I’ve been harping for a couple years about how vulnerable we can all be to the lure of getting “Whatever we want, Whenever and Wherever” (The New WWW). Even though it’s human nature to want what we want (all of it!), there’s some point in every life (that lasts long enough) when a person realizes that this doesn’t lead to happiness. I turn to Martin Seligman’s research on Authentic Happiness which points out that people typically try four approaches to find happiness: 1) pursue pleasure, 2) put meaning into actions, 3) engage in activities that stretch us into “flow experiences,” and 4) serve something larger than ourselves. All but the first work. And we all think (at least sometimes) that getting/doing/having something will make us happy. But the separation of “us” and “whatever” creates a duality that insures unhappiness (“I’m not complete without that“).
I’ve just read the most powerful statement on this subject I’ve ever seen. Posted on a blog, this fellow provides a View from the Top: what it’s like to be successful at the most popular online game, World of Warcraft. Not just what it’s like, but why after a year as a leader in a position of power and respect, he gave it up.
When I started playing, I was working towards getting into the best shape of my life (and making good progress, too). Now a year later, I’m about 30 pounds heavier that I was back then, and it is not muscle. I had a lot of hobbies including DJing (which I was pretty accomplished at) and music as well as writing and martial arts. I haven’t touched a record or my guitar for over a year and I think if I tried any Kung Fu my gut would throw my back out. Finally, and most significantly, I had a very satisfying social life before.
It’s a tale of addiction realized. As powerful as his blog entry is, once you read it, take a look at the scrollbar and see how much of the page is yet to come. I did a quick copy/paste of the text on the page and it came out to 234 pages!
I think this should be required reading for everyone who suspects they might be addicted to online gaming (or gambling, drinking, drugs, eating, exercise, etc.).
With the opportunity to do “whatever” they want, our children face temptations we were fortunate we never had to confront.