Since I ended my last post by talking about my goal – to influence other people with my games in the way that my gaming experiences have influenced me – this seemed like a good idea for my next post.
I am a very goal-driven person.
At least in the short- term. I make weekly (sometimes daily) checklists for myself, and at times I have e-mailed these checklists to my closer friends and family for accountability. I grade myself by week on how many things I have accomplished and versus how many things I wanted to accomplish at the start of the week, and I’ll usually reward myself with a small treat – usually a milkshake or a small gaming purchase – when I get an A for the week.
That said, I often feel inadequate at making long-term goals. I can map out my weeks well enough, but when I think about things I want to accomplish in a year from now, my goal-making skills disappear. I often end up making extremely vague – and therefore not track-able – goals (like the one at the end of my last post) or I completely over-estimate the amount and the scale of things I can accomplish in that period of time.
So when my girlfriend asked me where I wanted to be in 5 years, it took me awhile.
Technically, I asked her this question first, which only makes it worse that it took me so long to answer. I don’t even recall what I told her that night, probably something along the lines of “I want to have a nice job and be with people I care about.” Again, a completely vague response. It made me think though, and several days afterwards that same question was still on my mind. After all, if all I wanted was to have a nice job and to be with people I cared about, why did I move out here and start taking classes again?
A few days later, I was talking to my roommate from college (my last college), when the question came up again (again it was me asking it): “where do you want to be in 5 years?” This time though I had an answer:
In five years, I want to have a family – that means get married and have at least one child. I want my family to live within 10 miles of my parents and my college roommate. And finally I want to own a company that is involved with the gaming industry or with software engineering.
It was nice to spell out those goals, and I feel that that are ambitious enough to make me want to (and have to) work hard to succeed at them, while still being within reason in terms of if they are accomplish-able or not. Further, they seem reflectively focused on what I really want for my life.
As time goes on, I’ll try to continue to work on my long-term goal setting, maybe focusing on months for now instead of years. I hear it’s an important skill for developers/designers to have to set reasonable goals and to be able to be good at estimating time-tables for getting things done, so it seems like a good exercise.
I’ll be back with more posts next week. In an attempt to get some reader interaction, I’ll end this week with a question to any other potential game designers (or established game designers, or anyone for that matter):
Where do YOU want to be in 5 years?