On Retention & Application

I was playing Borderlands on a friend’s Steam account last week. If you have not played the game or started your own Steam account, what the hell have you been doing with your life?! Seriously, it is such a fun game, and Steam lets you access virtually every major title available, and an impressive slew of indie titles, right from the convenience of your computer. Go get both, now!

Truth be told, I have never been much of a PC gamer personally. Could not really be one without a halfway decent rig, and they were not as affordable when I was younger as they are now. Suffice to say, I was raised on a console and will die gripping a controller in one hand while flipping the bird with the other. (This should be taken as a legitimate desire to be added to any last will and testament. Anyone who reads this qualifies as a witness. Please and thank you)

Anyhow, I was playing the game and managed to get farther in an hour or two than my friend who had been playing the game for about a week. Now, to be fair, he is not the greatest gamer out there, but then again neither am I. The major difference is that I have more experience playing games in general than he does. See, he is of the traditionally “good looking” variety. Thus, his adolescence was spent primarily going to parties, dating, and being social while I read and played video games at home. Yeah, I, at times, do not fully understand our relationship either.

Still my background gave me the skill set and understanding of how to intuitively approach the game and controls even though I had never played Borderlands before and had never really used a keyboard and mouse to play games. Whereas he struggled, I excelled. This is not meant as a means of bragging or bravado. I was just as surprised as he was that I adjusted to the game so quickly. However, I should not have been so astonished since games have a specific literacy that comes from playing them, much like anything else.

It is similar to how once you learn to ride a bike, you never really forget. In fact, you can pretty much ride any bike after figuring it out the first time. Your body memorized the mechanics of keeping balance on the bicycle and how to keep it while moving without requiring active engagement. There are various skills we pick up throughout our lives that we are not even aware of. I cannot for the life of me remember how or when I learned to read, but I devour books of all types and levels with little to no difficulty. (Same thing with basic math for some weird reason)

Of course, these soft skills are applicable to other aspects of life. I use the innate trial and error and understanding that comes from playing video games to solve problems and issues in the real world. Amazingly, it actually does help in most situations. We all have these weird little skills and tricks we picked up from somewhere along the way. They help us manage our lives and deal with the various obstacles we face.

So what random skills have you managed to develop? How do you randomly apply them in your life?

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