Friday, November 17, 2017

Life Lessons and Wargaming: Don't Focus on the Outcome

Hey Everyone!  Today I will be continuing my series on "Life Lessons and Wargaming".  The point of this article series is to look at the little lessons we learn throughout life and how we can apply these to our Wargaming hobby.  In this article, I wish to explore the idea of not focusing on the outcome.  You may think back to my original article where I wrote extensively about visualizing your goal and wonder why I am now telling you to not focus on it.  At first, it can seem that way, but visualizing your goal and not focusing on your outcome are two distinct things.

Focus on the climb and not the view at the top

Visualizing your goal is essential to achieving your goal as it keeps it at the front of your mind and gives you the clarity on what you are working to accomplish.  However, if you focus only on the outcome of your goal then you will ultimately fail as you lose sight of the all-important hard work that will get you to the outcome you desire.  As time goes on and you are working toward your goal you will begin to lose the passion and motivation in the process of achieving your outcome.

A real-world example would be making more money in your career.  If you focus on making money you will trip up and most likely not make it where you want, but if you focus on the here and now with the process, which in this example is doing your current job to the best of your ability will more likely lead you to the goal of making more money.  So how does this apply to our Wargaming hobby?

Let's assume our goal is organizing and developing a local club to play games with on a regular schedule.  You will most likely begin by enjoying and crafting the idea of a room full of like-minded players enjoying gaming together for a day of fun and dice rolling.  This is a great thing to imagine as you can visualize what your goal is and you can keep it in your mind as you work toward your goal.  However, if you only focus on the outcome you will be distracted from the work and little details that need to be tackled to achieve that goal.  When you set up a club you need a venue, tables, terrain, a way to communicate to your community, and a lot more to really get to your goal.  If you keep daydreaming about the room full of gamers rolling dice you could easily miss that you don't have enough terrain or you lack a way to communicate.  You might show up to your first club day with only one or two other players and maybe no terrain.

At this point, most people will become discouraged and likely give up and their visualized goal will never come to fruition.  Mistakes will happen and you will forget items as it is part of our human nature and those little lessons that we learn as we grow outside of our comfort zones.  However, if we focused on the work and the preparation then our mistakes would be minimized and there is a good chance you would get the word out better and have enough terrain, etc...  Now you may still only have a few people showing up, but by not focusing on the outcome you will see the beginnings of achieving your goal rather than the failure of your goal.

The other key to learning from mistakes that happen as you work toward your goal is by living in the present and focusing on the hard work to achieve your goal will allow you to learn from those mistakes much quicker and prevent repeating them.  If your mind is always cast forward to the outcome then you will likely repeat mistakes and prevent yourself from achieving your visualized goal.  Mistakes will happen, but don't fear them.  Embrace them, learn from them, and move beyond them.

The joy we get from visualizing our hobby goals gives a small sense of satisfaction, even more so when we begin to work toward the goal.  Although a lot of people focus on that goal so much that when the amount of time and work to achieve their goal begins to reveal itself they lose that sense of a satisfaction.  The feeling of satisfaction is tenfold if you put in the work and focus on the process of achieving your goal. It seems odd, but the best way to achieving your goal is to not pursue the goal directly.

Continuing the example of having a successful club to wargame you need to figure out exactly what needs to be done to achieve the goal.  You need to direct your focus on the tasks to achieve your goal and not the goal itself.  Create a Facebook group to communicate and make it look nice and invite community members into the group.  Make sure you have the venue set and there are enough tables to have more then you expect to show up for a club day.  Put in the effort to have enough terrain and mats to game on.  Set up a club day and keep it consistent to create consistency so everyone has an idea of the next club day before you post the details.  Keep posting about events over and over to make sure everyone sees what is happening.

If you direct your energy to the details and hard work of achieving the visualized goal you will find at some point your goal has been achieved without putting the emphasis on the goal.  It is also very likely that by this point your goal might have changed a bit and that is a fantastic thing to happen.  You have begun to enjoy the hard work and the process and subconscious realized your goal will happen as you visualized so you began looking at what is next.  You are working to more than just a single goal.  You are working toward the constant improvement of the club and yourself as a hobbyist.  This idea, no matter if you are using it for Wargaming, Hobbying, or any aspect of life is the real key to thriving and not simply existing.

Ultimately the concept can be broken down living in the present to achieve the future you want.  If you are working toward your hobby goal then focus on the tasks at hand to achieve the goal and let the realization of accomplishing your goal arrive naturally.  Until next time, Happy Hobbying.

Previous Articles in this series:
Life Lessons in Wargaming: Goals and Purpose
Life Lessons in Wargaming: Self-Discipline vs. Self-Control