Helden sterben nicht <3

When a young person dies, the first thing I tend to think about is all the lost potential. What could they have become? What life could they have lived? So, when I heard about a young man my age, who died very suddenly late last year, I was brought to tears by some of his final words.

Dennis Hawelka was a german professional esports player. While most pro esports players start in their teens, Dennis did not begin playing professionally until his late twenties but he quickly grew to prominence under the name “INTERNETHULK” as a great League of Legends and Starcraft player until finally playing and later coaching pro teams in my favorite game Overwatch. He suddenly passed away in November 2017.

What really struck a nerve with me was what he said during an interview for the Overwatch World Cup:

“I made a career out of gaming when I was 29. I had a rough past before that. I told my dad what I’m doing and he is watching my games. And it’s the best feeling in the world to actually make your parents proud. And I feel that’s what I did. It’s amazing!!!” 😢

A few days after he passed away, the developers behind the game Overwatch announced The Dennis Hawelka Award to “be presented at the end of each Overwatch League season to the player that we deem to have had the most positive impact on the community”. Just like Dennis brought joy to the community, future players will take over the mantle.

Overwatch developers even added a memorial for Dennis in the game:

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I ❤ DH … Crusader stehen wache und Helden sterben nicht!

 

 

Purging my life

Over time, a lot of things just accumulate in your life. Whether it is random stuff, gifts you received or even extra responsibilities that came your way, it is often difficult to part ways with them.

If you are like me, you probably like to horde a lot of stuff, thinking that one day you might need them again. And it is rarely the case. Usually, the only pleasure I get from these things is a brief nostalgic sob moment when I bring out something from a few years back and think back to that time.

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Over the past few years, I have come up with a way to break the cycle.

Breathing easier

I call it “purging” because I truly want to cleanse parts of my life and not just do a “cleaning” like I did when I was younger! It’s not radical enough to clean. I must cleanse.

It is an incredibly simple process once you actually get the courage to start practicing it. All you need is a bunch of stuff that is burdening you and the will to breathe easier.

All you do is look at the damn thing, think for about 1 second about whether this is something that is still giving you ANY value today … like more than once a year. If not, put it in a trash bag and when you have gone through all of the stuff, just throw that trash bag in … you guessed it … the trash.

If you are feeling adventurous and you have a lot of time on your hands, you can put the stuff in the trash bag on Ebay or some other online flea market and sell it. But in my experience, it was more hassle to sell the damn thing than to just throw it away and use the time to work … and potentially making more money that way.

Please note: If you feel very strong nostalgia, you might want to put it in a separate pile and go back to it the next day. In most cases, just take a picture of this nostalgic thing and back it up online somewhere. It WILL suffice.

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And that’s it. You just do this often with anything that is burdening you. This even works for responsibilities but keep in mind that there are two people involved here, so inform the person or people who are expecting things from you that you want to purge this activity from your life. In most cases they will understand. If they don’t and the responsibility is just a burden with no value for you, you might need to purge these people from your life. If they don’t value you, you can’t value them.

Please note: Feel free to interpret the word “value” in any way you want. This can be money, pleasure or just pure joy out of helping. However, sometimes having a challenge that is not pleasurable can be more VALUABLE than an easy responsibility. So don’t just leave a job for more money but with less responsibility and justify it as purging. You might end up more unhappy than before. 

This whole thing might seem scary but after you get started, after each new purge, you will breathe easier. Well, that has been my experience 🙂

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The Power of Positivity in Gaming

 

One thing that tends to characterize online gaming is a lot of swearing and finger pointing. It is easier to blame others than to look at your own faults.

And the games truly reinforce this behavior. Whether they are modern military shooters or fantasy lands, most games are filled with destruction and violence. But I think that there is one popular game that goes against the grain at least a bit. That game is Overwatch.

Continue reading “The Power of Positivity in Gaming”

We are those who play

It’s just the beginning of 2018 and I am already missing deadlines. Feels like one of those moments in a game when you have a wave of enemies coming your way and you just accidentally drank some poison instead of a health potion.

That’s why it is so important to remind myself that all of this really is just a game. I love how the legendary game designer Hideo Kojima thinks about his life, his new game and his new studio Kojima Productions:

We are Homo Ludens (Those who play).

From the moment we enter this world, we instinctively invent ways to have “fun,”and share our inventions with those around us. We are not asked to do this, nor do we need reasons to create. It is simply who we are.

We find one another and compete with one another. We laugh together and cry together; all while playing together. Our experiences bind us and liberate us. To share our most valuable experiences, we create stories, invent tools, and evolve the art of play. Play has been our ally since the dawn of civilization.

“Playing” is not simply a pastime, it is the primordial basis of imagination and creation. Truth be told, Homo Ludens (Those who Play) are simultaneously Homo Faber (Those who Create).

Even if the earth were stripped of life and reduced to a a barren wasteland, our imagination and desire to create would survive – beyond survival, it would provide hope that flowers may one day bloom again. Through the invention of play, our new evolution awaits.

KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS – We are Homo Ludens. We are those who play.

We are those who play … indeed 🙂

Dealing with my party goblin

It is hard to admit but in another life, I could have ended up as an alcoholic or drug addict. This is why it did not happen.

I have a very addictive personality. If something pleasurable comes along, I latch onto it and repeat the behavior. Although I would prefer to believe that everybody is like this, I will just speak for myself here.

Drinking is a part of life and I often feel like the weird guy if I don’t have an alcoholic drink in my hand at a party. It loosens you up, gets you talking and I tended to feel like I was coming out of my shell when I was drinking at parties.

But then morning comes, you have a hangover and you regret your actions the previous night. Luckily I am more catatonic when under the influence of alcohol, so I never hurt anyone but I did say things or make stupid decisions while under the influence. Nothing major, just something that I don’t see in line with who I am.

So why have I reduced my alcohol to nearly zero? One reason is that I have a liver problems that come back once in a while. But I suspect that has a lot more to do with how much sugar I consume.

I have stopped drinking almost entirely because I just value sleep tremendously. I like to work a lot and I now have a small daughter, so time is sparse and sleep is more valuable. Alcohol ruins sleep.

And I can’t even start drinking at all sometimes because I know I will wake up my party goblin and just pour down one drink after another. I won’t pass out or get into a fight. But I will ruin my sleep!

Now that I am happily winning the fight with my party goblin, I now turn to my work and digital goblin.

I have started leaving work earlier and keeping my phone at home when going on family walks but since I work in IT, I don’t think I can imprison my work and digital goblins like I did with my party one.

How do you deal with workoholism and constantly looking at your phone?

All hands on deck!!!

Sometimes I think that at work we desperately want to pretend we are heroes and play a game of some kind.

Why else would would call our company-wide group therapy sessions ALL HANDS MEETINGS? Feels like pirates preparing to go plunder the sea, right?

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Or why do we build WAR ROOMS? Are we preparing for war or just pretending that outselling our competitor’s useless little product is just like battling an army of orcs?

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And my favorite one is definitely when businesses create a TASKFORCE. Feels like a special forces unit infiltrating the enemy territory and barely escaping,  doesn’t it?

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What are your favorite heroic workplace words or phrases? 🙂