My belief is that games can be a valuable learning tool for running a business and not merely wasting time.
Yes, business is serious. There are so many things to consider – sales, marketing revenue, employees taxes, legal issues, and so on. Sometimes we can lose sight of the essential aspects of business and forget to allow for time to enjoy the things that bring us to balance in our lives.
This balance can be achieved in many ways, including walking, visiting our family and friends, or playing online games. When I feel overwhelmed, I turn off the computer and play a video game. Although I admit that I am not a professional gamer, it is something I enjoy doing. It can be addictive, and I don’t know if I would ever get any work done. What I found fascinating is how these games have helped me to learn more about myself and my ways of handling situations. It has also subtly changed the way I approach my business.
These are some of the lessons I have learned along the journey.
Lesson One – Perspective
Sometimes it can be challenging to see the forest for the trees. Sometimes we get overwhelmed and don’t know how to solve the problem. Jigsaw puzzles provided me with the extra dimension that I needed. How many times have you looked at a piece of the unknown and thought, “That won’t fit there”, it’s too small, the wrong shape or color? But, when we get closer, we can see that it somehow merges, and then we just need to flip it around, and presto! It fits perfectly. It’s important not to discount any solution. I also learned to see things from different angles and to not reject them until I have actually tried them.
Lesson Two – Focus
My mind wanders all the time, and I don’t know if it is you. One thought leads to another, and before I know what, I’m miles from where I started. Although it is delightful, my imagination takes over. Hidden object games are a great way to do this. These games are challenging and require a lot of focus to find the object. It’s easy to forget how you missed it until you find it. The object just appears to leap out at you. Our eyes see only what we expect, and our minds can make it difficult to see other things. My eyes are used to seeing the exact same paragraph over and over again and don’t make a mistake. I have been able to sharpen my focus skills by learning to concentrate on one thing at a time and not allowing my eyes to wander.
Lesson 3 – Strategy
This particular lesson has made me a lot more frustrated than usual. These games require you to meet deadlines or complete specific tasks. You have many options, whether you’re building a village, running an airport or a supermarket. You can lose customers and cause your product to go to waste if you don’t plan. These games can help you prioritize your priorities. Procrastination is not an option. These games are beneficial in business because they helped me to see what was most important and how to adapt to changing priorities.
Lesson Four – Memory
Hidden object games are great for this purpose. These games often repeat the same objects. This prevents you from having to do it again if you run out of time. It helps you to focus on the thing and fix the information in your brain for the next game. Even though I had not played a particular game in a while, I could still recall where particular objects were when I returned to it. Learning to focus can help you remember things.
Lesson Five – Concentration
The total concentration required to play games or be a part of them is something that people who do so often come to realize. When you are entirely focused on the game, all outside distractions disappear. This is an essential lesson for business owners: to be able to focus on the task at hand without allowing distractions to distract. You must love what you do. Concentration is difficult to sustain if the subject matter is not of interest to you. Then distractions can be a source of joy rather than a nuisance.
Lesson Six – Courage
These words were written many years ago, and I still remember them. Anyone who has ever played video games knows that characters jump over ravines and climb up steep cliffs to fight big, ferocious beasts. All without worrying about the consequences: while I don’t advocate risking your life or limb, you probably get the idea. Imagine if we could run our businesses with no fear and focus on what is correct at the time. We can trust that our companies are safe and we will not be hurt. It doesn’t necessarily mean that a business that isn’t functional or necessary will survive; but, we would know that there would be another direction and something better. This wouldn’t be liberating.
Lesson Seven: Living in the Now
Even with strategy games, I found that my focus was more on the moment and a bit of the future. There are no five-year plans or one-year plans! The next move in the game was affected by my focus on the moment. Only one or two steps ahead were all I needed to know, and then the game would decide what my next move should be. Although projections and business planning are valuable tools, they can only be used to make educated guesses about where our company is heading. Unexpected opportunities may pass us by if they are not strictly followed. This has taught me to evaluate my business month-by-month and not look too far into the future. The future will be taken care of if I am able to keep my finger on what is happening in my business right now and take the necessary positive actions.
Lesson Eight – Delegation
I also learned the art and skill of delegation. There is often more than one character in some games, so you can switch between them depending on their abilities. Each person has different talents, tools, and gifts. Some are better suited for certain situations than others. The game is free from ego, and there is no need to feel like you know better than anyone else. The likelihood of the character being involved in an inappropriate situation is that they will be fired. In real life, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Let’s not forget about our weaknesses! This will make everyone happy, and no one is forced to do jobs they don’t like or aren’t good at. It also means that nobody has to be stuck doing work they don’t enjoy, which can ultimately affect their self-esteem and confidence. This is not to mention the adverse effects on morale and company culture.
Games can be a helpful tool to help us gain self-knowledge. However, they should not be used in place of human interaction. I believe that the game type is crucial.
An experiment was done years ago to determine the effects of video gaming on children in schools. The children were probably in their teens. They were divided into two groups, one playing a sports game and one playing a war game. The teacher was played by an actor, and all children were invited into his office individually throughout the session. He kept a box of pencils at his desk, and he accidentally threw it over each time. The results were dramatic. All the children who were playing the game went to pick them up. The children who were playing the war game overlooked the pencils and refused to help.