Monday, February 24, 2014


Small steps.

One of my absolute favourite movies ever is Contact. It isn't because it's aliens or Sci-Fi or even that Carl Sagan's book sits behind it (which I've never read, I know) it's all down to the central conceit, which if I reveal it would pretty much spoil the entire point of watching the film. You really should, if you never have, because it uses a great many things to make the viewer question some fairly fundamental tenets of life. Belief underpins just about everything we do as human beings, and it isn't about the love of your deity of choice or that your team will carry away the top prize. Believing in yourself is pretty fundamental to a worthwhile existence, and that process begins early on for all of us.

Thing 1, meet Thing 2.

From time to time I am obliged to remind my eight year old that although the thing she cannot do may SEEM impossible at the current point in time, this will change. After all, not very long ago she couldn't walk, or read, or draw nearly as well as she can now. The things that have helped teach her self-belief are constants for all of us: I learnt from the good Doctor as I'm sure many of you did, and Richard Scarry, and all number of Classic Fairy Tales that reinforce the life lessons that as children we often return to as adults. As the number of choices we are forced to make becomes all the more complex, it is comforting to reflect on these constants as a reminder that however hard things may seem, there is always a way you can succeed if you really try. However, as grown ups it is easy to forget things can ever be that simple, especially when surrounded by circumstances that are often out of your control. Then it is often sensible just to walk away, and not push for success, because you can easily convince yourself that the effort is not worth what you perceive as the eventual reward.

Trust me when I say to you I know how this feels.

Wrath Hunter. NO clue.

I am constantly not good enough. Back in Wrath I used to hide behind my inadequacies with all number of excuses, but people would call me out. My Husband would encourage me to try the hard stuff, but I'd find an excuse to walk away. In fact, there's one Achievement in my log that still remains undone because of just that. It's Rapid Defense from Wyrmrest Temple just because I got SO frustrated at it I determined it was impossible. That's the problem when you don't believe you're capable, everything becomes increasingly more complicated to complete, even when the actions themselves are massively trivial. However, many things have improved since the days of bad co-ordination and stupidly out of proportion belts. I still have my days of self-doubt, but they are fewer and further between. I still get depressed at my inability to complete content, but instead of letting it beat me I find a way to beat it, because IT IS ONLY A GAME DAMMIT and if I can do it here I can achieve more taxing stuff in the Real World.... and you know what? It works! There are countless tales of people who have used games to help them overcome real-life issues. You can become more self-assured, find it easier to cope with life changes, and gain the confidence to pursue new directions in which to travel. The key to all this however isn't the game, or indeed life itself: it's you.

The Man means business. HE DOES.

There will be some reading who won't believe I suffer from such issues, I know there will, because you've heard me on Podcasts or read me on Twitter and will think 'nah, she's just doing this for attention.' You have to take me on trust when I say to you I get so nervous sometimes I'm physically sick. I still get depressed enough to lock myself away and cry for hours and utterly disbelieve my ability to accomplish ANYTHING, but then the small voice inside of me will kick in that is my reason, or my Husband will make me feel awesome, or my kids will remind me of just what a great place this is to live and be in. Letting fear rule your actions is often unavoidable, but it doesn't have to cripple you and it shouldn't be a reason to be less worthy than you are. All of these multiple fears can be used as fuel to feed your own strengths and make yourself understand that if you can believe in yourself, there really is nothing that is impossible, wherever you happen to be at the time. Yes, I sound like a particularly sappy Kids TV Show, but the fact remains the lessons from childhood are there for a reason. Actually, being in control of your virtual life's not a bad place to start in the business of self improvement, at least I don't think so. Now, if I could only find a way for it to pay the bills... ^^

But I digress, and finally we are back to the reason why I wrote this post to begin with.

To the person who is considering not buying the Expansion because they don't feel they'll be good enough in solo content, I find myself wondering how much in common we might have. To the Guildie who fights self-doubt and anxiety about their abilities: I hear you. Why we fight play is something distinctly personal and utterly unique, and this shouldn't be about people walking away because they feel they're not able to complete what's asked of them. This needs to be about helping these individuals to ask for help, and feel as if they can do this in an environment that is conducive to change. I will admit yesterday that maybe I was too harsh with my condemnation, that actually these has to be some measure of understanding that goes beyond the simple exclamation of 'you need to do X to do Y' For me, at least, the way I have moved forward is the return to the childhood values: when you fall down, you get up and try again. You don't walk away. You take strength from both victory and defeat. How can you make those who will not believe they are capable of great things ever grasp the power they can posses if they have belief in themselves? You can't. That is up to them, and up to us to help when they do. What you can do however is listen.

It is easy to assume that the people complain do it for one reason alone. The reality is often a long way from the perception. Perhaps when someone you know comments that the new restrictions are too hard or unfair, you shouldn't simply dismiss the comment or agree and change the subject. Maybe you should take the time to ask them WHY they think that way.

You might be surprised at the answer if you do.




Grimmtooth said...

Wow. Your friend, who might not buy WoD over the difficulty, might live in my head somewhere.

I always get fidgety when they start addressing what I perceive as the central conceits of the more advanced raiders. Somewhere inside I know there is no need for concern (I have faith that Blizz will fail at that like all other social engineering tasks they have undertaken) but there's always the doubt. I'm only moderately competent when given a challenge in raiding to push improvement, and that's not happened so much lately (not the challenge part - the raiding). So when it looks like they're pushing a progression-raiding-induced agenda, I feel doubts. My social circle doesn't roll that way.

BTW, on the book. You avoid spoiling the movie, but the BOOK has an even BETTER spoiler at the end, but I suspect it was withheld from the movie because they weren't up to the challenge of translating THAT into dialog, since it was a dialog-less discovery. Kinda like the caveman with the bone at the Monolith, but without the monolith, the bone, or the monkey.

Go. Read. Enjoy :)

R said...

I've always been a nervous raider... I get a knot in my stomach leading up to a raid and the only thing that releases it is the first wipe of the night due to stupid...

... even if it's me who caused it. No clue what it's about but that first stupid wipe of the night is what relaxes me, although it does ease over time on clean runs, too.

Solo scenarios, on the other hand? No audience, all the time in the world, no social cost to failing... bring those on. I do some of my best work when I'm alone.*

Also, Contact was the first movie I ever bought on DVD, one of my faves as well although I still have very little idea of what any of it means. Didn't even realize it was supposed to mean anything. :)

@Grimm - PGs are just competency checks, especially at bronze and silver... if you can push the buttons, even if you don't have the reflexes of a 14-year old, you should be fine. For that matter, if you were able to do Cataclysm heroics with some measure of success, you should be okay. I wasn't, I *HATED* those beyond words and avoided them whenever possible, due as much to my own performance as that of others. PGs, though? No problem. Easiest way to tell... go do silver PG and hopefully put your mind at ease. :)

[*] No, that's just your dirty mind. STOP IT. [(c)GM]