Day before Christmas. Lazy morning down at the Cheasepeake Bay, cup of tea in hand, newspapers spread out over the sofa. No internet.
- Who’s coming for Christmas dinner tomorrow? Numen, 20, wants to know.
- I wanted to joke I had invited your heroes to Christmas dinner, I reply, but I don’t know who they are these days. Have you got any?
- Gamers. A few others like Junot Diaz. But mostly gamers.
- What do you admire about them?
- I mostly admire the gamers who make it a philosophy of enjoying gaming even when they lose. If you can’t handle losing, you should not game. They support playing your best, and having fun. Also, teaming with other gamers is rewarding, adds to the fun, and is gentler on the ego when the other team wins.
- Interesting you should say that, because I have been thinking how kids are told to “dream big” by educators, and also by successful inventors, and athletes, and pop idols. But very few will be stars, and that leads to a lot of frustration, look around you, The Big American Dream turns into The Big American Frustration, relieved by shopping or drug abuse or violence. We also tell the kids: you’re the best! You’re Number One! At the same time, it doesn’t make sense to tell kids: hey, dream really small because that might be all you get. What do you make of that?
- People blame themselves for what they see as their failure, whereas life is about playing, not winning. They think they made bad decisions that led to bad results and failure. A lot of luck is involved in life, just like in gaming. You don’t know what’s due to decisions, what’s due to chance. It’s not chess, where chance does not play a part because you make all the moves.
- True. Some chess players jump out the window, literally, when they lose.
- Sometimes people make good decisions that don’t pan out, sometimes they make bad decisions that lead to success. Playing the lottery is always a bad decision, except for that one person who wins. It’s not “I need to become Rihanna or Tom Cruise or Einstein”, but “how can I push my acting skills, what science attracts me most, which friends do I really enjoy playing music with?”.-
- So what message should we share with kids, instead of “dream big”?
- Dream strong. Do what you love, love what you do. Team up.
Contributed by - - Arabella Hutter in conversation with son Numen Rubino