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Kelechi Udoagwu: Level Up! It’s Time to Start Thinking of Life Like a Video Game



dreamstime_l_46737748Wanting is easy, but trying to be great — well, that’s torturous.” – Philip Seymour Hoffman

Man is the only animal for whom being alive is not enough. It’s our nature to want better for ourselves and become more than we are. The irony is, even with this yearning, few of us act on getting the future we want. Pause and reflect on your actions this week. Did you work towards your dream future or spend each day doing mundane things like eating, sleeping, and hanging on Twitter? I’ll be as bold to say that it should be a sin to dream without acting, or be dissatisfied without trying something different. It’s like giving up on happiness without a fight. But don’t quote me on this. Most times, I do just as bad as everyone else.

To motivate myself when I feel stuck, I think of life like a video game with different levels. I constantly remind myself that the goal of the game (and of life) is to get to the ultimate level, win the high score and trophies. I remind myself to stay focused on that because the moment I miss a beat, a dragon slays me and I have to start all over. Learning new ways to attack the dragons is necessary because what got me to level 2 will not get me to level 3.

Most of us, in real life, are stuck in level 1. We have done the same things over and over again for so long, and are wondering why we can’t seem to be move forward. It’s time to wake up (!), remind yourself that level 10 is where life gets rosy, and slay all dragons till you get there. Here are some tips to beat the game:

Break your problems into tiny pieces you can handle
When you think of all you want to accomplish, it might seem like a mountain you can’t ever conquer. But one of my fave fellows once asked “How does one eat an elephant?” Answer: You have to cut it into tiny pieces and eat it bit by bit. Granted, you won’t finish it in a day. But eventually you will.

Pace yourself so you don’t burn out
You’re not in a race. Even if life was one, it would be a marathon, not a 100m dash. It doesn’t matter how slowly you progress, as long as you do progress. There are so many successful people who reached success late in life; JK Rowling, Martha Stewart, Momofuku Ando – who invented instant noodles at age 48. So don’t rush yourself unduly.

Stop comparing your chapter 1 to somebody else’s chapter 20
As Malcolm Gladwell once remarked, “On the road to great achievement, the late bloomer looks like a failure”. Life is different for everyone. Some of your peers started earlier than you and that’s fine. Celebrities are on their own path and you’re on yours. You can’t compare what they have with what you have. You can’t play your game and watch your neighbor’s pad at the same time.

Take a risk
Do something you haven’t done before. Learn new game skills. If there’s a gap in the way things are done presently, try to fill it. Challenge the status quo, and be weird and eccentric. Africa is still so far behind because no one is thinking differently, or taking crazy risks. Someone has to step up and change things. Could it be you?

Ask for help
If you’ve tried and nothing seems to work, by all means, stop and ask for help. Talk to people who have been in your situation. Humbly ask for advice or support, there’s no shame in asking, and there’s much to gain. Show them how far you’ve come and where you got stuck. Chances are, they went through the same thing.

And if all else fails…
Read this post again 🙂 I really do believe we can do whatever we set our minds to.
As long as you’re on earth, you haven’t run out of lives yet. See you in level 10!

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Kelechi Udoagwu is an Accra-based Nigerian writer, consultant, and Founder of Week of Saturdays. She works with organizations and thought leaders to communicate goals and reach new markets. She also guides young freelancers to get a foot in the gig and talent economy.


  1. @edDREAMZ

    January 18, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    Not feeling the post though…..

    • Lomo

      January 18, 2016 at 7:37 pm

      Did you even read it?! Please return to planet earth maybe you’ll feel it

    • Ba

      January 19, 2016 at 12:49 am

      Your comment and is the 1st makes me lol because it seems weird to me pardon. Does it mean you read but can’t comprehend the message or better, it doesn’t meet your want.
      Everyone with their own ball game.

      Kudos to the writer.

  2. Abiola

    January 18, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    Nice piece, keep the good work.

  3. Honeycrown

    January 18, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Nice article. What truly works for me is taking one day at a time. I don’t look at the big picture because it’s overwhelming. I have few goals and I’m gradually getting there. I’ve totally stopped comparing myself to others or wanting what others have when it “truly” dawned on me that the grass isn’t greener on the other side. And I actually live a pretty well balanced life for my age. I’m not saying my life is perfect but I’ve learnt to roll with the waves and not fight it so I don’t get tossed painfully ashore like I used to. What truly changed my perspective was when I began a focused and personal relationship with God. I don’t want to sound corny but God “touched” me 6 years ago and I was fighting it. I eventually fully gave in about 2 years ago and since then, I’ve been evolving daily into a better person. I had no idea you can still be cool, fun, silly, fabulous, ambitious, edgy etc and still have a great relationship with God and those around you. Achieving goals is all relative, there’s no one size fits all so don’t stress yourself. The saying is true, “Let go and let God”.

  4. mary danta

    January 18, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    Thanks for the article. clicked on your website but it saying error.

  5. Emerson

    January 19, 2016 at 9:10 am

    Lovely piece..printed n pasted on my wall…Kudos to You

  6. MKO4ever

    March 21, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    Well-written article, please keep it up

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