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27Jul/103

Pwning Life

My brother, miltownkid, is infamously known from a video he posted to youtube of his xbox dying back when he still lived in Taiwan. It has since blown up (+2 million views!) and has become a pivotal point in his life even. He went from being a general jokester, to uploading one video, to becoming a mini-youtube celebrity  seemingly overnight (even though its actually been a multi-year process, more on that later). It's been a blessing and a curse because, although gaming is big on his list of things to do, my brother is much more multifaceted than a one-line descriptor of gamer.

Casey, my brother, originally moved to Taiwan to master Mandarin and Taichi as well as general wisdom and sagedom (not a word, I know). However, ever since kind of blowing up on youtube he has had to adopt the title of gamer as an evermore sentient part of his identity. These "clashing" identity attributes have culminated into a new project, pwninglife.com, a personal development blog/vlog for the gamer generation.

The term “pwning life” is an idea that popped into my (miltownkid‘s) head January 18th, 2008. The next day I made a video trying my best to capture the feeling of this idea.

Pwning Life is “personal development for the gamer generation.” A skill we gamers learn at a very young age is how to put forth enough effort in a video game to get better at it. Put in enough effort and we eventually PWN. This exact same formula is as true in life as it is in video games. Put forth enough effort and you will PWN any aspect of life (health, finances, spirituality, relationships or work/career).

The only problem is making the leap from using this skill in video games to using it in life. In video games the objectives are clear (save the princess) and the methods are well documented (don’t get hit by the fireballs). Objectives in life are not so clear and the methods are often times overly complex, vague or confusing. This website will help bridge that gap by both documenting my objectives and sharing my methods, sharing methods which have been successful to others and helping YOU do the same with yours.

Start Pwning Life Today

One of the first steps miltownkid suggests is to come up with your vision by using a number of thought exercises:

  • You Just Won The Lottery
  • Your Perfect Day
  • A Conversation With God
  • Make An “I Want” List

I think the method that works best for me is the "Your Perfect Day" exercise. I actually have a blog post saved in the que on the topic of process vs. outcome. I'll get into more detail  about that once I post on that topic, but the synapsis is that I'm currently waging an internal philosophical battle with myself about whether the process you take is more important than the end result you're looking for. I don't have this figured out yet (which is why I haven't posted it yet), but my intuition tells me the process is much more important; maybe the outcome is a good tool to focus the direction of your process?

What's my perfect day?

If you haven't already guessed it, this is a really difficult exercise. I'll just start listing some things and I guess I'll just have to circle back and update as I get a better understanding.

A perfect day involves:

  • This first one is easy as it's been something I've been saying since I was a kid: a perfect day starts by waking up without an alarm; whether it's due to having a flexible work life or my circadian rhythm in check
  • Some form of physical activity, preferably play but I'll take a nice long walk as well
  • Eat really good, high quality food
  • At least one form of creative expression
  • Experience a genuine loving connection
  • At least one challenging problem that needs to be solved and a resulting solution (see creative expression above)
  • Have at least one experience a day that elicits a novelty response
  • Have scheduled time to read

That's all I can think of right now. I know they're really general and I'm sure it would be helpful, if not more beneficial, to detail more specifics, but I'll take a general list that's published over a specific list that sits in the purgatory of the blog que right now.

Comments (3) Trackbacks (1)
  1. Awesome! You don’t know how happy I am to have the “Pwning Life” idea validated with a blog post from my broham. :D Isn’t it odd how hard it is to sit down and write about what we really want in life? Perhaps it’s because we’re programmed into thinking about all of the things we don’t want and we base what we do on moving away from those instead of towards the things we want.

    If I had to vote on process vs. outcome… I want to say process, but the knowing what you want the outcome to be is important as well (if for no other reason as a guide for the process). I have a feeling that with more thought it would become a nature vs. nurture type question where the answer lies somewhere in between.

  2. Hey, this is really awesome. Should we honor you as part of the movement? ;) I’m just playin around. But it would be cool if you updated with everyone else as well.

    On process vs. outcome? I’m not entirely sure what you mean by this, because process is dependent on outcome; the general process should be the same for the outcome, but you would focus on different aspects of the process. Say, you’re learning Japanese for example. Well, you should still use the same language principles (a la http://www.alljapaneseallthetime.com), but if you set a goal out to understand the news, then you would focus study and use examples on/of the news.

  3. Love the website concept, just bookmarked for later power-procrastinating.

    It is a difficult thing to describe what we really want in life. An exercise at work recently gave me the idea that a lot of that is about focus. We spend a lot of time finding things that are wrong, and addressing them, rather than focusing on the things that are good/natural/right/fun. So naturally we spend more time thinking about these things, and so we have them better defined.

    I also think there’s a bit of a guilt aspect to this, maybe it’s a midwestern thing, I doubt it, possibly an American or western thing, but to focus solely on things that bring you joy feels very irresponsible. We have lots and lots of things we “have” to do, whether we like them or not, which leave less time for focusing on what we want, if we’re to be responsible upstanding citizens. It’s great to go to a retreat or vacation and “get away” from the day to day for a bit, where you really can focus on making yourself happy, but it invariably also involves coming back home, back to reality, and all that comes with it.

    I think that’s part of why certain hippies, homeless people, and artists tend to be such happy people, while so many executives of large companies tend towards the stressed out and unhappy side of life. The hippies and homeless people (some of them mind you) have prioritized in a way that makes their life a bit of a mess from a “responsible adult” point of view, but is very rewarding to them personally.

    I think it comes down to prioritizing. Choosing to prioritize paying the mortgage and mowing the lawn is a choice like any other. My father doesn’t understand why I spend so much money working on my car when I really ought to replace my deck. My answer is that I care about my car, and not about my deck. So suck it, dad.

    The exercise at work is called StregthsFinders. For stupid corporate HR BS, it was refreshing. They talk about focusing on the things that your employees do *really* well, are passionate about, or find rewarding, and ignoring or just minimizing their weaknesses, putting them in positions where they can really rock what they’re good at without worrying about the things they’re not so good at. While we don’t have any time to prioritize thinking about this concept in my office, our day-long meeting talking about and understanding it was a lot more interesting than it could have been.


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