5 Life Lessons To Learn From Video Games

PS3 controller

Video games can not only be a form of escapism, but also an educational tool to teach us a few tricks for how to approach life.

If you’re a loyal reader here at MenStuff, chances are good you’re an avid gamer.

Personally, I was always more into ball sports, although I still enjoy my fix of FIFA, Grand Theft Auto and Need for Speed now and then.

One fond video game memory comes from the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Californication music video, which through the band into the premise of a video game.

I saw the video again recently and started wondering what it would be like if we chose to live our own lives as a video game, or more precisely: what video games can teach us about how to live our lives.

1. Get excited for new challenges

When was the last time you worried about beginning a new level of your favourite game? Never! You bust your nut killing the bad guys in order to reach the next level. That’s the point.

We can take a similar approach in our own lives. See new challenges as opportunities to discover new things. Know what you’re working towards, stay positive and then go kill those baddies!

2. Hit that checkpoint

Of course, within each level are checkpoints you need to reach to ensure you don’t have to return all the way to zero when you die. You know you’ve already come a long way and have some small wins under your belt.

This idea reinforces my favourite principle related to goal-setting and attainment: focusing on the process as opposed to the destination. Ask yourself: “What’s the next small step?”

3. Dying? I’ll just restart.

Think back to the last time you played a first-person shooter: you probably died a few times on the way to victory. And chances are good you didn’t die at the same stage too many times. Why? Because you learned!

In video games, we aren’t afraid of making mistakes or getting something wrong. That’s how we learn what to do next time.

However, as soon as we face real-life challenges, we start to stress and think that failure is bad.

Strive to use the same logic in your daily life: fail, learn, progress.

4. Meet new characters

In any game, you need other characters to gain valuable info in order to get to your next checkpoint.

Life is the same. Whether it’s a mentor, our friends or our partner, the people around us play a huge role in our success. Don’t be afraid to meet new people!

5. Be a badass

There’s a reason Grand Theft Auto is so popular – the map is massive, and the possibilities are endless!

It’s a big world out there, and your life is the only chance you have to see and do the things you want. Sadly, in the real world we don’t get multiple lives, so do something awesome with the one you have!

This article first appeared on


  1. James

    May 13, 2015 at 15:45

    I agree with some of these points. I used to play games when I was younger and I miss the sense of achievement of finishing a really difficult level or even a game. I think games offer us the ability to get better at something. I remember playing THPS 2 and on the school level you had to kick flip the gap between that food truck and a bench, or something like that. The first time I did it I thought it was difficult but then by the later levels I was doing mad combos etc. I remember that sense of achievement that I had and although it was a small challenge I really felt good about it.

    On the other hand I think when I was younger I may have played too many games – it was easier to play games than do homework. I think people need a balance between gaming and whatever else it is that they do.

    • Jeremy Proome

      May 14, 2015 at 12:45

      THPS 2 for the win! I definitely think gaming does teach a fair set of skills. While most games out there are aimed at the casual user, there are many that require a certain level of temperament, problem-solving and perseverance. In my mind, there’s no major differences to the RESULT of doing something like a brain-training excersize. The medium, visual stimuli and content may be different, but the same outcome can be achieved. Plus, of course, they’re incredibly entertaining.

      A lot of people will waste time watching mind-numbing TV (think Kardashians etc) and then call say that playing video games is a waste of time, so I think really it’s a matter of perspective. I’d much rather spend 2 hours playing a really fun, engaging and story-driven game and get a good experience, than watch Kim Kardashian or some contrived cooking show. That’s just me.

  2. jhb_boet

    May 13, 2015 at 18:48

    What can we learn from GTA?

    • vusi_s

      May 13, 2015 at 19:12

      Not really fair to say

    • Jeremy Proome

      May 14, 2015 at 12:40

      Don’t try outrun the cops, just get a tank??

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