Thursday, March 14, 2013

Journey into Acknowledging and Overcoming Fear

Hello gamers and game devs!

I hope you can forgive the overly dramatic title...and also forgive me for not posting in so long. Has it really been over a year? I haven't been entirely idle for the full year though...just a fair chunk of it. Now that I'm finding my stride, I think it's time to start sharing my experiences with the world again.

And this one is a bit of a doozy. Let's buckle up and Journey into Acknowledging and Overcoming Fear.

Since this blog (an yours truly) is dedicated to video games and game development, I'm not talking about the fear of the dark or your the of spiders. Not being a trained psychologist, I can't really help with that. However, I can speak to my experiences of trying to overcome my own fear of actually getting a project started. The type of fear that can paralyze you from meeting your goals.

As I wrote in my very first blog post, I've wanted to do game dev for quite some time. I'm talking as early as the age of five or six, when my little brain had matured enough to realize that games didn't just materialize from the ether. I fantasized about being in a fancy suit in front of a big board of directors at Nintendo, presenting my idea for the next big game. The presentation was met with a standing ovation, and had that one obligatory old man in the back with a tear rolling down his cheek, happy to have staved off his retirement long enough to see such beauty (so I watched a lot of T.V...give me a break, I was six).

When I got to my adult years, and had the base set of skills I needed to really start digging into game programming...I didn't. There was always an excuse. I didn't have enough time, I needed to learn more, I just need a better idea, blah, blah, blah. My loved ones and friends who I would rant to about my indecision to would always be supportive. They would say things like "what do you have to lose by at least trying? Just go for it!" I adopted that mantra myself. I should just go for it! I've been saying it for a long time now! I don't have anything to lose, so why not just do it?

I was lying to myself. I did (and still do) have something to lose.

I had my dream to lose. That's the thing about dreams...until you try and make them a reality, the dream is still a perfect and beautiful thing. Untouched by reality and as warm and comforting as it was when you were a kid. Trying and failing at a dream isn't like trying and failing at anything else. It's scary.

Without even realizing it, I was too afraid to really try. By not trying I could always hang onto the hope that I could one day do it. By not trying I'd never lose my dream.

But I'd never gain it.

It was only when I finally acknowledged my fear of failure could I start to overcome it. It was like a light bulb went off in my head when I finally answered the question "why can't I get started?" The fear of failure can be an intense thing indeed, but when you have admitted to yourself that you're afraid, you can then ask yourself the important question "how do I get past my fear?"

Not an easy question to answer. For me, it was deciding that my dream was important enough to risk being hurt if I found myself unable to see it though. It's actually amazing how much easier it was to start making progress toward my ultimate goal (starting up my own dev studio) after I acknowledged my fear of failure. I've decided to really try and turn my dream into a goal, and that goal into a reality...and it's scary as all hell.

I guess if there is any moral to be taken from this blog post (other than an excuse to be slightly dramatic), is that if you find yourself having trouble getting started toward your goal, ask yourself if it's fear holding you back. I personally didn't even realize that I was making excuses because I was afraid of failure, and couldn't move forward because of it. Maybe it's the same for you? If you find that it is, then acknowledging that fear is the first step.

Whew...good to get that off my chest. I hope you can forgive my slight foray into the dramatic. I hope to start bloging again on a regular basis. My plan is to get a large(ish) post every Thursday, with smaller posts randomly sprinkled throughout the week.

Thanks for reading, and to my friends and family, thanks for your support! Let's make this happen!


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