you, so the whole event was quite ironic.

I love my grandma, but that particular vent showed how much misunderstanding of the new media there is between generations, especially nowadays.

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How I will have to act with my future kids is something I’ve been thinking of a ton since recently, and often helps me make decisions. One thing has been sure for a while, and even more certain now: I will always -at least try to- understand what I will not have grown with, whether it’s an evolved or new form of media, technology, or any invention our crazy world will be able to come up with.

During her rant, my grandma talked about how we don’t really communicate at all nowadays. Thinking this is understandable, but still absurd to me. We have the internet, one of the best and the most efficient form of communication since the invention of the printing press. I am able to share my ideas at lightning speed with people all around the world, to then communicate back with those people, and reply to what they have to say. If that isn’t communication, I don’t know what is.

What my grandma was referring to, however, was the fact my cousin, my sister and I weren’t vocally communicating at that very moment, and thus she drew the conclusion that we never talked to each other because of our screens. Of course, that conclusion only really showed a personal dogma -that she held on modern technology and its effect on communication- instead of an acute observation. I had been talking with my cousin and siblings for the past 5 days and have been doing a lot of activities together. However, that particular morning was a bit slow, so I decided to do some reading on lucid dreaming, something I’m pretty passionate about.

I used a computer because of the convenience of which I could access information; if I had had a book on the subject, I would have read that instead.

Furthermore, we didn’t have anything to tell each other for that particular half hour. That says nothing of what we would have done for the rest of the day. Furthermore, a lack of electronics in that situation would simply have resulted in us not communicating for half an hour, which is perfectly fine. No one communicates for 18 waking hours a day, 7 days a week.

And there comes the heart of the matter: it’s hard to understand what we didn’t grow up with. The rant my grandma entered simply showed us that she didn’t understand all that technology because she didn’t grow up with it, which is understandable and human. Where the disconnect really happened, though, is when she acted as if she understood it, and that it brings nothing to us but negative things. Which is why I am making a mental, now written promise to my future kids:

I will always try to understand that which I did not grow up with. I will be a teacher to them in many aspects of life, but, concerning everything that will be “new, they will likely always be teaching me. I will remain a student all my life, and will never, for as much as possible, think low of anything because of ignorance. The moment I discard what will be popular in 20-40 years as simply being “stupid” and not as good as “when I was younger” I will have taken a huge step back in bettering myself and the control of my thoughts (the ego thinking “it was better in my time”) and emotions (jealousy, anger as a side effect of ignorance).

 

Image Credits: Andreasrocha on Deviantart

It Doesn’t Have To Be New: Zombies Still Sell

There’s a misconception in modern pop culture that in order for something to be successful, it has to be new and original. An app has to be something that’s completely new and never thought of before in order to be downloaded by millions. Except that that’s wrong. It just has to work.

Uber wasn’t the first “Uber”. TaxiMagic came before, but there is a very real difference between the two: first, that one is incredibly successful, and second, that the other required installing hardware in every cab that wanted to participate with the app, while Uber only requires installing it on your phone. One system is easy to setup and use by both consumers and participants, while the other was not as intuitive to use and hard to setup. Uber worked, although TaxiMagic came first.

And there’s the heart of the matter: Zombies still sell, although the idea of a ravaged earth roamed by half dead creatures has been used and reused for a decade now (or even more).

The idea isn’t new anymore, it’s stopped being new the second someone wrote a zombie book or made a zombie movie, yet we still watch, read, and play post-apocalyptic content. Just look at The Walking Dead, the Fallout series, the number of books on the subject in libraries, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, etc…

This blog isn’t anything new on the internet, there are thousands, even millions of them for you to read right now. Yet you read through this article anyways (and I thank you for it if you’ve made it this far).

Because you don’t need a new idea. You just need to make something that works with what already exists.

 

Image Credits: “Zombies, Run!” Pretty cool running app, I’d recommend checking it out.

17, Self-help and Relationships

I feel like I’m seeing a similarity between people my age (17) who share the same common values based around self-help.

What I’m talking about is people who strives to look for ways to improve themselves, their social relations, understanding of the world and harvest their own curiosity; where being mindlessly average is not anywhere near being a possible option.

We may not go towards that goal is the most gracious of manners, nor do we necessarily always do it amazingly, but we try. And when it comes to intimate relationships, I’ve found a similarity for people who share this trait around 17:

We don’t want to settle.

Now, I’m not saying that’s what everyone doing self-help at 17 wants this. Absolutely not. I don’t nearly have enough data to back that up. But that’s what I’ve observed from my direct environment, and I have a theory to why that may be.

The world is big. There’s a lot of knowledge out there. Feeling free of whatever your future might consist of is one of the best feeling that comes with being young, which is why many foster it if they’ve been able to discover it. Tying yourself to someone intimately might seem daunting to someone excited about the possibilities of their future.

We want to see, experience, and do a variety of things, not have to rely on one person and one person only when it comes to experimentation.

Feeding Off Of Uncomfortable Situations

When they concern an action that I did, I feed off of uncomfortable situations, or “mess-ups”.

Sometimes I know I could have “done something else” or “done something better”, but why bother worrying about it? What is done is done, there’s no going back.

Instead, feel good for having pushed yourself or just having lived through an uncomfortable moment, that you will hopefully learn from. It will hopefully set a higher foundation for any future action you want to execute.

“Weird”

“Weird” is a word often used in everyday conversations, however, I have come to find that when the definition of the word changes is a sign of whatever interaction I’m having becoming truly precious.

The everyday definition of the world means not ordinary, often in a slightly or obvious negative sense. There is a sense of rejection with it, as since whatever we’re talking about is weird, we don’t necessarily want anything to do with it, or we don’t wholly agree with it.

  • Yeah, that person is weird.
  • You like pineapple on pizza? That’s weird.

The definition that tells me a discussion is truly valuable is when the word shifts to meaning something out of the ordinary, but not in a negative sense, only as an indicator that whatever we’re talking about is indeed not common, but that it makes it interesting, unique in a way.

  • That picture is weird!
  • I like John. He’s weird, and not afraid to show it.

It’s Easy to be Negative

It’s so easy.

  • If someone lies, it’s extremely easy to give them that label.
  • If you look close enough, it’s extremely easy to find something wrong with the world worth complaining about (especially if you can’t do anything about it).
  • If your job frustrates you, it’s extremely easy to complain about it whenever you get home.
  • If your life -as of right now- frustrates you, oh how easy it is to take it out on your friends, siblings, spouse, parents, your kids, or even random strangers, whether it’d be a waiter in a restaurant or a clerk working at the bank.

It’s hard to do the opposite. It’s hard, and it takes a lot of humility. But one one hand, negativity brings nothing but negative outcomes (oh, how ironic):

  • No one will want to be around you. Negativity isn’t fun to be around.
  • No one will listen to you. If they do, they’re either also negative and only really care about their negative view of the world, or they’re your therapist.
  • The complaining won’t fulfill you. In fact, it will make you feel even emptier, needing more and more negativity to justify and fill the growing hole inside of your chest.
  • People will despise you. If your frustration brings you to the point of having to always complain about the little “wrong” things people do and never focus on anything good, trust me, they will.

The Cockroach Dilemma

It’s right there, staring you in the face. You would never think it would have to come to this moment. Yet, here you are. And you have to get rid of it.

You don’t want to be anywhere near it, but you don’t want it in your immediate space.

So you force yourself to dispose of it, setting aside your disgust for just a second in order to kill it or to dispatch it to a location other than your house.

What you don’t want to think about is how many are living peacefully near you, out of your sight.

We have many problems and demons that control our everyday lives. Yet, there are many we don’t take care of. Like the hidden cockroaches, we tolerate them, because we don’t truly want to see them, and only take care of them once they become a real threat.

The problem with that is; the nest is what needs to be addressed, not only the few that wander outside of it, as it can also provide the protagonist with a false sense of security; of a “job well done”.

Gut First, Mind Later

There comes a time when letting your mind quack about a situation becomes highly counterproductive. Whether you’re in class with a question burning the inside of your skull, or debating whether or not you should approach that good looking girl in a club, your mind, then, won’t help. You have to listen to your gut. Not even that, because your gut doesn’t require listening, as it has no words to offer, only impulses and feelings. If I say “listening”, this might lead you to accidentally listen to your brain instead.

No, you shouldn’t listen to your gut, but feel it instead.

Feel your gut, shut your brain up.

When introduced to an impulse you know will be doubted and overthought by your brain, feel it. Experience it in all its glory. Then execute on it. And what your brain would try to tell you about it.

 

Working At Midnight

I love working at midnight.

While during the day, my brain constantly nags me to grab my phone, to watch videos that were just posted or snapchat stories that were just updated; at midnight, many people have gone to sleep.

And my brain finally decides to focus.

No sounds in the house except for the constant hum of the fan spiraling above my head. Sure, there are always people at the other side of the globe (or just watching Netflix late at night) to release content no matter how late it is for you, but when darkness finally rises outside my window, my brain shuts down its daytime worries and finally enters focus mode.

If not for the sleepiness eventually imposing itself when ignored for too long, 1AM would be my best time to get any type of work done.

 

 

Photo credit: Lucas Gallone