Level Up?

Maple Story Character

I got an email from one of my sons today. Doug is serving on a mission for our church in Eugene, Oregon. I thought I’d share part of his letter.

I know that the missionaries here think I know a lot about plants from what I learned from Mom. I can name a lot of berries and other plants, because I have firsthand experience with them. Believe it or not, working on the land was more fun to me than playing computer games ever was (and I know perfectly well how fun they can be), mostly because playing computer games never gave me real life knowledge or real life skills that I can use for the rest of my life. For example, in an RPG style game, you basically try to develop your character making them the best you can. How much cooler is it when you develop your own character? When you inrease your own attributes and increase your skill level? Yes it takes a little more work than pushing a few buttons on the keyboard, and it is relaxing, but nowhere near as fulfilling, or lasting. If you win the computer game, you get bored again. If you win life, you will have everlasting happiness.”

I’d never thought of it that way, but Doug makes perfect sense. Look how much care people put into developing their virtual characters. Make them stronger, better armor, potions, wisdom, speed etc. Addicting. But what if we put that same focus on developing our own personal characters. No you can’t build up your strenth with a few die rolls nor develop talents through random numbers floating through cyberspace. But the cool thing is that it isn’t left up to chance. You have control.

Want to be stronger, healthier? Push yourself away from the computer and get some exercise, eat good food.

Want to learn to write? Start a blog and get some practice. Read.

Want to improve your woodworking skill? get out the hammer and nails, make something.

You want to be a kinder person? Say something nice to everyone you meet, all day. Genuine words, not say something nice to get something in return.

Take the level up challenge. Whatever it is you’d like to do to improve your character, just do it! Time, effort, sweat and tears, but you’ll make it. Feels good.

The Misfits. The Rebels. The Troublemakers.

Steve Jobs

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do…. “

Steve Jobs

Thinking back, I’m so glad we (this is Heidi speaking) moved and switched schools for my kids, if we hadn’t I’d have checked into homeschooling. Picture a kindergartner sitting in the principal’s office all day because he wouldn’t say he was sorry for jumping off the side of the steps. He wasn’t sorry, he wanted to jump down the last 2 steps, he wasn’t going to lie. And I imagine a hyperactive, ultra-curious 5 year old was more of a punishment to his office staff than the 5 year old. The principal told me I had the most stubborn child he’s ever met in all his years of teaching.

Picture his sister staying inside from recess because she didn’t finish her morning’s busywork and thinking she’d never have any money or amount to anything. Why so slow? Because part of morning’s activity was to draw a picture to go with the short poem they copied. She’d draw a masterpiece while her classmates quickly scribbled.

By middle school, the stair jumping boy was heavily into origami, making dragons and other cool creatures during class, teaching himself to program on a dial-up computer at night.

His sister, without any musical training, learned to play songs by ear, both hands. She also composed her own piano piece which won an award in the school’s talent show.

Their siblings are each unique, but all have strong creative minds. I’m proud of each and everyone. They aren’t the only ones. I feel it is a human quality. This drive, this need to be something, do something, no matter if it has been done before or not. To find your unique work, your calling. Old. Young. Rich. Poor.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.
“If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.”
Steve Jobs

iShocked. iMourn. iGrieve. iSad.

iSad to hear of Steve Jobs’ passing. I want to challenge each and everyone one of you this week, try something new, something you’ve never done before, but wanted to try. Don’t just stick your big toe in the water to check the temp, jump right in, you know it is where you want to be. So what if you make a mistake, we all do. Learn from it!

Steve Jobs, Apple founder dies

Steve Jobs photo by Ben Stanfield

“iShocked. iMourn. iGrieve. iSad.” thanks to SunnyC