Dr. K’s 12 Rules for Life

These are notes that I took from Dr. K’s stream (HealthyGamer_GG) on Twitch earlier today. They’re not perfect, and I missed bits of it. (I was hula hooping at the beginning when he said he’d be sharing his protips or rules for life, even missed part of how he phrased it.) But, here is what I wrote:

  1. RNG spawn point – you don’t get to choose your race, economic status, your background, etc.
  2. Life is a sandbox – can literally do anything, there is no inherent meaning.
  3. Your choice between PVP and co-op – you can choose to invalidate people, or help them. You can ask for help, or attack/support others.
  4. There are world bosses, and these world bosses cannot be defeated alone – everyone tries to do what they know in their hearts to be insufficient, in hopes to defeat the boss.
  5. There is no respawning, and the servers are gonna go offline in 72 years on average – if you eff up, you eff up, game over, no infinite tries or one-ups.
  6. Content (DLC) is there and does not expire – the amount of time to learn a skill is largely static, just because you “wasted time” learning one skill doesn’t mean you can’t learn another one or that it’s gonna “take more time”.
  7. Beware of people who sell walkthroughs to a sandbox game – no one is gonna have perfect information on how to live your life, and they might understand some pieces, but cannot give you a perfect walkthrough.
  8. Gear up before carrying other people through content – (Beware the complexity of the mind? Slightly got distracted by chat, so this might be part of rule 8. I initially listed it separately as rule 9.) Basically, are you equipped to help others with their problems, or are you gonna drag yourself down in the process by trying to help?
  9. Success is dependent on your raid guild – if you want to play better, you gotta think about the company you keep.
  10. Any build is viable – a writer, doctor, artist, etc.
  11. Exploit the meta – such as nowadays, entertainment > work
  12. The final boss is you – external problems (the raid boss) time to get good, what is the actionable thing (I), it’s not about the external, the same problem is, “I, I, I, I.”

I agree with all of these points. These are guidelines that I have discovered on my own, though I love the specific ways he phrased some of these points, with gamer analogies. (If you don’t understand some of the gamer terms used, you could look in up with “define <keyword> gamer” on Google.) Especially when he mentioned solving societal challenges or issues as “world bosses”, I thought that was a powerful way to frame it.

I’m going to go through each of these points and share more of my thoughts and ideas.

1. RNG spawn point

I think I have accepted this for the most part. Sometimes, I do fall victim to life circumstances, such as pre-existing health conditions, traumatic events, societal/cultural expectations based on my background/status, being a woman, being a minority, etc. But, I try my best to think, “Okay, these are the cards I was dealt with. Now what?” I can’t reroll my beginner stats, but I can accept it, assess it, and build from there.

2. Life is a sandbox

I’ve pretty much done this for most of my life. Even during my middle school and high school years when I was partially brainwashed into thinking that I have to be a productive/successful individual (whatever that means), I’ve learned to live life according to my own terms.

It’s a bit tricky when it comes to what’s morally right/wrong. But even in a sandbox, there are rewards or consequences. And sometimes, you never truly know what the outcome will be. That’s part of the fun.

So, I ask myself, what is my intention? What do I want to create? What is the meaning that I want to assign? What speaks out to me?

3. PVP or Co-op

I switch back and forth between the two. It’s hard for me to stick in one mode for an extended period of time. I think part of it is having lingering beliefs running in the background on autopilot. Though, I also realize, every human being has their own mode of playing. Some want to be allies with everyone. Some will only be allies with people who they consider “useful”, and then discard the rest. Some will fight everyone.

In business or music, I try not to focus so much on competition. As soon as I become competitive, I lose my edge, my uniqueness and what makes me stand out. I’m not the strongest or most technical vocalist. I’m not the best music producer. I don’t have tons of accolades to my name. So, I go for the blue ocean strategy vs. red ocean (for any of you business folks out there).

When it comes to societal issues such as racism or ableism, it’s hard not to feel like your fighting against a mob at times. But when it comes to PVP, what am I actually trying to resolve? It’s a mode of the game of life, but I guess the intention matters to me as well. Do I want friendly competition/debate, or am I looking to cancel/further divide groups? Do I strive for harmony? What is my aim when I engage in PVP?

4. There are world bosses, and these bosses cannot be defeated alone

LOVE this framing. For myself, I cannot comprehend some huge societal issues. Especially when it comes to politics, I feel quite lost in the polarization of topics. I ask myself, what can I do to resolve such a big issue? I think just listening and supporting those who offer helpful ideas to resolve those issues is a small way of contributing. It’s when a bunch of people do small seemingly insignificant actions that help to defeat the world boss. If you’ve ever played an MMORPG, or even just a team sport, you know what this means.

5. There is no respawning

Unlike most video games, you can’t restart life. You can’t just decide you want to spawn in another body. Knowing this, are you just gonna give up? Or are you gonna at least figure out what you can do, and then attempt something? You get a day at a time to experience life with this particular avatar (your physical being). So if it’s gonna be game over some day anyway, why not just try to do something with your life?

6. Content is there, and it never expires

Too many people give up early, justifying that they’ve wasted their youth or their prime years. Part of it may be conditioning as well as the sunk cost fallacy. There’s way too many people saying something like, “I’ve always wanted to study, but I didn’t have the money to pay for it. And now, I’m too old, too forgetful. Plus, it’s expensive.”

Well now with the age of the internet, you literally can learn/try anything. And, you literally can find a way to do almost anything. Want to travel? Take a local trip. Or, find a cheap flight/deal. Want to study psychology? Take some free courses online. Borrow a library book on the topics that interest you. Want to start a business? You don’t need tons of money. You can build a business using your own skills/talents, or build up from there first. Want to produce an album? Well with the internet, now you can. Want to take up streaming? You don’t need an expensive setup, and may be able to test the idea out at a PC lounge.

And the best part is, you can always pivot. If you’ve been working in real estate for a decade, you can still decide to take up astronomy later in life. There’s no rule saying that you cannot try something else. There are also multiple routes to taking up any interest.

7. Beware of people who sell walkthroughs to a sandbox game

There is no one way or one path to take to live life. There are so many ways. You don’t have to follow the traditional route. And, you don’t have to take the most unconventional route either. The cool thing is, you get to decide.

Everyone operates on their own mode, their own sets of beliefs and abilities. That doesn’t make one path superior to another, objectively. They’re just different.

Especially nowadays, there’s so many “influencers”, “entrepreneurs”, and “gurus” online who sell their own courses, eBooks, etc. giving the same generic advice to the masses. I’m not saying that it can’t work, but that a little skepticism is warranted.

Even with myself, if you consume my content regularly, realize that what I am sharing is my own perspective and what I’ve been experimenting with or experiencing. The activities I engage in on a daily basis are a reflective of my beliefs, conditionings, values, priorities, habits, and pre-existing conditions.

Now, does that mean you can’t learn from anyone? No, you can still learn from others. Just realize, your results may vary. What works well for someone else might not work at all for you. Anyone who is guaranteeing 100% success in a particular way needs to hit me up, because I need to know how you are doing that, for research purposes. 😉

If you do decide that you would like to follow someone else’s walkthrough, make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. If possible, test it out first (such as with free content) before fully committing.

8. Gear up before carrying other people through content

It’s similar to the expression of putting the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting others. I know way too many people who attempt to help others, when their own similar needs are not being met, and then responding in frustration, anger, and more.

Gearing up is more than just knowing how to overcome an experience. It could be about preparing mentally or emotionally. There’s a reason why not anyone can just spontaneously decide to practice trauma psychology. It could involve physical preparation as well. Not everyone is physically able to assist others in specific ways, at least not at a great expense to their own health.

Be aware of your limitations. If those are limitations you would like to expand and work on, then you can. But, realize that you don’t have to push yourself to help others while burning yourself out.

When you see others hurting and you realize your own limitations, you can find others who specialize in those areas to help instead. Maybe you can even offer your own help, and explain what you are willing and can do within reason. Sometimes when someone is especially struggling, I’ll share resources and tools that have worked to me, such as by linking a book or a website.

None of us have all the answers. If we did, then society would be perfect. Be willing to accept that hey, maybe you won’t be able to help out in every moment depending on what gear you’ve got equipped at the time.

9. Success is dependent on your raid guild

You want to improve in a certain area of your life? Look at who’s in your group. And, I don’t mean this in an elitist way. I actually mean this in a supportive context. Find the group of people who have what you’re looking for, with the values that matter to you.

I used to go to magnet school, two different ones actually. I was excited to go initially back when I received my acceptance letter to this new prestigious middle school. Wow, imagine learning so many interesting things! Well, it was also a breeding ground of toxicity, for poor life and health habits, and more. I had been exposed to bullying of various forms from students and teachers. I was told to prioritize studies over a social life and over physical activity. Soon, I was staying up past midnight to cope with the stress, and was ultimately scared to ask for help when my “giftedness” was no longer sufficient to ace all my classes.

For a while, I was stuck on a mental treadmill. Hustle harder. Take more classes. Make more money. If you’re up, you might as well be “productive”. It was exhausting.

And then, I came across some individuals who shared a very different idea of what success is. Some of it was by circumstance, or well, a lot of it. And, some of it was intentionally seeking out those people. I realized that some people do not find it weird at all to be jobless, to be focused on health habits, or to be engaged solely in hobbies/interests without worrying about all the financial details.

One part is the support aspect, and the other part is actively engaging with those who are working on or have already achieved what you’re interested in. If you want to get into fitness again, try hanging around friends who already have that established habit. If you want to learn to sing in a certain genre, look to see what similar artists are doing, or take vocal lessons from someone who specializes in that genre.

I am still working on establishing my ideal raid guild. Though, I do notice that parts of what I want are reflected through my friendships with various people. Some are invested in health habits or self-care. Some are invested in music. Some are invested in travel. When I’m exploring these a particular aspect of my life, I seek out the individuals who are also in alignment with such goals, values, or areas.

Let’s say you are trying to take your first hip hop dance class, and you’ve always wanted to become a dancer. Someone else you know strongly opposes because “you’re a shy person and there’s no way you’re gonna do that, you’re gonna embarrass yourself.” Cut that person off. Surround yourself with people who support your goals and your ideas. Find people who encourage and who help you to stay on track.

Your raid guild could also include your environment and your resources/tools.

10. Any build is viable

I wish someone told me this sooner, especially when I was first selecting my major in high school. I think I was too focused on “the one” for my career path, that I didn’t realize there’s so many ways to succeed in life in the way that matters to me.

Honestly, I don’t think a change in my major would have made much of a difference. I think there are some lessons I learned at uni (or school in general) that I have figured out how to apply in real life. Similar to rule 6, content never expires, and so I can always learn later in life. Maybe the opportunities are different now compared to ten or twenty years ago, but it’s about adapting more than the build itself.

From a young age, I had been dabbling as a content creator in various ways: blogger, YouTuber, music producer/performer, educator, presenter, photographer, graphic designer, streamer, publisher, etc. For some reason, I was partially brainwashed into thinking that I couldn’t possibly do this for the rest of my life. I thought that I needed to do something more “practical”, like become a researcher or a doctor or a scientist. There’s nothing wrong with those fields either. I just needed to realize that I could still play the game of life and succeed using my own build, my own unique skills and talents. My creative skills can and have come to my advantage, especially when I embrace it.

11. Exploit the meta

My favorite rule! If you already know that a game is rigged in a certain way, use that to your advantage. Why not?

I have been pushing for this since uni, which is to embrace technology taking over parts of the workforce. I don’t know why people resist it so much, other than they don’t see the other opportunities out there. In uni, my group presented the idea of Digimenu, a digital menu on a tablet for people to order food and such. A girl in my class was opposed to the idea because we would be replacing service people with technology. But in my head, it made so much sense, because those people could then do other more meaningful work. And if they want to still work in the restaurant business, they could, maybe in more creative roles such as innovating new menu options. I thought that by replacing routine work with technology, we would be making room for people to embark in more groundbreaking ideas and projects.

Just think about the internet. How amazing is it that I can just publish this article from my home, or anywhere really, and someone halfway across the world can access it? How awesome is it that I can collaborate with a graphic designer in Slovenia, a music producer in Argentina, myself in the US, and drop a music album online for the world to listen to, without having to go through major legislative or financial hurdles?

Nowadays, people are resisting AI. And honestly, I myself have been a bit hesitant to invest and experiment with it more. But, hearing this rule again makes me think that when the opportunity presents itself, why not go for it?

12. The final boss is you

Every “problem” in life is ultimately the way that we choose to relate to it. Sounds simplistic, especially when you think about crime and such in society. But really, all we can control is ourselves.

If someone else is suffering, we can do our best to help. Just remember that at the end of the day, we are left with our own thoughts and feelings. So if you’re struggling with the same thoughts and patterns or situations, it may be time to reflect. External events are no longer external once they infiltrate our minds. They are internal manifestations of our beliefs and conditionings.

I recommend to anyone struggling in general or feeling discontent, ask yourself what you can do to help yourself each day. It may be to meditate, to take a quick shower, to journal, to go for a walk, to cook and eat a homemade meal, to schedule a doctor’s appointment… Do what you can to get yourself in a good place before solely focusing on what’s going on around you.

Those are my thoughts. Whew! I could have went more into detail, and maybe I will expand on these points sometime in the future for those who are interested. This is also good for me to reflect upon myself and see if I’m abiding by these rules, as well as if I agree or disagree. I love how these rules are pretty open-ended, not just black and white thinking. That’s how I imagine life to operate.

Again, these 12 rules were shared by Dr. K, the beloved Twitch streaming psychiatrist. This was the first full-on stream by him that I’ve attended. He apparently streams three times a week, MFW for 2 hours at the same time each day. So, I’ll definitely tune into the next one to see what he shares.

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