on video games and creativity…

Having no cable, and only subscriptions to Hulu and Netflix, it leaves a lot of time in the house for Reddit, YouTube, reading, and video games.  I recently started playing Fallout 3 again, a post-nuclear fallout look at Washington DC and the chaos that reigns.  Fallout is a wide open world role playing game, where there is a primary mission that the game follows and if completed in order, triggers some sort of ending sequence based on your choices.  However, Fallout presents a wide open world full of numerous missions of their own importance, scale, and length, and there is no need to directly follow the path that the game’s story wants to take you on.

This is probably… my fourth time playing through the game, as it is really enjoyable, and in previous versions, I have stuck to the story, although I thought I ventured onto side quests quite a bit and spent tons of time off the main storyline.

However, I would also see things pop up on the Fallout subreddit that I had no idea about or had never seen/heard of, and Eugene would ask me about certain elements of the game, and I would be like

So, this time, I’m taking my time, and I’ve completed a bit of the main storyline, but my main focus has been exploring the map and doing as many side quests as I’m able (and inadvertently jumping ahead about 3 steps in the main storyline when I discovered an area that was key in the story that I hadn’t gotten yet to in the main arc… oh well).

This commitment to not just going status quo and playing safely along the main story arc got me thinking about conversations I’ve been having in my own job and the thinking I’ve been doing on my job and career and future.  I’m a total status quo professional in many ways: you give me x event and I will make sure it happens.  I may throw some pizzazz in there every so often to get it a bit different from the last one, but overall, my focus is on the strategy, process, and details of planning that event.  I do idea generation, but I’m always in my ‘element’ on gameday during a big event, making sure things go smoothly, and if they aren’t, trying to get them back on track.

And this is fine, because I enjoy it.  But I also know that somehow, in the back of my little LinkedIn Professional Brain, I want to create things, develop new things, and have my hand in forging new paths.  Now, this honestly scares the crud out of me, because I quickly equate this to things like being an entrepreneur or a full-time consultant, all of which are not in my wheelhouse of comfort.  Would I love to go out and start my own coffeehouse somewhere? Yeah. Do I not because I don’t know how and where and when and who and what and uhhhhh?  Yeah.

I do get out of the status quo when I can in various ways, particularly I think in opportunities to write for CronkNews in particular (although one could argue that my articles follow a pretty standard set-up and delivery status quo at this point) or getting out to try my chops at student affairs comedy at events like HigherEd Open Mic, where I first introduced MOOCZilla, or BUConfab, where he made another appearance.  But, overall, I’m a pretty status quo sort of professional, and I don’t say that in a bad way, but it makes me appreciate professionals like Jason Meier from Emerson or Leah Wescott from CronkNews, because from them I get that challenge to think beyond the box.

A couple books that I’m also reading (yes, reading for creativity, do ittttt) are also providing some helpful unique insights that I’m excited to develop.  One I’m reading on the train right now is Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelley, which is pretty good so far (much better than the letdown Play at Work) and then at work, which is Orbiting the Giant Hairball by Gordon MacKenzie.  There will be a lot to reflect on between these books and conversations I’m having with fellow staff and hopefully students along the way.  And that’s a process I hope I can make status quo.



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