I Gave Up Video Gaming

The story of why and what has taken place since.

For about the past couple of years, I have had this feeling that I needed to get rid of my Xbox One. Deep down I knew I was addicted to video gaming and that what I was doing was taking away from my family and my businesses. I would in no way label myself an avid gamer, though. On average, I’d put in around one hour, maybe more per night on video games. I realize that in today’s day and age, one might think this is no problem considering the average person spends nearly two hours per day on social media, over five hours per day watching TV, and nearly five hours per day on the phone (although this time probably includes social media and TV watching). Keep in mind, my one hour per day was an average. During the summer months when I’m in peak wedding photography mode, that figure might be 30 minutes per day, whereas the Winter months, when I do not have a lot of work, it could push two to three hours some nights. I would often times make excuses that I would game when my family was asleep, so it was either sleep or game. I would also workout as I would game. I have an elliptical exercise bike that works perfectly. However, these workouts were pretty much useless. Sure, it was better than being a potato on the couch, but an hour of riding that bike while gaming was probably the equivalent of five minutes of a solid workout in the gym.

As I mentioned, the bulk of my gaming would come in the Winter months. I would make excuses about my work during these months too, such as, it’s Winter, no one wants sessions outside unless there is snow. The days are shorter, it’s harder to schedule an evening session. The scenery doesn’t look great. The problem is, these were excuses. This past Winter was one of my busiest Winters and I realized that I could actually be working during the “slow” months. In fact, “slow” didn’t have to actually be a thing anymore. For this reason, and the reason of feeling conviction weighing heavier and heavier on me, I decided to stop. Keep in mind, I was addicted. While I didn’t game anywhere near the amount of time a hobbyist gamer plays, it consumed my thoughts. In January, I decided I would stop. I would still keep the Xbox and play only on the rarest of occasions, but for the most part I was done. This last a week. Then it lasted a few days. Then, by February, it was back to every night. Near the end of March is when the feeling of conviction really started to weigh it’s heaviest. I needed to get rid of it. Honestly, I had this feeling that if I wanted to know what true success looked like with my business and with my marriage, I needed to sell it. That day, I listed it for sale and in a matter of 24 hours, it was gone.

That next day, things with my family had already improved. Not that things were bad by any means, for me, it was more a mental thing. I no longer cared about the next game coming out, I wasn’t reading the latest news or watching the latest game trailer because it didn’t matter to me.

Mentally, I was more invested in the game of family and business!

What about business though? Like I mentioned, Winter WAS my slow time. I’m no longer using that excuse nor having that mentality. At the time of writing this post, it is now mid-April. In years past, my seriously busy season didn’t start until May once the signs of Spring were in full bloom. This year, less than a month after selling the Xbox, my schedule is so packed that I almost think I’m overbooking myself. I have had new opportunities come up that a year ago I was dreaming about doing. I’m even starting a vlog. I’ve never wanted to do that, but I’ve got the drive, the ideas, and the willingness to do it now. Maybe prior to this month, video games consuming my mind really affected my ability to think more creatively? I’m not sure, but one thing I do know, my creative juices are flowing like never before.

I’m not saying that simply because I sold my Xbox that all of a sudden I have clients lining up to book my service. However, I’m not opposed to thinking that this could be a possibility. As a Christian, I feel this conviction of my addiction was totally God opening my eyes to my addiction and making me aware that it was hindering my home and work life. Galatians 6:7 says “…for what a man sows, he will also reap.” No matter your stance or beliefs on religion, everyone should agree with this statement. If you sit on the couch all day eating candy and drinking soda, it’s only a matter of time until you end up in the hospital with many problems. If you hustle like no other in business, cash in on the ups and push through the downs, you might find yourself to be very financially successful. For me, I was sowing a lot of mental energy into video games. I would watch videos, read articles, as well as actually play the games. This addiction was a time waster, and so I reaped what a sowed and had “slow” Winters, and financially, while we were able to make ends meet, we knew we could have been doing better.

Please know that I’m in no way saying video games are bad and will lead to an unsuccessful lifestyle. I believe that video games, like many things, are okay in moderation. It’s a form of entertainment. Some people like watching shows, going to concerts, sewing, fishing, surfing, and so on. None of these things are bad, however, unless your job is working concerts, if you were to go to a show every weekend, your bank account might not appreciate your habit so much. My mental energy put toward video games was a bad habit, it was my addiction and cutting out the very thing that fed my addiction (the Xbox), my mind was free of caring or thinking about it. I have been able to put that mental energy toward things that matter and in less than a month, I feel that I’m already reaping the rewards not only mentally, but also with my family, physically (better workouts), and spiritually.

I’ll end with this thought, I read about a person who challenges things that he feels might be addictions by giving them up for a month. If during that month he does the thing he gives up, that’s his sign to himself that this is an addiction and that’s not good. At that point, he will cut that thing out of his life. I encourage you to try this. Of course, be reasonable, I mean you can’t cut out all food for 30 days. I tried to give up Xbox for a month and as I mentioned, one week later I was back on it. That was my first visual sign that this was a bad addiction for me. I plan to follow up on the progress of this blog later this year. I’m not even at a month from the time I sold the Xbox, but I do believe I’m already seeing some benefits of my decision, and I believe that if you have an addiction that is hindering a part of your life, you will see some benefits too by getting rid of it.

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