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Co-Editor's Column - Playing on hard mode

April 18, 2012 - Sometimes life takes a nasty turn and nothing ever seems to get better.

It's times like this that giving up and letting responsibilities slide or outright fall becomes easy. This can come along with a variety of perceived reasons ranging from "I've bitten off too much, I should tone it back" to "lets see how they manage without ME." With the economy in the burnt-down-and-smoking stage of the typical Phoenix-style rebirth the U.S. goes through every 15 years or so, management's practice of loading an employee with massive burdens with no compensation makes frustration and stress more common-place than ever before.

There's simply no money to pay people more and no money to hire more people in an ailing economy without an overhaul of fund allocations, but that's a story for another day.

Today I'd like to talk about playing on hard mode in video games and why I typically select the most difficult setting when booting up the latest and greatest multimedia entry.

Video games, at their core, are forms of entertainment. People play these to have fun and the inclusion of interactivity lets games offer a player an experience unlike that available in books, music or even movies. Sometimes the entertainment value in a game comes not from content but from the challenge.

Humans love to be challenged - it gives us a chance to prove our worth. Some of us like it more than others but I find a hearty challenge satisfying and means to alleviate boredom. A job that has me working constantly, while I am at work, is fun and time seems to go by quicker as a result.

Meanwhile a job that has you doing unrewarding easy work or a task that is time consuming but completely void of intrigue dips the clock's hands in syrupy boredom.

So playing a game on the most difficult setting not only provides more fun, but as a byproduct makes you better at the game. If there ever comes a point where frustration in consistent failure comes to a head, reach over and set the difficulty one point lower and watch how masterful you've become. Tasks that once required great concentration are now handled effortlessly and regular challenges are so easy a player may feel overpowered for the game's difficulty.

Many of you of course see where I may be going with this so here's the point: the same is true in life. Many do not realize this but The Lake Orion Review is a two person operation. Granted there are those that run the press, fold the papers, manage the computers, sell the ads and handle the many different aspects of running a successful paper, but the content, the layout and the information gathering is done by two people: myself and my intrepid co-editor Trevor Keiser. Before Trevor got here, Joe St. Henry was my second, but in-between these two there was a time when the paper came out on my watch - I was working solo.

I knew it was coming, but instead of asking for help or telling the higher-ups I couldn't do it, I instead decided to play on hard mode. I called in a number of interns to help produce copy, relied more on parent and outside contributions, and wrote an additional two to three stories a week. I won't lie - by the end I was completely burnt out and ready to stop.

But now we're back up to full staff the whole thing seems like a breeze now. We're still sorting out some bugs, but for the most part the work is easy - because I learned to do more in less time.

So before you stop believing in yourself or decide you're not qualified or capable of a taste - try it. Before you crawl to others asking for help or throw your hands up exclaiming it's too much - push through it. Life nearly always gets easier and trying to do more than you're capable of expedites this process.

Play on hard mode, because unlike those video games, the worst that can happen is (usually) not death.

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