OK, OK — So obviously not an article about completely wasting time spending hours playing games while you should be working….But, there are actually a number of ways your Candy Crush (or other online game) obsession might not be so bad after all. In fact, games like Candy Crush offer a number of valuable life lessons that are also applicable to work situations:
1. You have to be strategic — If you have played the game a while you know that even though luck is sometimes a factor, it takes skill and strategy to get various candies lined up the way you need for key plays. Moving candies in a series of moves can set you up for an ideal next play, forcing you to think strategically about the entire game and its goals, not just the move right in front of you. For example, you may have an option to line up 5 color candies in a row and create a color bomb, but that won’t help you on your goal of moving a cherry to the bottom of the board. The same is true with work — The choice in front of you may look appealing but it doesn’t necessarily help you get to your ultimate goal.
2. It’s OK to have to try again — Especially on challenging levels, you know sometimes you may have to repeat a board time and time again until you get it right. For individuals tempted to give up if they can’t succeed right away, this type of lesson is extremely helpful to have patience when getting to a ‘win.’ Sure, you may have a game where you win a level on the first try, but just like life, this often isn’t the case.
3. Also, sometimes it’s OK to give up and start over — On several of the levels, it becomes obvious that you will never complete the board or achieve goals in the allocated moves remaining. You can elect to ‘leave game’ before it is technically completed, knowing that you will need to start over and try again. In business, we are sometimes tempted to keep pushing ahead down a path even when we know it will not end the way we want. Accept the inevitable and take the time to leave that course and start over or chart a new path.
4. Learn from mistakes — Candy Crush is certainly not unique in this attribute, but games as a whole teach a valuable lesson — How to learn from what went wrong in a previous game and how to avoid the same mistake again. In your business, be sure to always evaluate the factors that went into something not working out — Were you understaffed? Did you need other equipment? Different insurance coverages? Learn from those mistakes and take steps to avoid repeating them.
5. Make your brain work in new ways — Ruth Curran, author of Being Brain Healthy, talks about the concept of ‘stretching’ your brain and forcing it to work in new ways to ensure longevity and function. Forcing your brain to think spatially by arranging and stacking candies, even if you work in a linear career such as communications or finance, can help encourage neuron health and function.
6. Use short work breaks to help develop new ideas — Stuck with writer’s block or not quite sure how to finish a project? Many people use the method of stepping away from a task and coming it back to it later to clear their minds. Using a short Candy Crush break can do the same thing; you have to stop thinking about whatever you were previously working on to complete the game. Once completed, you may find returning to your earlier project with a refreshed mind gives you the idea or words you were struggling to find previously.
7. Use a victory to counteract a crummy day — You might have a case of the “Mondays,” not energized or enthusiastic at work. Or perhaps you are struggling after an uncomfortable meeting or it’s just simply dark and rainy outside. Winning a level on Candy Crush (or other progressive level game) gives you a boost of dopamine, or the ‘happy’ hormone that can quickly elevate your mood. It may sound counterintuitive, but if you find yourself frowny and gloomy, taking a quick break and acing that challenging level can set you on the right course for the rest of the day!