Commitment is essential for doing something that matters

For my next career, I decided I want to be a professional gamer. My kids will grow up and move out and I’ll get great internet and stock my apartment with all the food gamers want. And I’ll recruit an awesome team because they can live rent-free and play together in one room.

I will not have good reaction time, but I’ll be team captain and that way we can get AARP to sponsor us.

Also, I might even have a gaming blog. I have a lot to say. For example, did you know Koreans are better at League of Legends than anyone else? And people spend a lot of time trying to figure out why. Like maybe it’s their gaming style (go out strong) or gaming culture (it’s literally ILLEGAL to cheat at videos games in Korea).

But I hear this same conversation about Korean string instrument players. Earlier in life I’d have told you to go to Optilingo and learn Korean because I was convinced it was language related. But now I have come to the unscientific conclusion that it’s finger dexterity. Maybe small-twitch muscles in fingers. Or something like that. You’ll want to come back to my gaming blog for more borderline racist commentary.

The research says that hard-core gaming is a sign of high IQ, ambition, and future success. And kids who climb through the ranks become experts at grit and perseverance. Which is why I let my kids play video games whenever they want.

I read about colleges giving esports scholarships to gamers. I read about how kids their accounts, or they get paid to play on other kids accounts to win games.

I read parents talking about their kids who earn six figures as gamers. One dad took his kid’s computer to work with him every day so the kid bought a second computer. Another family turned off their internet so the kid paid to get his bedroom wired.

Commitment is relative and most of you are not particularly committed to anything. Commitment is about time and energy. Look at what you put time and energy toward. Are you in the top 10% in terms of the time and energy you put into your particular thing? I’d say top 10% is how I would define committed. Top 20% is very interested. Top 50% is paying attention in an average way.

Do you want to do something that matters on the world?  First define “something that matters” and then go find someone else who has done that. Look how committed are they to what they did. Do you want to be that committed? Would you give up what they gave up? If the answer is no then you don’t want to change the world. (Or be Challenger level in League of Legends.)

I have been playing League of Legends with my kids, mostly to see what being committed to gaming might feel like. At first I didn’t know what I was doing and my son would type things in for me: “F U ALL IM TAKING MIDLANE.”

After that I typed, “I’m sorry for that. That was my son. I didn’t mean to be rude. Could I play mid-lane?”

Then my kids would get serious. They’d tell me I can’t type stuff like that. They’d tell me we are going to get our IP banned because I sound like a troll.

An interesting way to divide the world is the super-committed and everyone else. Commitment level is relative. But some things are clear. You can only expect to be with people who have the same level of commitment as you. For anything. At work full-timers hate dealing with part-timers. In League of Legends if you’re Bronze then you only play with Bronze players.

My kids can’t stand when other kids come over to our house and have very little experience playing video games, and they think they’re going to get better while they’re in our den of unlimited screen time. “Dude! It takes years!” Is what my son says. The only way you level up in commitment is with time and energy. There’s nothing else.

Similarly, I am sick of people who want to change the world but can’t seem to stay in the same job — because it takes decades to do something that really matters. Commitment. And risk: spending so much time at something without having certain reward. So few people can stomach that. But gamers do.

The correlation between success and hard work is palpable among gamers. It’s refreshing after decades of hearing people talk about work-life balance as something successful people do.

I like when my kids are winning because they have more time to type in the comments.

Tonight my older son says, “Oh my god this guy just said, I got my girlfriend pregnant and I’m trying to get through medical school.”

I say, “Tell him your mom will talk to him if he wants help.”

My son howls with laughter. But then he types that to the kid.

Two blown-up turrets later, the kid types back: “It’s ok. We’re going to Planned Parenthood tomorrow.”

I say, “Tell him to get her flowers when gets home. She’ll like that.”

Younger son: “No! He’s trolling! Don’t write that! MOM. Seriously!”

“So what? So what if he’s trolling. Everyone in the game will be nicer if they know someone who has an abortion.”

My older son types it.

And so does my younger son.

And it’s a small victory for me. Because right now I am not working full time and I’m not parenting full time. I’m doing both just sort of okay. But in this League of Legends moment, I’ve made a small difference. And I’m happy.

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