Anyone who has played the game Dragon’s Dogma will know what I’m talking about: 80% of the game is backtracking on the same linear roads over and over again while battling the same enemies in the same spots over and over again.
Dragon’s Dogma is an open world RPG with no fast(er) traveling system, and sprinting is not infinite.
Because of this, you have to travel by foot for basically the entire game. Got a fetch quest? Better run. Got a main quest? Get your boots ready. Just wanna explore the map? Be ready for 2 hours of running around.
Some people love it. Some people really don’t. Personally, if the game had more variety in roads, I’d like it a lot more. But I don’t, because it’s the exact same roads over and over again.
Yet anyone who’s played it will tell you that suffering through this is worth it. Why? Because: boss battles.
The boss battles in this game are amazing. I won’t talk about them in detail here, but all you need to know is that they are absolutely worth the hassle for many, many players. Which made me think. The entire game, you’re forced to do mostly the same thing over and over again, to work your way up a reward being a really satisfying experience, and one that gives you the feeling to have been well earned.
I am not an expert on the subject of success. Being an average eleventh grader in high schools, I do not have have the first-hand experience to make the comparison I’m about to make. But the process of enjoying the grind and enjoying the journey that’s present in Dragon’s Dogma reminded me a lot of the way successful people like Gary Vaynerchuk talk about having to enjoy and grind through the work that leads to success.
The grind – running on the same roads over and over again, learning at what interval you need to stop sprinting to not run out of breath in-game. Fighting the same enemies, over and over again, on the same exact spots. Learning from your mistakes after countless deaths and approching them at different angles with different strategies. All of these seem to directly compare with the real grind that successful people talk about having to go through. Running the same road is, like Gary Vaynerchuk would put it, doing what you love or are passionate about over and over again until it brings you results. Fighting the same enemies and dying is encountering obstacles and learning to overcome them. I didn’t say it previously, but many of them you can avoid. You’ll run into some eventually, as many are scattered throughout the map, but you do not have to fight all of them.
You can probably even think, right now, of real life obstacles that you bring on yourself but that are, in reality, avoidable. I’m sure you can also think of non-avoidable ones that you have to learn or have learned, to manage.
The progress – although the process is long and repetitive, progress comes along once in a while to remind you the reason why you’re doing what you’re doing. A little level up, and a few new unlockable skills. A new and different way to play the game will unlock for you: the ability to change class. Been clashing at golbins with a sword this entire time? You can now learn to obliterate them with devastating thunder and ice spells. It’s this variety that changes everything. The grind is nothing without progress. It’s through this that you realize there’s a reason for doing what you’re doing. If you put the work in, it does pay off. If you keep on working and looking for opportunities, they will eventually arise. They may take a while, a long while, but they will eventually come.
It’s also important to note that progress also includes learning from your mistakes. Although it may seem obvious, forgetting this part of progress can become a good reason to quit the grind and forget why you started in the first place.
The boss battle – You’ve been doing your homework. Whether the work was enjoyable or not, you’ve been doing it without fault, learning from mistakes and not giving up. When opportunities arose, you took them. When progress was possible, you made it happen. Now comes the best part of all: the boss battle.
The boss battle is what you’ve been working towards. It’s thought to be your biggest task of all. You approach it with a good state of mind. You have no idea how though it will be, but you know it’s what you’ve wanted.
However, as the battle unfolds, you might realize something. Although it is though, it is nothing completely new. You know most of it. Or at least, if you don’t know how to beat the challenge, you know how to find out. You might even realize that it’s not that difficult at all. Although it may be long, and you might have to go at it for a while, without pause, you have previously put the time and effort in to have that not be out of your abilities. The difficulty of the battle isn’t a problem, because you know to fight through it, and have even learned to enjoy the most boring and repetitive of processes.
To summarize, Dragon’s Dogma is a good reflection of how real life success is achieved. I realize the irony of comparing people like Gary Vaynerchuk to a video game but bear with me. Being able to use things like DD to motivate you in the real world is to me the key against procrastination and lack of motivation.
Imagine this. You might not know what you’re working towards right now. You might not know what you want to accomplish. But you know there’s something. Or maybe you just have a bunch of work you’ve been putting off for a week. Consider this: do it now. No, it may not be enjoyable. Yes, it may be boring. Yes, you may not enjoy it. At the end of the day, you might not even have a necessarily good outcome coming out of the work (bad results, bad grade) but that’s all part of the game. Learn from it. Keep going. Grow yourself a vision. Because at the end of the day, once you’ll have gotten to that boss battle, you’ll wonder why you thought it wouldn’t be worth it in the first place.