Mindful Fishing

As I  mentioned in a previous blog, I have been reading a  book called The Practicing Mind by Thomas M. Sterner.  The main concept is practicing tasks mindfully and focusing on the process and mechanics rather than the product or outcome. This is harder to do than it sounds especially in a product driven culture. It’s also surprisingly simple. Recently, I had noticed when I made a shift from product to process and reaped the rewards.

One of my favorite video games is Animal Crossing. it is the epitome of process oriented. There are no goals or levels to surpass. You are the mayor in a town of anthropomorphic animals and you are responsible for decorating your home and turning the quiet little town into a quaint bustling city through public works projects. So wa it, there IS a goal  to achieve the American dream. The inside and outside of your home are “judged” and give scores as well as your wardrobe and citizen satisfaction. So ultimately you want the perfect house and clothes in the perfect suburb. Sound Familiar? Of course all of these take what the American dream is built on … money or bells as they c all it in the game.

There are two main ways to earn bells fishing and bug catching, both of which requires some practice and skill.  The variety of fish and bugs available varies depending on the location, season, weather conditions, and time of day. The more rare or difficult something is to catch, the more bells it is worth. The best time and place to get big-ticket items is on the tropical island at evening and night.

At first, I had a hard time catching anything but, after several weeks, I was pretty much able to catch bugs and “regular” fish. THe most valuable commodity are sharks of various kinds recognizable  by fins sticking out of the water. For the first few months , I was trying and trying to catch sharks but to no avail. Finally, I got frustrated and let my wife catch them for me. It wasn’t fun or fulfilling. Finally, she said she wouldn’t catch any more so I  began to practice. I played for hours catching fish, bugs, and more and more frequently, sharks. I even played a sharks only mini game and caught eight sharks in six minutes.

As I honed my fishing skills,however, I began to become greedy. I didn’t want “regular” fish, I wanted sharks. I would spend hours at the tropical island just walking around the coastline looking for sharks. I didn’t want to catch the other fish because there is a chance I would get a low fish not worth very much. Soon, I began to get frustrated with the game as I did nothing but walk in circles.Then one day I was bored so I decided to  try fishing a big fish. It wasn’t a shark but it was worth a few thousand dollars.. Then I tried a small fish with the same result. I began to go around to see what I could catch. I decided if itwasn’t a good fish I would throw it back. Now I was actively fishing instead of walking around in a circle. I was amazed by how quickly my pockets filled and I only had to throw a few fish back! I found I could make up in volume what I  lacked in net worth per fish by fishing more quickly. and most importantly, I was enjoying the game again. I now see fishing as a relaxing, fun process rather than a way to make bells. And its fun! Isn’t that what video games are all about?




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