“Focus, Elissa! Don’t panic! You won’t be able to do anything if you panic! Look around you, what do you see in this room that you could use…”

I heard many words such as these one hot Wednesday a few months ago, when I was playing Zelda Wind Waker at my brother’s house. My sister in-law had birthed her first baby about 2 or 3 days beforeย (an absolutely adorable little girl, and I can tell my brother adores her), and Mom and I went to help her out for a few days while she recovered. The only problem was, there wasn’t a whole lot to do besides washing dishes, doing laundry, and preparing meals, and Mom did quite a bit of that, which meant I had a lot of down time. On our third day there, I decided I was going to take my brother up on his offer to let me play Wind Waker if I ever came over and needed something to do. (I started playing it a few years ago, but I’ve only been playing it off and on, so I’ve only gotten through about 4 or 5 levels. Part of this was because of school, part of it was because I kept forgetting to play, and part of it was because Collin was the one who owned the game, and he left home when he got married last year.)

So, that afternoon, I started playing. The problem was, I couldn’t figure out what I needed to do for the first hour or so. I finally found what I needed and got to the next section of the floor I was on, and after a bit I managed to open the door to the next part of the level. I think it was around that point that Collin got home from work, and proceeded to become my game-playing tutor. I didn’t mind, though, because I am really inexperienced with playing these kinds of games (the reason why is explained below), and Collin’s tutoring style still lets me do everything myself and figure everything out myself.

I happen to be one of those people who watches other people play video games more than I actually play them, particularly Zelda games, because I freak a lot of the time when I run into enemies. I’ve gotten better about it now, but when I was 10 or 11 I absolutely did not want to fight one of the bosses in Paper Mario and ran all over the place trying to find some way to continue the game without having to face him. I eventually grew bored because I couldn’t do anything, and went back to watching Collin play. ๐Ÿ˜› However, I’ve been intent on trying to get through all of Wind Waker, because it’s the only Zelda game I’ve ever begun in which I was able to eventually get over myself and actually move forward, even if it sometimes takes 20 minutes of pacing around a room before I do so.

Now we come to the actual point of this post: Collin has a tendency to bark at me whenever I start to freak. He actually shouts at me to stop panicking and focus on what I’m actually doing. The weird thing is, though, for whatever reason it works! It’s like the yelling breaks through my “noooo!!! AAHHH! He’s gonna defeat me!!!” state of mind, and reminds me that the only way to stop the boss from defeating me is to actually fight back. Sort of “startling” me into focusing better, if you will.

It’s interesting, because before he started doing this, if you were to ask me what the best way to help me with not freaking out when facing a bad guy was, I don’t know what I would have said but it would not have been that. Though, it’s kind of nice too, because the fact the Collin feels strongly enough about what I’m doing to yell about it shows that he actually cares whether or not I win or lose. It shows he believes that I am capable of defeating the level as long as I’m really paying attention to what I’m doing. ๐Ÿ˜€ He’s a good brother.

Another thing he does which helps a lot, is he tries to guide my thinking process towards the answer, rather than giving me the answer itself. He asks me questions like “remember, what did the sign say?” or “what do you see in this room that could help you?” and then waits for me to figure out what he’s referring to. This also ties into the whole “he believes I can do it myself so long as I focus” thing. I wouldn’t have him tutor me any other way. ๐Ÿ™‚

Sometimes in life, we have all the tools we need to accomplish something, defeat a problem, or figure out what our next step should be. However, if we look at everything that’s coming at us, or if we look at how hard the problem is, we will stop thinking about what we can do. We will start to panic, and a person who panics is a person who has given up and is no longer willing to try anything because they are sure they will fail.

Have a great day! God bless!