I get it. Sometimes, people just get in a rut. You’re doing the same thing all the time, automatically, like clockwork. It’s boring. You feel like you’re not really accomplishing anything. It’s times like this when life could use a difficulty setting.
See, in video games, it’s easy. All you have to do is turn a notch from “Easy” to “Hard” and BAM, more difficult challenges. But in life, we don’t really have a button for that. That’s where the concept of a challenge run could be useful.
You see, some video games don’t have difficulty settings. Or if they do, people get tired of easily beating the highest difficulty and want an even greater challenge than that. So the players create a self-imposed challenge, creating their own set of rules that aren’t enforced by the game, but that they themselves have to follow. These rules increase the challenge of the game and make it that much more satisfying to win. Most people post these challenges on the internet so they can brag about their exploits and challenge other people to the challenge.
So in the interest of making life more difficult (because that’s what EVERYONE needs), let’s look at some challenge runs and see how they could work for us.
One of the most popular challenge runs as you can speedrun pretty much any game. The goal? To complete the game as fast as humanly possible. Now speedruns have all kinds of categories and rules, and there are different records depending on what kind of speedrun people tried to do. To take an example from the speedrun website, players of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time have records varying from 17 minutes and 45 seconds (no restrictions, just beating the main game as fast as possible) to 4 hours, 19 minutes, and 34 seconds (completing the game 100%, every quest and task resolved). I don’t know about you, but I have never beaten OoT that fast. I thought it was impressive when it only took me about four hours to get from a kid to an adult.
Applying the speedrun to life isn’t all that tricky. You just do everything as fast as you possibly can. Run everywhere. Floor it every time you get into your car. Don’t take the time to check your work. Sleep only when sheer exhaustion forces you to. The faster you go, the more impressive you’ll be, and being constantly on the move will definitely make your life more challenging.
This is a popular challenge for RPG’s with a three-or-four party system. You let every party member but one kick the bucket, and then you run through the entire game with only one character. This is challenging because these games are designed for multiple characters working as a team, not for one person to bash the crud out of everything. Flying solo makes the game infinitely more difficult.
In real life, this will translate to doing everything alone. Got a big project coming up at work? Bonk all your teammates on the head and do the entire massive project by yourself. Got kids? Raise them all without any help. No babysitter, no daycare, no spouse. Solo run. Life definitely won’t be easy when you do every single task by yourself, especially when that task normally takes three or four people.
Now this is a challenge I have personally taken part in. I’m sure it exists in other similar games, but I have applied it to the Fire Emblem series. You choose a gender (either one will do) and then play through the game exclusively as that gender. Say you’re doing a male-only gender run and a really awesome female character joins the party. Too bad, so sad, she can’t help you. All your wimpy men are stuck on the battlefield while she’s chilling in the barracks with all the other ladies.
The real-life gender challenge generally takes place on more than just the fields of war, so it’ll take some editing. When you begin the gender challenge, choose the gender you intend to interact with. Then, shun the other entirely. Doing a women-only life run? Anytime you see a man, you ignore him. Don’t talk to him, don’t help him open the door, don’t stop him from falling down the stairs, just keep walking. Only interact with women, ever. Whether you are at work, school, home, or just at a social event, this challenge is sure to make things a lot more difficult for you.
“The what now? All the other names made some kind of sense.” The Nuzlocke challenge is a challenge specific to the Pokemon series, and it’s named after the player who conceptualized it (or popularized it, at the very least). When undergoing the Nuzlocke challenge, you can only capture the first Pokemon you meet in each new area. This limits your Pokemon selection and makes each one more valuable. Then, if a Pokemon faints, you don’t take it to a Pokemon Center and wake it back up. Nope, a fainted Pokemon is considered dead, and you either release it back into the wild or shove it in a box, never to be used again. There’s a third rule about nicknaming every Pokemon you catch that is technically optional, but most players consider it as binding as the other two.
So how do you Nuzlocke in real life? First, you can only make one friend in every place you go. Now when I say place, I don’t mean oddly specific place, like “the grocery store” or “at work.” I mean that when you move to a new town, then you can make one friend – and one friend only – in that town. And it has to be the first person you meet, no matter how you meet them. You should probably give them a cool nickname once you’re friends to make the whole process a little easier. Now watch over this friend carefully, because the minute he passes out, he’s dead to you. So if he goes out to a bar and gets a little too enthusiastic with his firewater, you’re out the only friend that you have in the entire town. Other times to watch out for include passing out after donating blood, or squeamish friends who faint when they see spiders.
So there you go! A few ideas of how to add that challenge you’re seeking for your life. If you have your own ideas for a life challenge run, post it in the comments. Also be sure to include your record for any other life challenge runs you have attempted – perhaps your success will encourage others to challenge themselves as well.