In a single-player video game, I’m a kid again, because the story is all about me. I am the main character, and every other character exists for me. They’re all standing around waiting for me to react to them. Everything they do, they do it to make me feel something.
The decisions I make change the world, inside the game. The world grows as I explore it. Nothing is accomplished unless I personally accomplish it.
Children generally start with this perspective. Everyone else exists in order to take care of them. Growing up feels (in part) like a process of letting go of this.
When a person snaps at me, or cuts me off, or says something horribly offensive — it is not about me. They have their own concerns, and my feelings don’t register.
When I complete a task, or make something cool, or flub and do something seriously awkward — it doesn’t matter. It is not about me. Only the people closest to me notice, and they quickly forget.
When I have a useful idea and must get it into the world right away, and then my kids need something and a deadline rears up, the world is deprived of this crucial output! … nah. It is not about me. When the world is ready for an idea, that idea comes to many people. Someone else will get it out there; they probably already have.
Gerald and Dani Weinberg call it the Law of Twins: most of what we do has no lasting effect.
There is freedom in this. People aren’t waiting to see what I will do. The world goes on. It is not about me.
What others do and say is about them and their context, not about me. The world exists in vast complication whether I perceive it or not. Time and culture move forward with my little contributions or without them.
The exception is: my family and close relationships, my team and collaborators. These people see and hear me, they feel and act partly in response to what I do. And it is my responsibility to see and react to them. I make a difference in the day my children have, in what my team accomplishes.
Cherish these people, and put care into your interactions with them. The rest of the world, meh — it is not about you. It’s okay if you never change it. It’s okay if you do; don’t fear affecting people. You mostly won’t, and if you do, the world was ready for it.
Then if you want to feel important, like the world revolves around you again, play video games.