Skyrim Wisdom – Part 1: Exploration & Curiosity

The world is such a big place. So many things to see. Towns, mountains, dragons… oh, I was talking about Skyrim, by the way. It’s easy to get lost in Skyrim’s expansive world.

What would happen if we took that sense of exploration and curiosity and applied it to our everyday lives? Curious? Let’s explore that question.

Live For Now

Yesterday, I was so busy admiring Skyrim’s environments I almost missed an awesome real life sunset. Ever done something like that?

Real Life Sunset
Beautiful sky at sunset. Photos don’t do it justice. Kind of the point, really.

Like the caption says, the photo doesn’t do it justice. But I saw it. I experienced the bright glowing purple and orange sky for just a few minutes before it was gone. It was beautiful and I was so close to missing it.

Recently, I had wanted to get back into Skyrim, make a new character. I hadn’t done a lot last time, but wanted something fresh. So I thought about roleplaying my character, giving him hopes and fears and playing those out. Eating and sleeping when needed, and so on.

I started writing up a character journal, even. I quickly changed my mind. As soon as I gave myself permission to stop, the world opened up. I realised every moment didn’t need to be picture-perfect or have an amazing story to it. I could just have fun and explore.

I was living each moment to record for later, not just experiencing it.

Sound familiar, shutterbugs?

When we’re snapping selfies all day or recording an experience, are we missing it while documenting it? I take plenty of photos, don’t get me wrong. But it really is nice sometimes to just keep the phone in your pocket and drink in the scene before you. Photos can’t capture everything.

Different Approach = Different Result

I thought, when starting a new character I’d get bored doing some of the same main quests I’d already done. How wrong I was.

Sure, those quests were the same, but I tackled them differently. Rather than sneaking through, I blasted fire into patches of oil. I summoned creatures to do my bidding. I took a follower with me, unlike before.

It reminded me that when you change your perspective or approach, even a little, you can get an entirely different result.

Don’t believe me? Try this classic comic on for size.

Tree Swing Project Management Comic

 

Those outcomes are entirely different. Some don’t even have a tree, or a swing! It’s because – aside from poor communication – different people come at situations from different perspectives.

It’s about exploring different options.

Think as if you were someone else. How would they do this? How would a successful role model of mine do this? How would someone with no preconceptions approach this? As Apple say, Think Different.

The lesson? Change your approach to change your result.

Be Curious

You know what made my quests even more different, though? Curiosity.

I have a rule in Skyrim: always follow foxes. Whenever a wild fox appears I follow it until it leads me to something interesting. It’s never failed me yet.

There is so much to do and see in Skyrim that when I saw something interesting in the near distance I investigated. For hours. One thing led me to the next. I was lost and loving it.

I found things I’d never seen before. My wife’s put hundreds of hours into the game and she hadn’t seen some things I saw in my first in-game day.

A Painted Cow In Skyrim
I’d never seen this farmer and his sacrificial cow before.

So, what if we were this curious in our real lives?

What if we asked ourselves and others “Why do we do it this way?”Is it the best way or just how we’ve always done it. Can we benefit from doing it differently?

I know in jobs and projects I’ve been involved in before there was often not much curiosity. No time or money to explore, let’s just do it the old and safe and boring way. Most of those projects went over time and over budget, ultimately failing to deliver.

Follow-up projects that dared to question their own existence succeeded. Why is this project necessary? What’s it really for? What are we here to solve? Is that the real problem or just a symptom? Is the way we’ve been told to solve it the best way? Can we do it differently to do it better?

Curiosity so often leads to unexpected discoveries
Curiosity so often leads to unexpected discoveries

I rode home on my push bike a different way a few months ago. I discovered that the park I was riding through connects to a nice quiet street. It was flat and it came out right near my house. I crossed the road and was home.

Every other time I had gone left instead of right and had to peddle, peddle, peddle up a short but steep hill. Going this new way, it was a gradual unnoticeable climb.

I’m not saying going the other way is better or easier, always. But it is likely to be interesting. This goes back to doing something you’ve always done, but differently. If you do this with a sense of curiosity, there’s no telling what you’ll discover.

You may very well end up the same place you always do, but the experience along the way will have been new and fresh and you might just have discovered something by doing it.

Be curious in life. Explore your world. Ask questions. Dig deeper. Truly see.

Look Up

I almost missed that sunset because I was playing video games.

It wouldn’t have been the end of the world, of course. However, it reminded me of this video you may have seen, called Look Up.

It has some good messages, but I feel the second half’s a little more of a stretch that it needed to be. Anyway, it’s worth a watch and my main take away from it is “when you’re too busy looking down, you don’t see the chances you miss”. Whatever those chances may be.

I don’t guarantee you’ll get a partner and grand kids by looking up from your phone. But, you might see a pretty sunset or two. Or you might see something that draws your curiosity and if you follow it, who knows what else you could discover?

Open Chat

How have games helped you be more curious in the real world? What’s a time you’ve discovered something great and unexpected? When has curiosity paid off for you? Shout out in the comments below.

Jarrod

When Jarrod's not writing about personal development through pop-culture, he's helping people like you reach their goals through fun, empowering coaching.

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