Things Not Said

a heartfelt collection of insights.

The First Curse

Some time after The Taken King released for Destiny back in 2016, I unlocked the quest, Imprecation, exclusively granted by Banshee-44 (everyone’s beloved gunsmith at the tower). I had no idea the difficulties awaiting me were not in completing the quest, but rather, in using the exotic weapon rewarded for doing so.

Unfortunately, skepticism ensues the moment any gaming article appears online, it’s quickly dismissed as “juvenile” or as an “entertainment” update. At any cost, there remains a wealth of knowledge to discover in regards to gaming design, development, storytelling, gamification and the rewards players receive when investing their time in playing. In this particular case, I want to disclose how a single weapon in Destiny (among hundreds) revealed a profound secret to successful living. Let’s dive in.

The First Curse is an exotic hand cannon weapon. A slow, yet powerful double-action revolver. There was even a cool spinning animation whenever you equipped it. It hit like a tank if you can nail precision shots. But precision shots require patience, timing and anticipation skills. The First Curse was the quintessential “high-risk high-reward” weapon. When first receiving it, I was stoked, immediately eager to try it out. However, when I did, was quickly met with much frustration.

The weapon didn’t fire fast enough, it took forever to reload and one of its exotic perks seemed useless: Instant reload upon first precision kill, also grants increased range and stability until next reload. I was dying more often than not, couldn’t move adequately with it whatsoever, all leaving me utterly disappointed. Was anyone else struggling to use this rare weapon? Quick research revealed I wasn’t alone.

How could this game require me to go through such a lengthy difficult quest only to reward me with a useless weapon that got me repeatedly killed? What was the logic surrounding this gun? Eventually, I found the answer I was looking for. And it radically changed the way I perceived the weapon, the game… and life, believe it or not.

You see, I thought wielding this weapon outright was going to net me immediate results. All I had to do was aim and pull the trigger, right? Evidently, it proved to be a flawed approach. Unlike most weapons in the game — where you can simply select a weapon and “Run & Gun” — The First Curse demanded something entirely different.

Destiny is multilayered. Aside from being a first-person shooter, there are classes, sub-classes, armor builds and weapon builds… all customized to your specifications. “Builds” became a vital component whenever considering different game modes and objectives like Prison of Elders, Strikes, Raids, PVP etc. It was in this realization that The First Curse needed to be approached.

Sometimes in life, in order to evolve, you have to conform yourself around a particular thing instead of forcing that thing to conform to you.

The First Curse didn’t fit any of my preexisting builds or favorable ones. I had to create an entirely new build around the weapon, not me or what I favored. It felt like I had to relearn the game to a certain extent. Furthermore, I needed to adapt a unique playing style to accommodate this new build… to “think and move” like The First Curse. Up until that point for me, no other gun in the game required this. I was blown away.

The results were unbelievable. My efficiency and K/D ratio surged. I became strangely dominant… by playing less aggressive. I was having a blast, and couldn’t help falling in love with the nuances of the new gameplay style. A deep appreciation for both The First Curse and Destiny emerged.

How many times in life do we frustrate ourselves because something we have or engage with doesn’t fit our expectation of performance?

What if we’re entirely executing key decisions inaccurately?

There isn’t a “one size fits all” build in life. Particular aspects of our life have their own identity and need to be recognized and respected as such. We remember as children trying to fit the square block into the round hole. No matter how hard we tried, it never worked. So why as adults do we take a like-minded approach?

Re-imagining how you move requires you to examine the components surrounding your life uniquely. They’re all different. If you expect the same application to work effectively for all of them, you’ll be met with frustration and failure. Evolving your effectiveness and efficiency demands different “builds”. Additionally, adapting the way you move will only improve your success rate.

I encourage you to examine your performance under a magnifying lens. Evaluate the details. You’ll likely discover ways to optimize yourself and become more adept and productive. Don’t be afraid to explore unlikely options either. It may very well be required.

We all desire to be the best version of ourselves, and actively improve. Remember that sometimes there are subtractions by additions. You can’t expect better results if you try to solve your problems the same way they were created.