Hey there mister or missus. Funny seeing you here on this website again. I was just in the area and decided I wanted to talk about some mental health stuff. Do you wanna join me little fella?
Let’s get into the meat and potatoes of how psychology interacts with the silly little games we play. To start, I got something really heavy to get off of my chest. Its been following me around ever since IT happened, and I think that a website where a guy who shouts, “NO, I’M LUCKY,” is the only place I can really get it out there responsibly, you know?
Ok, here it goes. I went to school for a really long time to become an actual real life doctor and read books like a big, smelly nerd.
I am sorry you have to find out this way. Please don’t tell my mom. She will ground me for sure if she finds out how much money I spend on student loans and smelly books.
Nah, but seriously this was something that I was asked to talk about for a little while now. I am technically qualified to talk about how this stuff works, and I actually LOVE to talk about it. I consider ways of coming up with ways to talk about how humans work a little bit of a game. Humans have been making and playing games as long as we have existed. In fact, most animals play games. It’s only natural that we want to break up the monotony of life with some “horseplay.” The Status Game by Will Storr actually goes over the fact that almost everything we do is considered a game by the brain.
These games are actually responsible for alot of modern day problems. And lets face it, modern day problems require modern day solutions. Having low levels of status have been linked with anxiety and just kinda being a really sad boi. The problems that we as gamers can have with playing these games is that we start to take this game a little too seriously. Who hasn’t been to an event where they play the guy who is white-knuckled while rolling his dice because he is getting angry that his little plastic shooty man isn’t pew pewing as well as he needs for him to take the gold medal. This kind of stuff can be avoided with proper goal setting. If you know what you are after, it is much easier to avoid having a mental breakdown in the game store bathroom.
I can attest to the fact that miniature gaming is probably the greatest source of enjoyment in my entire life. I have dedicated a sizable portion of my life to gaming and gaming accessories. Recently, I had to stop and ponder so I could learn by talking to that handsome devil on the back of my soup spoon. I like to show up and pretend I can bring the heat at the game table if I really wanted to, but it has become apparent that I have not been trying to achieve the right kinds of goals. I have learned that the reason I go to events and tournaments is because I love the people and the community that is fostered by some of the nicest and brightest people I have ever met. I have to start making people and enjoyment the goal instead of going there to smash everyone else with my gaming skills and walking out of the store as it explodes behind while not looking.
So you might be asking, “Dr. D, just because you like spending time around people you like, why are you typing out a article on being less competitive?”
Well if you would let me finish I was about to get to that.
Some inner monologues these days, sheesh.
What it means dear readers is that I was inspired to share my knowledge on ways to be less miserable. Especially in places that we go to escape the harshness of life so we can roll dice and scream really loudly. It can make the difference between thinking like a “competitive” gamer and what makes someone a “big ol’ silly billy playing in the sandpit.” I think that if you can correctly identify what you are trying to do, you will have a much easier time of achieving what you are trying to do.
Due to the fact that I am a scientist I made a fancy chart to illustrate one of the concepts we will be going over in this article. This is my perspective on what I interpret as fun.
After you let your brain process it’s magnificent demonstration of perspective I think we should talk about goal setting why following through is important.
Concept #1: Everything is Perspective and Status
This is where we need to start when we talk about setting an appropriate goal. Let’s consider something you enjoy. Thankfully since I am a doctor I know literally everything about everyone on the earth so I am just going to pick something out of your head. I know YOU really enjoy rolling around in mud you wierdo. Now, lets consider that some people out there do not enjoy a long session of rolling around in the mud made by a recent rain. Its one of those heavy summer rains too where you can feel the ain around you turn into a swamp. Does that make the who do not enjoy this wrong?
Lets be honest, probably, but lets consider that maybe they have a point.
The important thing to consider in this weird example is that there is a community of people who enjoy rolling around in the mud. The human brain is designed to start attributing a hierarchy to who is the BEST at rolling around in the mud. The most legendary mud roller is going to have chemicals releasing in his brain that tells him he is doing a great job because he is the best mud roller that has ever lived. This man could potentially be living a very average life in every other aspect of his life, but DAMN DOES THAT BOY LOVE SOME MUD!
Why is this important?
Because this is the sneaky part of our lives where satisfaction and well-being can be hidden away.
Lets look at something more relevant, do you ENJOY competitive levels of miniature gaming? Have you ever stopped to consider why this might be the case? If you enjoy competitive gaming it may be because you enjoy the status of being known as a great player for your selected game. Lets say you win LVO for Marvel Crisis Protocol (MCP). You are now in the spotlight as one of the best players for all of MCP. You have put in the work and managed to beat other people who have high levels of status in the MCP world
Do you think being known as one bad mamma jamma for your favorite game wouldn’t make you feel great? People wanting to sleep in your suitcase and do your taxes for you? At least I think that is how popularity works. MCP has a large community associated with it, and this means that you are going to gain alot of status if you manage to prove that you are the best.
Now, lets consider a group that I am currently a part of. I am one of the highest status members of drowning while taking a shower.
I just look up and forget what I am doing and it just kinda happens, but damn if I am not good at it. The point I am getting to is that while I may be the best at learning how to talk with my lungs full of water, I am not going to get alot of status because no one cares except for my physicians. The level of satisfaction I would get from being the greatest drowner of all time would not give me any sense of satisfaction, and making the goal of improving in this field won’t give me much in the way of happiness.
Point is, you need to make sure that you know what your goals are going to get you. Are you looking to please yourself or are you looking to become a legend in the world of smashing little men together? Lets just say its best to start small and love yourself before you think you can get others to love you.
Concept #2: Lets Set Some Goals
Now a goal is important because it provides framework for whatever you are trying to do. You will notice that if you go into something just going by feeling you are going to have a much higher chance of becoming upsetti spaghetti. Lets me create an example.
You want to enter a painting contest with a model.
Sounds easy, and it can be as long as you set your goals correctly. It is an important distinction to notice I did not say WIN a painting a contest. If you are someone who is looking to up your model painting skills it is always a good idea to give yourself some a specific definition on what you are trying to do. If you are still a budding model hobbyist, you might want to increase your skill so that people will compliment (status) your model’s paint jobs at the next game day. You can enter your model with no intention of winning, but you know that you need a specific deadline and event to light the fire under your butt. Goals are an EXCELLENT way to give yourself some structure and a way to measure your improvements since you can point directly at your previous self and say, “I couldn’t do that before, therefore; I have achieved my goal.”
I admit I have never met someone who unironically used the word therefore in a sentence so I have to say your vocal syntax is very impressive.
So you pick a model, and you decided to try a new technique like glazing or painting your model with your toes. I admit I still have trouble with that one myself, but I know I will get it eventually. You know that you have a deadline of a month since that is when the big event is happening. You get the supplies you need to do it and put it all on the table. You are ready to put some paint on a model.
An actually personal example of this was when I was entering The Worthy for the first time. I was well aware of the difficulty of actually winning something that big, so I made sure my goal was something much more obtainable. My goal was to ENTER The Worthy with a model. It was my first BIG event painting contest, and I knew that simply entering a model would be good enough for me to say it was worth it. This is perspective and why it is important. If I had decided I was going to win every category of The Worthy, and showed up on Sunday to see I had not even placed, well, talk about disappointment. Instead I walked away a winner because I achieved my own personal goal.
Concept #3: Lets MEET Some Goals
It is important to note that if you set a goal, it is very important that you do not brag about setting the goal. You can tell the people closest to you, but the brain is a tricky little pink meatball. If you start bragging about how you are going to enter the contest because you want to blah blah blah………, your brain is going to release that sweet, sweet dopamine hit directly into your feel good centers. This can easily cause people to fall through with their plans. Bragging about your goal could directly hurt your ability to perform the actual goal.
The big problem with this is that the feel good you get from bragging is much more transient since you will know you didn’t follow through, and it isn’t even the real stuff. You brain is just giving you pity dopamine. The amount of greatness you feel when you actually finish a hard-won goal is going to be something you remember as you are in a rocking chair with your grandkids in your twilight years.
Instead of being a big bragasarus rex, you should DO SOMETHING WITH YA LIFE YA BUM. I don’t think I am really breaking any laws of physics here when I say that you should follow through with the things you say you are going to do. If you achieve your goals, and slowly build upon them you are going to notice life will be much sweeter. If you goal is to win Las Vegas open, you might want to start with winning a single game. Setting an unatainable goal like that is failing at step one. Your perspective is out of whack and you are going to set yourself for a whole lot of disappointment.
Sorry we had to talk about something so heavy, but I had a need……a need for helping others achieve a better life. I love you guys and if you managed to read the whole thing I have to say I really do appreciate it. If you found something useful out of this please send this article to a friend or loved one since these concepts can be used in literally all parts of your life. The best way to use this kind of stuff is to actually applying it whenever you get a chance. I know I have personal goals, and achieving them one by one is one of the ways I keep myself going in this rat race we call life.
What are some of your goals? Are they achievable? Do they carry weight for you? I truly hope so, and if not I hope my article helps you change the way you see these things since it really can be a great tool for living a successful life.
Alright buckos, I gotta stop typing and get back to setting some goals for the next big thing in my life. Trying to become the galaxy’s best shower drownererer.
That’s what they call a callback joke.
Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help with setting goals or want to talk shop. You guys make all of this work and man would I love to help you feel like your are getting the best service you can for the amazing price of FREE.
Keep it popping folks!
Great article fleshing out the true reason for playing tabletop games. As well as inspiring those to “pick a target” so to speak, and accomplish something within reach to lead to your ultimate goal. Well done!
I love this article and I love you. Your humor mixed with actual scientificy factoids about life and such is inspirational. I now have made a goal to drown more than you in the shower.
While I support your goal-setting to beat me in this. I have now set goals to make sure you never obtain this goal. I am drowning better than ever BABY!