I listed many life lessons we’ve learned from tiny pretend people, but this one is so important, it earned its own post.
Doing what you love and accomplishing your goals is fun.
I actually anti-learned this lesson from the Sims. I had a gardener, Max, who’s life goal was to have a perfect garden. She was a hippie vegetarian granola girl with a green thumb, who loved the outdoors and enjoyed solitude, loved to read, and got her socialization from talking to her plants.
But when she worked in her garden, her fun meter went down.
When she read non-fiction books to learn skills, her fun meter went down.
When she read fiction, her fun meter went up. When she played on the computer, which wasn’t really in her nature, her fun meter went up.
This was extremely annoying to me. She’s a gardener. Reading books about gardening and working in her garden helped her achieve her life goal.
Why didn’t that make her happy?
Well, Sims 3 is a life simulator.
It’s simulating regular life. And (apparently) in regular life, you have to separate fun from work. You work and it sucks, then you go have fun and it’s fun.
Max works in her garden and it sucks – even though she’s outside, even though she’s enjoying solitude, even though she’s listening to her favorite music, even though she’s doing what she loves. Because it’s “work”. When she reads non-fiction, even though she loves to read, it’s “work”.
She finally took up guitar because that was more aligned with her heart than playing on the computer – but the first few levels weren’t fun, because she was learning.
And before Max, I had a writer who didn’t enjoy writing! What?!
So what did I learn from all this?
Learning and work aren’t fun. And if I learned that so vividly, I can only imagine what it’s teaching our children and teenagers – thousands of whom are playing this game.
But you know what?
It’s Control Paradigm bullshit. It’s all lies. It’s not true. It’s what we grow up witnessing and what we might believe – but it’s wrong.
Learning is vital. It keeps us changing, growing, and in motion. And work! Working is what brings us closer to our goals, helps us achieve our dreams!
I’m not saying it’s all fun and games. I know it can suck – I’ve been there. I’ve had jobs that required me to go home and veg out for hours just to recover. I’ve had jobs that sucked my soul and made me cry on my commute every day.
But what I’m saying is, it doesn’t have to suck.
Pace pointed out that I’m probably in the 1% of people who even noticed that my Sims don’t love their work – most people are so entrenched in “work sucks” that they just assume work sucks, and of course you need a computer to have fun! And of course, our kids particularly feel that way.
And all that breaks my heart.
We live in a paradigm where work is occasionally fulfilling but often not – and certainly not fun regardless. We live in a paradigm where recreation is fun but not fulfilling. And we live in a paradigm where most people don’t even know that it can get better.
Time for a paradigm shift, don’t you think?