I was on call one day and we had some downtime. The residents I was working with decided to boot up the old Nintendo NES game console and play Super Mario Bros. 3 (it was the only game we had). Now, I grew up with the original Nintendo (and beat the game), but I hadn’t played in years. Needless to say, it turned into a very competitive gaming afternoon.
Once my shift was over and I walked away from the Nintendo, it got me thinking: there is much to be learned from Super Mario Bros. 3, specifically the games we were just playing (don’t ask me what they were called because I honestly have no idea).
Life Lessons from Super Mario Bros. 3
1 – There are a lot of obstacles in life.
Whether its a bird flying at your head, a speeding turtle hurtling towards you to freak you out, or a venus fire trap trying to kill you, you have to run, duck, and jump over everything coming your way.
We need to realize and acknowledge that this is normal. Everyone deals with obstacles, everyone is trying to navigate their own set of barriers that life is throwing at them.
However, we all need to keep going. We need to watch for what’s coming and work our way around it and through it. It’s the only way to reach the end of that level, or chapter, in life and continue on.
2 – Sometimes you only get a few chances to accomplish your goals.
Chance favors the prepared, or so some saying goes. The whole point of working hard on yourself, improving yourself, and educating yourself is so that when opportunities come your way you are prepared to take them.
Many successful and famous people have said, and there’s another saying somewhere, that “say yes first, figure out how to do the job later”. Their point is that you may not get the same offer again. Your chances to take that step, make that move, gain that experience, might be limited.
The Super Mario world gives you finite lives unless you manage to find more. It’s the same with us. We have to keep our eyes and ears open to what’s available so that opportunities don’t pass us by; and, we have to keep networking and growing so that if we do miss something, we have those extra connections and contacts (extra lives) to lean on and lines to tug to help us out.
3 – Failure doesn’t always take you back to square one
When you lose all your lives in a ten level game, lets say, Super Mario has to start over. However, I noticed something: I didn’t always have to start back at level 1. There were certain thresholds I’ll call them (because I actually have no idea what they were), that if you managed to pass a threshold, then losing all your lives meant you’d start back at the most recent threshold you passed.
Same thing in life right? Every failure or setback doesn’t always take you back to square one. That’s because each attempt at a goal or completing a task teaches you something you didn’t know; so then, when you restart, you are beginning with a new threshold of knowledge that you didn’t have before.
Over time you look back and realize you’ve come a lot farther than you thought!
4 – There are hidden gems everywhere
Literally, Mario has to bang his head on a few steps and bricks to release coins, get body boosts to make him bigger, obtain extra lives, and random other stuff (as you can tell, I don’t game often, but hopefully you get what I’m talking about here). When you first start playing, you have no idea where to look for these gems, so you just try everything possible.
Same goes in reality. There are people you haven’t met or talked to, experiences you haven’t had, and possibilities for yourself that you know nothing about. So, TRY EVERYTHING. Give yourself every chance to figure out new things for yourself and learn about yourself.
Not every effort you make will pan out and give you success, but that’s ok. Everything happens for a reason; the point is that you have to try!
5 – Sometimes patience and strategy pay off in a big way
I’m imagining one of the levels where in order to keep going, you have to time your jumps so you don’t get burned by random shooting flames AND avoid a swinging gong-like deal that can push you off the edge.
The only way through that level is by taking it slow, timing your progress, and being very watchful and patient.
It sounds kind of like dealing with long term goals. Any level of success takes hard work and hard work requires strategy and patience. It’s a pain in a** to know that, and do it, when at the same time you just want to get to your destination.
Don’t rush. Again, you’re learning something new each day, and you are making more progress than you may think. No one won any of these games by going fast and not thinking or not strategizing.
The Biggest Lesson of All
How random of an experience for me to be playing this age-old Super Mario bros. 3 game with my residents, yet it happened. The whole time we were laughing and making fun of each other, and in my head, I kept correlating what I was doing with what life is all about.
I know how weird that sounds, but I can get pretty philosophical.
I think the biggest takeaway is that:
life is teaching you lessons no matter what you’re doing.
You just have to pay attention to what you’re already learning.
What is the last game you played? Or your favorite? What lessons has it taught you? Share below!
Sanjana is a physician anesthesiologist, avid traveler, and entrepreneur. She founded The Female Professional in order to give women a voice, a community, and provide resources to help them overcome hurdles and achieve success. With her experiences as a physician, as a CEO of a startup, and as a writer, she understands the struggles and frustrations that women face. She also understands what it takes to move past those things and come out on top. Through this platform, Sanjana aims to empower women to be their best, authentic, selves, achieve work/life balance, and live life to the fullest.