The secrets to love, life and happiness can be unlocked with three simple words: Play. The. Sims.
It’s a game where you lead a person’s complete life with a mouse. Want to talk to that girl right there? Just click on her and pick something:
Left to their own devices, your Sim will do whatever they feel like, which is usually strikingly stupid. (In real life, that may sound familiar). You interrupt your Sim’s autopilot by giving them sage instructions, like “read a book” or “stare at that girl’s butt”.
Being successful at The Sims is very easy. It’s just like real life, except without a barrier between what you decide and what you do.
Say you want to get fit.
In the Sims, you immediately buy whatever lame fitness equipment you can afford. If you can’t afford anything, go run in the park. Each day you tell your Sim to spend a spare minute exercising, and although progress is slow, you see their bars slowly inch up. Success is guaranteed.
In real life you think about getting fit. You’re not sure what to buy. Can you really afford the ‘right’ equipment? You read reviews. Do you have enough time? You ask questions on Quora. Maybe you buy something. You don’t know how to use it. Maybe you use it a couple times. You don’t see any results. You talk and think and share and do anything but exercise.
IF ONLY SOMEONE WOULD TELL YOU WHAT TO DO.
The first lesson from The Sims is good decisions require little thought. To get fit: exercise. To be smarter: read. To eat healthier: cook. Such mechanics are elementary to a child playing the game, but when leading your own life, your mischievous mind paralyses you with too much thinking. Stop holding out for perfect decisions. Pick. Act.
You can solve half the hassles of humanity this way. “I like this girl, how do I get her to like me?” Just click on her, and pick something.
“But what do I say?” Anything moves you closer to your goal. Pick something. “But she might not like me!” Right now, she doesn’t even know you. Fix that. Pick something. “But what would we name our future kids?” SHUT UP AND PICK SOMETHING.
Thinking isn’t inherently bad of course, but save the deep stuff for writing your novel and designing a nuclear powered washing machine. If you’re not clicking your mouse much, you’re probably not playing the game very well.
The second lesson from The Sims is to nurture your state.
If your Sim is tired, desperate for company or wetting themselves, they won’t get much done. A decent player keeps an eye on these bars and never lets them slide too far; the exceptional player builds a life that takes care of them automatically.
And so it is in real life. If you’ve found yourself having a crappy pointless argument, chances are you were a bad mix of tired, stressed, or hungry at the time. If you want to be your wittiest, smartest, and most resilient, you’d better take consistently good care of yourself. The best way to be consistently awesome is to be in a consistently good state.
The third lesson from The Sims is to build selected skills.
Almost every action your Sim can take makes them better at something. Some skills are easier to gain, depending on your natural strengths, but you can get impressively decent at just about anything with time.
You don’t live forever though, so to get great at something means saying no to something else. You must pick, and focus. Fully developed strengths tend to make your weaknesses redundant. Woody Allen would not be better off if he had spent less time writing and more time at the gym.
The final lesson from The Sims is the game is indifferent.
There’s no winning The Sims. Everyone dies. There’s no high score. You live your life how you want, and you alone judge what to make of it as it rolls by. This may sound familiar.
But that doesn’t make life pointless; it makes life anything you choose it to be. If you want to live yours free from regret: keep your state high. Focus your time into a few select skills. But most importantly of all: go ahead and click on something.
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