Tag Archives: Video Games

Why video games destroy entrepreneurial motivation

Leveling up your life is harder than it looks

Nerds are discovering they are, in fact, entrepreneurs.

Nerdy curiosity, pragmatism and overall high intelligence make for technological business success. We know this. And wherever you find this type of entrepreneur, you’ll inevitably find a fascination with video games.

New insight into the neuroscience of gaming indicates that too much of it is a seriously bad thing for entrepreneurial minds.

Video games can drain the motivation and willpower that drives entrepreneurs to make big things happen in life and business.

Obsession with unlocking achievements has negative side effects

A University of Rochester study reveals that there are three critical “satisfactions” that video games seem to fulfill: Autonomy, Competence and Achievement. While Autonomy and Competence are positively correlated with post-play mood elevation, the evidence points to Achievement as the unhealthy component of video games.

The study shows gamers with obsession around “Achievement” value — associated with leveling up characters and progressing through linear unlocking systems — experience negative emotional side effects, post play.

Entrepreneurs interviewed for this article reported that the types of game play associated with achievement progression left them feeling emotionally and motivationally drained.

Brian Martelli, CEO of Kaptu.re, believes he has a healthy — if only occasional — relationship with gaming. He prioritizes simple shooter games resulting in instant gratification. He intuitively avoids games requiring arduous leveling up — a process known as “grinding” amongst gamers.

“When I do play, I want it on easy. I just want to walk through and shoot.”

It’s hypothesized that the linear nature of gaming achievement itself has a draining effect on a gamer’s general motivation. Even the most complex games offer clearly defined skill trees, demanding only the most simple either-or decisions to progress.

Simple achievement is rare in the non-linear world of startups

Entrepreneurs  — whose career paths are typically ambiguous and fractal — are attracted to the linear progression of such games precisely because it’s something missing in their lives.

Linear progression rewards entrepreneurs with the emotional gratification of progress. In the start-up business world, entrepreneur’s rarely have the option of following simple instructions to “level” themselves up — financially or otherwise.

Decreased entrepreneurial drive appears to be a serious side effect of this achievement based, linear progression gaming. While it offers a fun experience, it drains the “motivation tank” in the same way challenging mental exercises have been proven to decrease decision making prowess.

A young startup founder and CEO, who wished to remain anonymous, claimed that video games and specifically the “unlocking addiction” were a problem in his career.

“When I start finding myself really obsessing over leveling up in a video game, it’s always obvious — in hindsight — that I was unsure how to proceed in some key cross-road in business. It’s easier to just play games.”

Other entrepreneurs reported similar habits, almost unanimously admitting that long bouts of achievement-based game play were always followed by slumps in motivation to achieve business goals.

The simplicity of video game linear achievements appears to fulfill and replace the hunger in entrepreneurs to “level up” their business or personal life.

What to do if video games are hurting your career progression

The solution lies in distinguishing between the three different types of gaming, as described by the study. The types of games you choose is the key to preventing motivation drain.

Entrepreneurs who let off steam by playing highly autonomous games like Grand Theft Auto V or Minecraft will be less likely to experience post-play emotional slumps. Focusing more on competency — which typically revolves around quick wins and beating opponents in multiplayer scenarios — is also much healthier. Leveling up or “unlocking” focused games are the ones to avoid.

More than anything else, simply knowing why such games are so enticing is itself a significant step in freeing yourself from them. Next time you feel the pull of an addicting game, look for the ambiguous and non-linear decisions you’re trying to avoid. Then lean into them.

Leveling up in real life is always more rewarding that clocking a game.

Peter is The Shrink for Entrepreneurs. Check out his business psychology blog and follow him on Twitter.

Written by

The Shrink for Entrepreneurs who want Freedom, Wealth & Sanity. Blogs @ http://petershallard.com — Founder of http://commitaction.com

Published January 13, 2014

Impetus for a Career in Programming

How I Ultimately Steered Myself Towards a Passion for Ruby on Rails

I’m currently on a flight over the continental US, on board Virgin America flight #27, headed from New York City to San Francisco, CA. Since I left NYC, I’ve been thinking a lot about my path to programming, and how I ultimately ended up in my current position. I think it’s a combination of several factors, most importantly the re-discovery of childhood pursuits.

Now for the moment of full disclosure: I have a severe hearing disability. I have roughly 75-85% hearing loss, and it’s hard to ascertain the exact number because it varies over time. I also think this fact goes a long ways towards explaining the meandering path behind me as I searched for my passion.

I’ve always had a pretty imaginative brain, always willing to go into wild tangents that test the limits of my creativity. I’m not sure if it’s a result of my brain’s capacity for randomness, or if it’s just my brain trying to make sense of the endless chatter being fired between the synapses of my neural pathways. Part of me is convinced that this is a result of my disability. When one of the five senses is limited (in this case, sound), another is enhanced. In my situation, I think my visual ability is much more nuanced than the average person. Perhaps that transfers over into my subconscious somehow, which would explain my visual acuity.

As a result of my hearing disability, I always enjoyed playing video games, particularly strategy games. It was something that gave me a full sense of control, something that I could, with 100% certainty, influence in terms of direction. In other words, it was an escape from the more difficult aspects of childhood, particularly my teenage years in which social interaction skyrocketed, leaving me behind my peers in social conversation.

From middle school until college, I was always interested in video games. As a result of video games, I started tinkering around with computers, my first experience coming when I figured out how to take control of my middle school’s computers using MS/DOS, and would perpetually confuse my fellow students by hijacking their mouse cursor and typing cryptic messages into their word processor application. I remember when I built my first website. It was a Geocities all-in-one basic site that focused on posting answers to my math homework. I don’t know if it was ever used at all by my classmates, but I remember the crappy blue background with the black and green Comic Sans font. Why did everyone use Comic Sans back then? What a colossal waste of a font. Anyways, the foundation of my technological curiosity had been firmly implanted by the time I was in middle school.

I was proficient in HTML and CSS back then, and was just starting to use JavaScript. I got so frustrated using JavaScript, largely because I was learning it on my own, and there were not many resources readily available in which you could find reliable answers. This is why having a community in which you can ask programming questions is so important. I lost my desire to continue my immersion into programming after a few months. Up until that point, many subjects came very easily to me then, such as English, Math, video games. I think the idea of a challenge discouraged me, and I was simply looking for something that provided instant gratification. I now realize that was a setback in terms of my mindset. Since then, the same question always came up from time to time: “what if?”. Looking back on it now, giving up was probably the biggest mistake I ever made.

Fast forward to my senior year of college. I was an Economics major, authoring a thesis that detailed solar energy subsidy programs and the long-term effects of that respective government’s approach. To summarize my thesis, among all countries with mature renewable energy policy programs, Germany did best in structuring a long-term approach while the United States bungled it. At that point, I was certain that I was going into a career in renewable energy finance or policy.

My career in renewable energy started off well. I became an intern at a very well respected renewable energy policy group in Washington, DC, and eventually wrote a white paper that discussed the merits of tax equity syndication for solar power development. At the conclusion of my internshp, I went to work for a biomass power startup, and gave me a wide breadth of expertise in project development in India and Tanzania.

In the spring of 2013, I decided to take an online course for Python on CourseRA just to play around with the idea of programming, not realizing that it would ultimately alter my career path 9 months later. Through Rice University’s Python class on CourseRA, we built a number of small games, such as Tic-Tac-Toe, Paddleboard, and a simple spaceship game that reminded me a little bit of a 2D version of Star Wars. I started to help out with web application development for my company, and the product was supposed to be a dashboard for energy analytics. First I helped write the business documentation for it, then started working with a programmer to build out the framework for the application itself. Over the course of 2 months of working with a programmer, I decided that programming was what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing. The constant problem solving, discussions about best courses of action, and brainstorming was the most intellectually challenged and enriched that I had felt since high school and college. When you attain that desire for learning, you never really want to let it go. That desire siezes you like adrenaline does a bungee jumper jumping off a bridge: simply relentless.

I started taking courses on CourseAcademy and TeamTreehouse for Ruby. I had heard that Ruby was the hottest full-stack language at that point, and it was relatively straightforward to learn. I also applied to several boot camps, convinced that it was just what I needed to jumpstart my future. I ultimately settled on the Flatiron School in NYC because of its community-driven approach to programming, as well as its mission to help individuals find a passion in programming, and also encourage the involvement of women in what has been traditionally a male-dominated profession.

Fast forward five months later. I am two weeks out of boot camp at Flatiron School. Has it been worth it? The reasons may be different for everyone, but for me, it certainly has. I’d even go as far as to say that it’s been life changing. I’ve met the most wonderful group of individuals at Flatiron, and I’ve learned a lot from them. And I can now call myself a programmer. Not a skilled one yet, but that’s what I am working towards, step by step. But there are three important results that have been made possible by my experiences in the past year. I’ve discovered my passion. I’ve re-ignited my desire to learn. And I’ve finally learned the lesson that I should have learned long ago, even with a particularly limiting disability. There is no limit.

Written by

Ruby on Rails Developer, @irmiller22

Word Watching

Flickr: Caitlinator / Creative Commons

Not all words are created equal.

What’s your favorite word? Maybe it’s something pleasing to the ears, like soliloquy or effervescent. Or perhaps it’s a word that’s just fun to say, like serendipity or discombobulate. Then again, maybe your favorite word just makes you feel good, like love or grace.

What about your least favorite word? Maybe it’s something icky, like mucus or pus. It could be something somber, like hate or death. And of course, there’s also the holy trinity of least favorite words: moist, ointment, and panties.

Sorry, that got ugly fast. Here, let me fix it: Harmonious. Vivacious. Loquacious. Ephemeral. Lullaby. Nincompoop. Cellar door.

There, there. It’s all better, now. Splendid.

There’s no exact science to it, but it seems like words are usually evaluated based on their definitions, connotations, or phonaesthetic appeal. I, on the other hand, tend to appreciate words for much different, perhaps unusual, reasons. Let me explain.

I like the word sarcastic. Sarcasm is defined as “harsh or bitter derision or irony.” When employed, it is often described as biting,which is a synonym for caustic. And the word caustic is, fittingly, only one letter off from being the end of the word sarcastic. It’s like the word defines itself for you.

Or there’s acquiesce, which means “to submit or comply without protest.” It makes me think of aqua, not just because of the a, q, and u, but because of the fluidity with which the syllables flow through each other. This makes me think of liquids, which, as we all know, have no fixed shape, but instead take the shape of their container. In other words, a container demands the liquid take a certain shape and the liquid acquiesces to that demand.

To finagle is to “obtain by trickery.” If you suspect someone is trying to trick you, you might be wondering what their angle is. Well, to find that angle, you need not do more than swap the a and n at the end of finagle.

Other words have these sort of synonymous anagram hints built into them, too. Take sidle for instance, which means “to move sideways or obliquely.” When I picture this particular action, I picture a sort of sliding motion. Coincidentally, slide is an anagram of sidle.

Other words are just physically constructed better than others. Consider parallel for example, which means “extending in the same direction, equidistant at all points, and never converging or diverging.” The beauty of the word parallel is that there is a set of parallel lines contained in the letters that make up the word. Even better, the parallel lines in parallel happen to be the “pair of l’s.”

There’s also the word queue, which is “a line” (as in the type you stand and wait in). What’s fitting about queue is the way the redundant u and e evoke the feeling of waiting in a queue. And if you really want to get imaginative here, you might be able to picture the Q or q at the head of the word as a turnstile or a bouncer waiting behind one of those exclusive velvet ropes: two things you typically find at the end of queues.

Similarly, the word caterpillar sort of resembles a caterpillar (the long, skinny bug, not the giant, yellow construction equipment). Its ten letters elongate the word, and it has alternating peaks and valleys that come from t, p, and ll. Picture an inchworm. Okay, maybe you think that last one’s a stretch. Fine. We don’t have to argue about it.

Most people don’t enjoy arguing, anyway—it can be frustrating. Coincidentally, that is exactly what makes the word argue so great. Its two syllables are, individually, two exclamations that you just might end up shouting in the middle of an argument: “ARGH!” and “YOU!”

Bulbous is often listed amongst the least popular words in the English language, but I think the opposite of the adjective. The word bulbous means “fat, round, or bulging,” which is fitting because almost all the letters used to spell bulbous are fat, round or bulging.

Or take the word jilt, which means “to reject or cast aside (a lover) especially abruptly or unfeelingly.” Notice how the first three letters in jilt all seem to be facing toward the left? Now look at sad, little, lowercase t—staring off to the right with his back turned to all the other letters. It’s almost as if this sulking, lowercase t is jil’s jilted lover.

Speaking of things that end abruptly, the word abrupt seems to end that way, doesn’t it? It’s like it’s over before it even begins. Stab feels appropriately short, as well. The sound of the word knife has a certain sharpness to it, also, and the silent k seems to give it even more of an edge. There’s also the word sever. Notice how the pointed v in the middle of it appears to, well, sever it in half?

And while we’re on the topic of cutting things short, we shouldn’t forget about the word staccato, which means “with each sound or note sharply detached or separated from the others.” It’s not an onomatopoeia, but thanks to those three hard syllables, it is appropriately difficult to vocalize the word staccato in a manner that is not staccato.

There’s also the word beige. It’s soft, bland, and utterly inoffensive. However, that makes it the perfect word to define the most soft, bland, and utterly inoffensive color in the visible spectrum of light. Coincidentally, that’s why the word bland is great, too. There’s no better way to describe the word bland than by calling it bland.

And speaking of words that describe themselves, we shouldn’t forget about mellifluous which is defined as “(of a sound) pleasingly smooth and musical to hear.” But everybody already loves that word, anyway.

There is plenty to appreciate when it comes to numbers, too. For instance, zero feels right because it has a o in it. I like the way seven looks because the v in the middle of it somewhat resembles a sideways numeral 7. In the same vein, the lowercase g in eight closely resembles the numeral 8.

But there’s one number whose spelling just doesn’t add up, and that number is eleven. It could have easily been spelled elleven with the numeral 11 subliminally tucked inside of it. But alas, it was not. Surely a missed opportunity, but probably nothing more than an oversight.

Other words just seem outright sinister. Take lisp for example. It is a four-letter, one-syllable word that should be a cinch to pronounce. That is, of course, unless you suffer from the speech impediment known as a lisp, in which case it is pricelessly the type of word you would have trouble pronouncing.

There’s also grammar and misspell, which, ironically, are two of the most commonly misspelled words in the English language. And do you know what having a fear of long words is called? If you guessed all 35-letters and 15-syllables of hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia, then you’d be correct.

In other words…

Words are like birds. There are big ones and little ones. There are loud ones and quiet ones. Some you see every day, and others you will never encounter in your entire life. Some are plain, but others have lovely plumage. You might even say some have a sort of woody quality about them. Others are more dreadful, tinny sort of things. Wait, wait, wait. That’s not birds, that’s Pythons.

What I’m trying to say is that it can be amusing to think about individual words and why you love or hate them. I suggest you try it sometime. You might find out that you have no reasons at all and that this silly minutiae does nothing except make your head spin. But on the other hand, you could discover that you’re just like me: a veritable “word nerd.”

Well, there actually is a word for that. It’s logophile. And, truth be told, I have no opinion about it one way or the other.

Written by

Lawyer/Writer. Enjoys comedy, music, and homebrewing. Tweets @joe_petro. More at www.joepetro.tumblr.com


As Humans, We Ruin Things

Because that’s what all of us do.

We break things, like they are meant to be broken. We break them carelessly, or we break them like we want them to.

We break them to make us feel powerful. But the broken makes us feel weak at the same time, as we then realize that the broken seldom can be fixed or restored back to its former glory — what it’s meant to be, look or function.

Here’s the question then: Are things meant to stay or are they meant to be changed?

Things change. They always do. And we complain, and we regret, and we feel upset when they do. But the thing is, when they stay the same, we never really feel satisfied. Don’t we? Don’t you? Perhaps for some time, but then after you get the same thing over and over and over again, there will come a thought to you which says, “How I wish things change up a bit, a little, for a while, or something…”

We want change, but we do not welcome big changes. We want change because we want to feel life changing. We want to feel it moving… forward. But we don’t like it too drastic or too fast. We want to be able to catch up with the change, or let the change catch up with us.

Control. Yes, we all want it. We want to be in the know. We don’t want any sneak attack. We don’t like to be caught unprepared by anything.

Composure. A dignified smile. A good posture to greet people. Yes, to be composed. To appear ‘good’ and flawless. Humans like to greet each other like that. We want to appear as our best, always.

Who do we want to impress, really? Them, or ourselves? To let them know that we did a good job, or let ourselves know that we did a good job? Question.

But no matter, we don’t let ourselves break apart in front of others. We don’t let our veil of composure crack. We won’t. We don’t want to. Because then our flaws will show, and our flaws are what that makes us different from others. Flaws are what make each and every one of us special. Not strengths.

As humans, we ruin things. All the time. From time to time. We are not perfect. We want to be. We want to be alright. We want to be fine. But sometimes we are just not. We fall. We want to chill out a bit, we let go of things a little, and then things slip. They tumble and fall and break and die. And we say, oh no, that not what I planned, I didn’t expect that to happen…

Sometimes we try to salvage whatever that’s left. Then we try to build upon it. But things will not be the same. Maybe better, maybe worse. But what’s changed is changed. You either embrace it or you don’t — the good or the bad, or both. Things may appear to be better than they seem if you embrace it, or they may not. But what’s for sure, those that you do not embrace, they will only appear worse and worse.

Things left alone always go bad. Except for wine and cheese, and some other things I’m sure. But I’m not talking about food here. I’m talking about the things we break, not physically, but metaphorically. Like how love never lasts, how friendships fall apart, and how first impressions could be the best and the rest just goes downhill.

Sometimes we ruin things ourselves, by our own hands. Other times, we let other people ruin it all for us.

Written by

Everyday I dream that dragons and dinosaurs become real. Read: http://thoughtcatalog.com/keay-nigel/ http://elitedaily.com/author/knigel/

Updated December 23, 2013


Do What You Say You’ll Do.

What you actually do matters much more than what you say you’re going to do. Anyone can talk a big game or over-promise, but the actual follow-through is what creates lasting success.

For the last 15 years, part of my unique selling proposition is that I do what I say I’m going to do for the people who hire me. When I tell someone I’m going to do something, I do it (in the amount of time I say it’s going to take). Sometimes I do more, but never less.

Following through is much harder than it might seem, and that’s why people often fall short. Here’s how I make sure that I do what I say.

Never agree to or promise anything unless you are 100% sure you can do it

Saying “yes” is a contract. From telling someone you’ll call them for lunch next week to saying you’ll have a project finished in 3 days, anytime you agree to something, you’re asking someone to trust that you’ll do it.

Say “yes” only to things you are sure about — sure that you’ll make them happen and sure that it’s something you want to do. Half-assing something or not finishing a task is far worse than saying “no” upfront. Commit with complete conviction or don’t commit at all.

Say no

Telling someone upfront that you can’t or aren’t interested in doing something re-affirms your commitment to your current schedule and tasks. Saying “no” means you not only respect yourself; you respect the other person, because you can’t guarantee to finish or commit to what they want.

Have a schedule

Anytime you say “yes” to something, put it in your calendar and set a reminder (or several). These reminders could involve anything from completing part of a client project on a certain day, to making an agreement with yourself to work out twice a week. Own your tasks to ensure they get done.

And remember that most things will take longer than you expect, so account for setbacks, other commitments and the fact that sometimes life in general will throw you off-course.

Don’t make excuses

Sometimes things happen that are beyond your control. From car accidents to computer crashes to family issues, life is unexpected. You can’t account for everything when you make a commitment, so if something forces you to break your promise, own it—even if it’s not your fault.Don’t make excuses, just offer to make things right.

Be honest

The truth isn’t always the nicest answer. It might not be what someone wants to hear. But if you’re not rude about it, in the long run, everyone is better off. Telling the truth makes life easier and much more productive. This especially includes being honest with yourself.

Sometimes the most unreasonable expectations are ones we put on ourselves.

Being “impeccable with your word” (via Don Miguel Ruiz) means you are being honest with others, and more importantly, with yourself. This is truly the secret to success and the most important thing I’ve learned in my life. You instantly become “that guy/gal” who people want to work with or have on their team. It may require you to think more carefully about your commitments, but in the long run, being honest makes you a trustworthy person who is valuable in just about every situation.

This post originally appeared on Expert Enough.



How Do Users Interact with Mobile Devices?

A closer look at user experience with mobile devices.

It is very important both for hardware and software developers to understand how users interact with mobile devices. How do we know whether the button placed on the side of the device or even the virtual button placed on the upper-right side of the screen is usable or not?

To answer this type of questions we need to have a deep understanding of how users interact with mobile devices. Yes, there was a time when users had to get used to the devices that were sold in the market and even sometimes spend some time learning to use them! Thankfully those times are gone!

And now in our user-centric world manufacturers and developers first of all need to understand the user and then based on that research create user-centric and ergonomic products, both physical and digital. Today mobile devices are so deeply integrated in our lives; people use their devices while walking, running, swimming and even talking.

read more -> https://medium.com/user-experience-researche/4b34b0a7c38a


Struggle or Challenge?

What’s the difference?

A struggle is a burden.
A challenge is an opportunity.

A struggle is, “I can’t wait for this to be done.”
A challenge is, “I can’t wait to see where this goes.”

A struggle is being in one place, but needing to be in another.
A challenge is fully being where you are, not needing to be anywhere else.

A struggle is, “How can I get out?”
A challenge is, “What more can I give?”

A struggle is resistance.
A challenge is acceptance.

Think about something important to you that you’re working on improving. A relationship, a project, a goal.


Read more – > https://medium.com/better-humans/2cd03311c35d


Disarm Me With a Smile

Because the smallest gestures will always mean the most.

English: A-OK Hand Gesture

English: A-OK Hand Gesture (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I’ve never been one for grand gestures. The elaborate engagement story, the unnecessary birthday celebration, the expensive gift; none of this has ever really made sense to me. It always seems fake; put on for appearances rather than honest appreciation. Contrived and forced, a choreographed expression of gratitude, or a falsified display of emotion, these sweeping gestures are always built on a foundation of impossible expectations.

They’re destined to fail before they’ve even taken place.

And while these embellished acts most certainly come from a genuine place and are intended to portray significant sentiments, they lack a certain element of vulnerability.


Read more -> https://medium.com/what-i-learned-today/41f4c6b3769a