I have never told anyone this.
When I was 9 years old, I experienced a stressful event which caused me to partially withdraw from society. I built around me a cocoon of imagination. My whole life was fake.
I imagined I was a secret agent.
For some reason, my country needed a small boy with no athletic ability and no skills to save them. Enemy soldiers had infiltrated our land, and I–only I–could stop them.
Sometimes soldiers entered my classroom to seize me. After winning a gun battle across desks, I would escape. I jumped out the window to draw off any remaining enemies, to keep my classmates safe.
I lived to fight another day. (Spoiler alert: because I am typing this now, you know I did not die)
The Austrian psychologist Alfred Adler called this Compensatory Fantasy. We all have weaknesses. But instead of overcoming them, some people retreat into fantasy.
I am concerned about the current wave of superhero films. They can be fun for most people. But for some people, the films provide escape from creating a life. So can video games.
My plea: don’t spend too much effort in building a game avatar or an imaginary persona. Instead, build your own real-life skills.
Once you have found your passion, invest in becoming expert at that passion.
::: Be fierce. Be kind. Be knowledge-hungry. :::