About Cam Adair

Cam Adair is a speaker, writer and player of chess. A prominent thought leader on gaming addiction, he shares weekly videos on YouTube.

Game Quitters is a community for gamers who want to quit and get their life back on track. You can join the community for free, here.

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After you quit gaming one of the struggles you can run into is how to start building momentum in your life. Removing games is like pressing the stop button., it feels like your entire world has frozen, and during this time it’s easy to feel paralyzed to take action.

So how do you start building momentum and start living your life again?

Since I’ve quit gaming one of the aspects of my life I’ve focused on the most has been improving my social circle. Specifically I’ve wanted to learn how to surround myself by people who inspire me and make me better.

So I’ve decided to launch a new video series where I’ll introduce you to some of my awesome friends and have them share insights into how they’ve taken their lives to the next level, and help you do the same.

In the first segment I introduce you to my buddy Josh Barad who’s the founder of In The Middle Seat. Josh and I met earlier this year at an event in California called Archangel Academy, and since then we’ve hung out in three countries! Bali, Thailand, and now here in Canada.

Josh has a cool story that began when he was working a typical corporate job when he realized it wasn’t really for him anymore, he wasn’t happy anymore, so he decided to quit and start playing poker professionally.

But then something else happened. He realized all he did was play poker and he felt isolated and not really fulfilled in his relationships. Although poker was better than the corporate job, it still wasn’t what he wanted for himself.

So he started to explore what the next stage in his life would look like, and during this introspection he committed to stop playing poker and instead focus on improving his social skills.

In our interview Josh shared how when he had a lot of free time it was easy to justify procrastination because he would have enough time to come back to it later, when really this was just an excuse to avoid doing what he knew he needed to do.

So he committed to start going out, to push his comfort zone and to start living life in the middle seat, he found this was where all his growth lies.

When it comes to leaning into your edges Josh believes it’s important to go slow and be diligent, while also being patient and playful. Growth is a process and you should have fun with it. You should make it a game.

Now even though you may want to grow, being able to actually start taking action to do so (which is how it happens) can be difficult when you don’t have momentum.

Here are a few insights Josh had into how you can start building momentum in your life:

First, Josh believes that momentum is something we fluctuate in and out of, it’s more of an ebb and flow than a linear equation.

Next, when we feel isolated or have a lack of momentum it’s easy for us to get too focused on ourselves, self-focused, which, when we feel anxious or different emotions it’s easy to make it mean something about ourselves, it’s easy to make it into a story of who we are, instead just the experience and things that are happening.

To counter this we want to become other-focused, to see how we can get involved in other people’s worlds, to get outside of ourselves to see a bigger perspective.

One way to do this is by asking people questions. Josh likes this because it takes the pressure off himself, and instead he can focus on his curiosity about someone else to inspire a conversation. Josh believes in having a list of back-pocket questions, questions that you like asking people to inspire these kind of conversations.

The example he used was asking me about my childhood, or asking someone what they are currently excited about, or asking what they are proud of, questions that elicit more of a positive response and allow you to go a bit deeper to really connect.

Lastly, to help you build more momentum Josh believes it’s important to be more playful and treat life like a game, don’t take it too seriously and find more ways to have fun.

In the moment if you don’t know what’s fun for you, Josh recommends that you take out a piece of paper and create a list of 25 different things you could do that would be fun, even if they seem a bit silly, keep it simple.

When you come from a fun and playful place this generates more energy and will help you build more momentum. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you will become social when __________, or you will have more fun when _________, or you will make more money when __________, and instead start finding ways to experience what you want to experience today.

So now that you have your list, what you want to do is choose one of them and challenge yourself to do it in the next seven days and then share what you’ve chosen in the comments below.

I hope that helps and if you’re serious about taking your life to the next level, I want you to take the Game Quitters Challenge. This is a 30 day challenge I’ve designed intentionally with the latest scientific research to help you become the type of person you want to be, by developing skills in Courage, Discipline, Social Intelligence, Contribution and Tenacity.

It’s definitely my best work yet and I know you’ll get a ton of value from it. Take the challenge here.

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Samuel asked me this morning on YouTube how my life has changed since I’ve quit playing video games. Well, needless to say, it was the best decision of my life. Watch the video for the specifics:

Before I share with you how my life has changed since I’ve quit playing video games, first I want you to know that before I quit, my life was a complete mess:

I spent years battling depression, had low self-esteem, and struggled with feeling good enough. I was bullied at school and on my hockey teams so I didn’t have every many friends, the ones I did have held me back and I certainly didn’t know how to make new ones.

I lacked confidence, especially with women, was constantly in the “friend zone” and didn’t know how to become a “man.” I had dropped out of high school (twice) and never wanted to go to college. Don’t even get me started on my unstable job situation (which included pretending to have jobs to my parents…)

The one highlight in my life at the time was gaming, and although it wasn’t the problem, it was the bandaid. It’s what allowed me to numb myself and pretend my situation wasn’t as bad as it really was.

Eventually I came to a point where I realized I had an opportunity to try again, I had a chance to start a new life for myself, and with the help of a counselor I started doing just that.

I didn’t like not knowing how to make friends so I focused on learning how to improve my social skills.

It certainly hasn’t been easy but it’s been worth it, and the improvements in my life have come from little changes I’ve made.

Here are a few highlights of how my life has improved since I’ve quit playing video games:

I don’t share this to brag or to impress you, I share it to show you what’s possible. Life beyond video games can be remarkable if you commit to making it happen and follow the steps we outline at Game Quitters.

  • I started my own business.
  • I travel around the world (20+ countries to date.)
  • I’ve spoken at TEDx not once but twice.
  • I found a new passion (DJing).
  • I have a world class social circle.

Most importantly, I’m happier than I’ve ever been, I’m able to live life in the present moment, I’m proud of who I am and how I show up every day, and I wake up every day excited to be alive and to live my life to the fullest.

But all of this didn’t just magically happen. It happened because I made a commitment and then took action to learn what I needed to learn to live the type of life I wanted to live. And I refused to settle for anything less.

Quitting video games is the start of a new journey, it’s the beginning of a new chapter in your life where you get to decide exactly what you want it to be. Step one is taking responsibility for it yourself.

I hope that helps and if you’re serious about taking your life to the next level, I want you to take the Game Quitters Challenge. This is a 30 day challenge I’ve designed intentionally with the latest scientific research to help you become the type of person you want to be, by developing skills in Courage, Discipline, Social Intelligence, Contribution and Tenacity.

It’s definitely my best work yet and I know you’ll get a ton of value from it. Take the challenge here.

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Recently I was interviewed on The Art of Charm about my experience being addicted to video games. In the episode I dive into my story and how I’ve managed to overcome the various obstacles life presented me, and the best insights I’ve had over the years:

In this episode you will learn:

  • Is video game addiction real?
  • How video game addiction looks at its worse, practical tips for getting over your addiction and how to make up for the lost time.
  • How to surround yourself by people that matter.
  • The concept of reverse engineering, a framework for accomplishing your goals.
  • The key lesson I learned after working as a dishwasher at a restaurant.
  • How to deal with and overcome a deep and dark depression.
  • How to transition from a 9-5 job to running your own business.
  • A major insight into my experiences being bullied in school and what to do if you are being bullied.

The Art of Charm brings together the best coaches in the industry to teach you guys how to crush it in life, love and at work. Imagine having a mix of experienced mentors teaching you their expertise packing decades of research, testing and tough lessons into a concise curriculum.

I hope you enjoy the episode and if you do, make sure you let me know what you think!

This article originally appeared on Kingpin Lifestyle.

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I was interviewed recently about how to overcome bullying and video game addiction. In the episode I share details on my own story (how I overcame it) as well as the latest insights I’ve had over the past four years.

Here are six lessons you’ll learn in the episode:

  1. The two types of people you need to be aware of in your life.
  2. How issues with masculinity, the school system and parenting contribute to video game addiction and poor social skills.
  3. How identity and social issues contribute to video game addiction and what to do about it.
  4. Why we play games and how understanding this can be powerful in learning about motivation.
  5. Key insights into the art of learning and how you can apply your skills in gaming to everything else.
  6. How important it is to get clear on what your goals are in life in order to really take things to the next level.

Listen to this episode above or check it out on iTunes.

This article originally appeared on Kingpin Lifestyle.

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After you quit you start to realize all of your friends are gamers, and you don’t have much in common with them anymore, but how do you grow and expand your social circle outside of gamers? Find out:

In my last article I shared a key mindset you need to have in order to make new friends and improve your social skills. Today what I want to share how you can shape your environment with intention and how this will contribute to empowering you forward.

One of the biggest differences in my life since I’ve quit gaming is surrounding myself by people who inspire me and push me to be better. When I first quit this wasn’t something I knew how to do and I’ve spent the last seven years learning how to do exactly that.

Who you surround yourself with is super important if you’re serious about starting to live your life to the fullest.

When you were gaming you were doing this, you found other likeminded players to hang out with and learn from and you separated yourself from those that didn’t. So now that you’ve quit, you want to apply this same mindset your life. Find those who are likeminded and help you be better, and distance yourself from those that don’t.

Over the years I’ve done a bunch of different things to try and improve my environment and I’ll share those in a minute but the most important thing I’ve learned is that before you do anything else you need to decide who you want to be. You have to decide what your values are, and who you want to surround yourself with.

Write down three values you want in your environment. For me, that’s people who are into personal development, making themselves better, I want to be around people who are kind and compassionate to others, and I want to be around people who are taking ownership of creating the life they want, so that groups would be like entrepreneurs.

Now that I know this, I can start finding the kind of environments where these type of people hang out. Things like events, seminars, conferences, meetups, etc.

If you don’t know who you’re looking for you’ll never find them, so if you want to surround yourself by people who will help you be more successful, you need to identify who they are and where they hang out.

Some of the conferences I’ve been to are The Higher Purpose Project, Burning Man, StartingBloc, Tony Robbins Unleash The Power Within, MB Adventures and many more.

The best part is that when you’re in a room full of people that you share things in common with it’s super easy to start conversations because you already have things in common.

So what you want to do is find at least one event each week that you can go to, and then go each week because it will help people begin to recognize you as a regular and that makes it easier to meet people.

Finally there’s one last step you want to take, and it’s hosting your own events. This is a big lesson I’ve learned a few times, but the reason it works is because there are so many people that have a desire to hang out with other likeminded people but they don’t have the courage to organize it themselves.

So when you take responsibility to bring people together you’ll be blown away at how easy it is to meet other likeminded people, because not only can you invite people you’re meeting on a daily basis to come, but they will also bring friends and the event will grow over time.

Surrounding myself by people that inspire me and make me better has been something I’ve taken so seriously that I’ve even moved to a new country to live in a community full of likeminded people.

So remember, be intentional to choose who you want to be around, next find one event each week you can go to to meet these kind of people and make sure you go each week. Finally, start hosting your own events and bring people together.

I hope that helps and if you’re serious about working on these skills in your life, I want you to take the Game Quitters Challenge. This is a 30 day challenge I’ve designed intentionally with the latest scientific research to help you become the type of person you want to be, by developing skills in Courage, Discipline, Social Intelligence, Contribution and Tenacity.

It’s definitely my best work yet and I know you’ll get a ton of value from it. Take the challenge here.

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Today’s question is one of the two most popular ones I get, and it’s about how to make new friends and improve your social skills after you quit gaming. Here’s how you do it:

When you first quit most of your friends are gamers, so you need to put an effort into finding new ones that have other interests and hobbies. Not only that but feeling insecure about your social skills is likely one of the factors that led to you gaming in the first place.

I totally relate to this because when I was younger I experienced a lot of bullying which caused me to isolate myself away and avoid social interactions.

So when I quit playing games learning how to improve my social skills was one of my top motivations, and just to be honest, quitting video games was one of the best decisions I ever made to improve this area of my life.

Now in order to make new friends there are a few different factors to consider, and today I want to talk about you, and how you show up in every interaction you have, and how that leads to you making friends or not.

The key to making new friends is having a mindset shift that social skills is a skill, it’s something you, personally, can get better at, if you decide to put some focus and intention into it.

To do this you want to start approaching every interaction you have as an opportunity to practice connecting more meaningfully with others. Every single day we are talking to people, our friends, family, the cashier at the grocery store, the barista at Starbucks, and even just people we’re randomly standing next to.

Over time all of this practice compounds and you can start seeing some major improvements. Growth happens through focus and intention so focus on every interaction you have with the intention to have a more meaningful conversation.

The way I do this is by genuinely wanting to get to know them, even in a small way by actually wanting to know how their day is going, instead of just going through the typical autopilot conversation.

As your conversations improve you’ll become more confident in yourself and if you focused on meeting one new person every day, that’s over 365 people a year! And some you’ll just naturally connect with.

If you want to improve your social skills and make new friends is something you choose to do. It’s something you can do by just interacting with the people around you on a daily basis. It’s something I used to struggle with a lot and now I feel much more confident in, but it happened every single day by my decision to engage the people around me.

And I know the same can happen for you too.

If social skills is an area you’re serious about working on, I want you to take the Game Quitters Challenge. This is a 30 day challenge I’ve designed intentionally with the latest scientific research to help you become the type of person you want to be, by developing skills in Courage, Discipline, Social Intelligence, Contribution and Tenacity.

It’s definitely my best work yet and I know you’ll get a ton of value from it. Take the challenge here.

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Games are designed to give you instant gratification, to give you feedback of your progress and that you are doing well. Over time your brain gets used to this so when you go to quit one of the issues you run into is that life doesn’t tend to give feedback so quickly.

So how do you deal with instant gratification without gaming? Find out:

In games you’re leveling up, you’re beating quests, you’re beating bosses and every time you do one of these things your brain gives you a dopamine release, which is the chemical in your brain designed to make you feel good.

And games are designed to make you experience as much dopamine as possible and what happens is when you go to quit you’re used to having these good emotions, instantly, especially because gaming is so accessible now. So anytime you wanted to feel good about yourself you could log on your game and get a dopamine hit.

But because this is happening through a game instead of through your life, it’s more of an artificial level of gratification, but, the dopamine you experience is real. So you feel good but that doesn’t necessarily mean it raises your self-esteem.

This has to do with the difference between instant gratification and delayed gratification. Gratification is the emotional response of pleasure to you fulfilling a goal or desire you have.

So when you go after gratification in a way that’s instant, you might feel good in an instant but it also disappears in the same timeframe. So anytime you want to feel this way you try and find a way to get a hit, and this behavior can lead to unhealthy addictions.

Whereas delayed gratification takes time, and because of that, the feel good emotions also last a long time too. The choice is always yours but there’s a lot of interesting research done in this area.

Over the last 40 years Stanford has been researching the affects of instant vs. delayed gratification and it all points to one direction: that one of the qualities in people that leads to success in every single area of your life comes down to your ability to delay gratification.

The research all started with Walter Mischel’s marshmallow experiment where he would put a kid in a room and give him one marshmallow, which he/she could eat right away, or if he waited (15 minutes) they would earn a second one.

Of course some kids had the marshmallow now and some waited, but what was most interesting about the study was that over the years they followed these kids and every single time they followed up, the kids who were willing to wait and delay gratification were significantly more successful than the ones who didn’t, including having:

  • Higher SAT scores.
  • Lower levels of substance abuse.
  • Lower likelihood of obesity.
  • Better response to stress.
  • Better social skills, etc.

So if you care about being successful in any (or every) area of your life, which you do because you’re reading this right now, being able to delay gratification is something you want to start to develop.

What you want to know is that this is a muscle. This is a skill you can develop like any other skill. Two skills that will contribute to your ability to delay gratification are your skills in discipline and patience.

Here are two keys to focus on:

  1. Choose a new habit and make it so easy you can’t fail. And make sure you track it for consistency.
  2. Celebrate the small wins. Most of the time when we do things we say we’re going to do, we don’t actually recognize ourselves for it. And this is really important for positive encouragement.

Delayed gratification is a muscle like anything else, it’s a skill like anything else. Regardless of how good you are at it right now, you need to start from where you are and focus on moving forward.

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If you’re reading this you’ve likely invested thousands of hours into gaming and that can make it hard to give it up. What will that mean for all the time and effort you’ve put in? This is the sunk cost fallacy at play.

Here’s how the sunk cost fallacy keeps you playing games, even though you don’t want to:

I first learned about this principle in a book called You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney (highly recommended.)

In the book David talks about the sunk cost fallacy, which states that we think we make rational decisions based on the future values of objects, investments and experiences, when the truth is our decisions are tainted by emotional investments we accumulate, and the more we invest in something the harder it is to move on from it.

This directly applies to each of us as gamers.

Not only have we invested a ton of time and energy playing different games, building characters and developing our skills, in many cases we’ve also bought many different games too, especially now when they are so cheap and come in bundles.

So when we go to quit we worry about what that’s going to mean about our characters, what’s that going to mean about our skills, what about all of these games I haven’t played yet?!

This also has to do with Loss Aversion, which is the tendency to avoid losses instead of acquiring gains – we’d rather continue to play games and avoid losing all of our characters and the skills we’ve developed instead of acquiring this really amazing life, which is what we really want.

It’s so valuable for us to understand things like the sunk cost fallacy and loss aversion is because we need to understand that the reason we do things is for specific reasons, and the way we justify playing isn’t always based on logic, and usually there’s some sort of emotional investment behind it.

As humans we’re designed to avoid feeling pain. To breakthrough, we need to take a step back and recognize that we’re in an emotional state and create the opportunity to look at it from a different perspective.

Simply by being aware of this is powerful. By understanding why you do the things you do you can leverage it to do the things you actually want to do.

One way to get into a more logical state is to write out a pros and cons list. I find writing things down really helps and when you have a pros and cons list you can see more clearly why you’re doing what you’re doing.

If the only reason you want to continue to play the games is to feel better about the money you spent on it, you need to reevaluate your goals and what you’re really trying to accomplish here.

Remember it’s not just about quitting games, it’s about closing a chapter in your life. And in closing that chapter it doesn’t take away from what games meant to you, games meant something to you and the quicker you recognize that the sooner you’ll stop justifying the reason you want to play – just because you have a bunch of games you haven’t finished yet.

Another way to breakthrough the sunk cost fallacy is to delete your games and characters. This is a great way to get rid of the things you’re holding onto, and this goes a really far way so if you haven’t done this already, do it now.

In doing so you’re recognizing that what you want now is different than what you wanted previously, and that’s ok, you’re allowed to make this decision for yourself. Take a step back, get into a logical headspace and acknowledge that continuing to play games isn’t going to make it mean something more, it’s just going to make you look back on this in a few months and wonder what the fuck you’re doing. 😉

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When you have a gaming addiction it’s common to feel frustrated when you talk to normal people, your friends, family or just people you run into on a daily basis because it’s hard to communicate what’s really going on for you.

When you do this, there are a few important things to keep in mind. Here’s how to talk about gaming addiction with normal people:

Understanding how to share our story is really important for our movement going forward. It’s important to remember that our community is at the beginning, and if we want to be taken seriously we need to take responsibility to share our message with the world in an effective way.

This gaming addiction problem is only going to continue and grow, it’s only going to continue to get bigger, so by us taking the time to share our message properly it will help many others find us who are currently going through all of this alone.

Every single day when people ask me what I do they start asking me questions about this issue, and it forces me to be effective in how I share our message to get their buy-in, otherwise the conversation around gaming addiction will just continue to be looked at as a silly thing – when we all know that’s not true at all.

The key principle you want to keep in mind is that it’s all about how you shape the conversation, and this ultimately dictates the results that you get.

How you shape the conversation is really important to keep people from becoming defensive and to bypass their defensives. For instance if you talk to a gamer but you come across as being against gaming, and now that he’s defensive he’s not going to be open to hearing your perspective.

Or if you’re talking to a parent, they’re going to have a bias that gaming is violent, so I try and avoid having that kind of conversation, because it doesn’t really apply to what we’re talking about, which is that there is a segment of gamers who want to quit and struggle to. That’s it.

So when you’re shaping the conversation you really want to focus on this segment of gamers who play that don’t want to. So it’s not that games are good or bad or that you should play or you shouldn’t. It’s simply that there are some people who want to quit and can’t.

And this happens for very specific reasons. Not only is this the truth but now we can talk about how to help these gamers and what kind of tools and resources would help. In my experience, when you get to this point people tend to be pretty interested.

This is the perfect time to personalize it, to share your story and how this has affected you and what has helped you quit. Which is that there are specific reasons why you were playing and by identifying them and finding solutions to those you’ve been able to start living your life.

To help them understand some of these reasons you can share the two main struggles gamers have when they go to quit:

 

  • Finding new activities.

 

 

Now whenever I talk about this issue I always share the story my parents (and I bet your parents) always said which is that when they were younger they got kicked out of the house and had to go outside and play.

Now there’s an element of this story that we forget sometimes and it’s that when they had to be outside they had to find ways to entertain themselves, they had to be spontaneous, to be creative and to be social. And in doing so they developed skills in all of these.

But nowadays, because of the way kids are raised, we don’t have to go outside to play we don’t develop these skills in the same way, so it’s not that we aren’t capable, it’s not that we don’t want to, it’s simply that we just have never developed the skill, and we’ve always had gaming.

 

  • Making new friends.

 

 

To quit gaming it’s a bit more complex than simply uninstalling your games and finding new activities to fill your time, because one of the main reasons we play is because it’s the way we interact with all of our friends, it’s where our community is.

So to move on from games means to move on from all of our friends, and it’s not that we can’t do that, it’s just that it’s hard and we need support.

By being intentional about how you shape the conversation you allow others to come on our side and become advocates for our community. It allows them spread the word and help others who are struggling with this issue to find out they are not alone.

Remember it’s really important for every single one of us that we each contribute to shaping this message in a positive way. That means you reading this.

Right now there are just over 4000 people on the StopGaming subreddit, when research would show 1/11 kids playing games in the U.S. are addicted under classic criteria. That’s over 5 million kids!!

Our community right now is at the beginning and because of that it’s up to each of us to shape the conversation in a productive way and to help spread the word. Communicating our message is crucial to get all the support we can get.

If you’ve read this far, I want you to leave a comment below, share this article and share the TEDx talk.

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One of the main reasons we game is to escape from the stress in our life. So how do you deal with stress without using gaming as your outlet? Press play:

Using gaming as a way to deal with stress is definitely something I relate to, especially during all of the bullying I experienced growing up. Anytime I needed a break, gaming was there for me.

Now there are two really important things to understand about stress:

 

  • There’s a difference between feeling stress and feeling different emotions.

 

 

After we quit gaming we tend to become a lot more aware of our emotions, and this is a good thing. When we’re gaming we’re numb to the emotions we’re experiencing, but when it comes to dealing with our emotions it’s important to identify what the specific emotion is, which will allow us to deal with it in a specific way.

 

  • Stress is a perspective.

 

 

Most of us are a lot more stressed out than we really need to be, and that’s just because we have a narrow mindset. Stress tends to come when we have a perceived lack of control and when we don’t know what to do about whatever situation we’re in.

One of the reasons why I love to travel so much is because there’s no way to avoid situations where you have no control. Now this can be frustrating sometimes but the benefit is that it forces you to learn to take the things you need to take seriously, seriously, and to let go of the things you can’t control.

With the things we can’t control it’s easy to get stressed out about them… but we have no control so what’s the point of being stressed out or frustrated? It’s not like having those emotions is going to change the situation, so being stressed is really just going to drain your energy and hurt your ability to focus. Many times when we feel stressed there are easy solutions to start dealing with the situation.

Stress can happen and it is what it is, and you can’t always control things but you can control how you respond.

One of the reasons why people feel stressed is because it makes you feel alive, and this comes from your human need of significance – to feel powerful, in control and to feel like we matter. In our life we will fulfill this need in healthy or unhealthy ways, in conscious or unconscious ways, and stress is an easy way to fulfill it… even though this doesn’t really serve us.

So instead of just living life on autopilot like this, we want to conscious choose how we want to feel. I want to feel amazing every day because feeling good feels good. So now that I’ve made this decision, it’s up to me to take responsibility to create an experience in the world to feel this way.

So when things do happen, these are the three steps you want to take:

  1. Take a breath.
  2. Shift back into gratitude.
  3. Create an action plan.

Next, you want to complete the following two exercises:

  1. Set a timer for five minutes and journal on how would you feel in an ideal day.
  2. Take out two pieces of paper. One one piece, write down everything you’ve done in the last two weeks. On the next piece, separate it into two columns, Positive and Negative. Now take the things you’ve done and filter them based on what’s contributed (+) to you feeling the way you want to feel and what hasn’t (-). Now in the negative column, start eliminating them or shifting them into the positive.

Life is too short to not feel amazing all the time. It’s up to each of us to design our life in a way that serves us feeling that way and to cut out the shit in our life that doesn’t.

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