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…
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.