Motivation and consideration of personal performance; or How Gary Gygax encouraged me from the grave.

You know, when it comes to luck, I often feel that on a personal level, I have very little. Maybe even to the point of “if it weren’t for bad luck, I might have none at all.” Granted, I am fortunate in many other ways. As Bruce Lee once said, “Do not pray for an easy life. Pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”That quote is one that has definitely helped to keep me sane through many downfalls in my life.

As with anyone else, I tend to be my own biggest critic. So one day, in trying to motivate and encourage myself to continue the business of designing games as the owner of Higher Grounds I decided to watch a few Youtube videos on management, entrepeneurship and owning a business. One of the things I wound up coming across was Tai Lopez.


Now, I know what you’re thinking. This guy is a fraud, right? Most people think that about him and to a certain extend, I might agree that this guy is a prolific scam artist. The thing is that if you listen to some of his videos, a lot of the stuff he said is very insightful and motivational if you look past the condescending, egotistical, “pay me” attitude. One of the things he mentioned is that you need a mentor. And this struck a nerve in me. I’ve never really had a mentor. Basically, to sum it up, he said you need to look at someone who is where you want to be and learn from that. It makes sense. Someone else is already where you want to be. So I thought about that.


Enter Gary Gygax.This guy made a life from making games and having the kind of fun that he wanted to have. He is considered the father of modern RPG games, and is certainly the father of Dungeons and Dragons. With Gary, I had found my mentor. So what’s the issue with that?

He died in 2008.

The best I could do with this is look at his life from known information and try to see how he did it, what he did and when. I founded Higher Grounds in 2015 and published Warsong in 2016. I’ve hired my first employee and right now, I’m working hard to make a life out of designing video games and run a business inside the gaming industry. Gary Gygax founded TSR at the age of 35 years old after running a few clubs and designing games without really making any money off of it. TSR kickstared his life and he moved forward from there. Comparatively, I am 33 and I am where he was at about 34 or 35 years old. This was profoundly encouraging for me. If I am following in the footsteps of my business mentor, Gary Gygax, I am definitely on the right path. Reading about his life and studying where he came from and how he accomplished a monumental feat of bringing D&D to the living rooms of families all over the world really put me in the right mindset to do the same for my business and my game. Reading about Gary Gygax showed me that I needn’t be discouraged. I don’t need to feel like I’m too old to make this happen. Gygax’s life has encouraged me to understand that I, too, can make this a reality.

And for that.. Thank you, Mr. Gygax.

Let my discovery be a lesson to you. If you’re reading this and you’re feeling discouraged, like it’s too late to start or you just think you can’t? Remember my lesson. Gary Gygax came from nothing. He was a scrapper as a kid and just wanted to make a life for himself playing the games that he loved. And he succeeded. So can you. It’s never too late.


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