Monday, November 23, 2009

Passion gaming and work

This post was inspired by yet another musing of the chatty dm. Go over and give it a read whether you are a gamer or not.

I need to share a secret with you: I am a nerd. I love my gadgets, sci fi movies, fantasy novels, comic books and I still play D&D. For those of you unfamiliar with D&D or RPG's (Role Playing Game) of any sort here is a quick and very general primer. Think of it as improvisational acting. One person controls all aspects of the story save one: the main characters. This person is called a GM (Game Master) or DM (Dungeon Master) or Storyteller depending on whose rules you are using. The main characters or party is made up of the rest of the players; they react to the plot that the GM develops. In turn the GM reacts to their actions and in this way the story progresses. To make things more challenging and more realistic we use all those funny shaped dice to simulate fate and luck.

It takes a lot of time and effort to be a good GM and concoct a story that could branch in any way depending on the player’s action. On top of that you need to be ready to improvise when the party does something you never expected them to. I have been the GM for many different players over the years and love it but after reading Chatty's latest post found myself wondering why I do not use the skills I have learned as a GM to improve other areas of my life.

I spent many years managing restaurants and dealing with a staff of over 50 but I will be honest and say that I was not that good at it. Sure I could handle the rush and make an unhappy customer leave with a smile on their face but other management skills such as communication and organization were lacking. The problem as I see it is an absence of passion for the work I was doing. I had the organizational skills to put a campaign together, and at the table I could enforce the rules and communicate my visions of hydras and orcs to the players. However since I dreaded the job I did not put out the same level of effort in to it. All I wanted was to rush through the day to get back to doing what I wanted to do.

My lesson for today is that I must approach each activity in my life, be it work, play or relationships with the same energy and commitment as the things I truly love. While this may be hard or seem unrealistic the very act of acting exited about what we have to do will help us really feel exited bout it. As Gretchen points out at the Happiness project:

Although we presume that we act because of the way we feel, in fact, we often feel because of the way we act. More than a century ago, philosopher and psychologist William James described this phenomenon: “Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not.” By acting as if you feel a certain way, you induce that emotion in yourself.

So when you or I find ourselves in a place where we know we are not performing to the levels we expect from ourselves lets agree to look to our passion and bring that feeling in to the activity at hand, give the important drudgery of life the same attention to detail we give to our pet projects.


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