Priority One

What is your priority? What do you want? What do you strive for? Whatever it is, you may be wrong. Because people do not really strive for money, fame, or recognition… They strive for the things that come from them.

What is your priority? What do you want? What do you strive for?





Although the answers above would probably win you money on Family Feud, they are all wrong – people do not really strive for money, fame, or recognition… They strive for the things that come from them.

Imagine you are stranded on a deserted isle and you could have the thing that you currently are prioritizing in your life. If you would be happy with what you got, then you are prioritizing achieving an”end” – if not, you are probably prioritizing a”means.” We have all heard the phrase a means to an end, but many of us do not understand and utilize the wisdom behind that phrase. For instance, imagine that you were on a deserted isle and had an abundance of money, fame, and recognition – only that you would have nothing to spend it on and no one to care.

Instead, let us imagine that you are prioritizing a jelly doughnut.

In the eternal words of Homer Simpson,”Sweet… Jelly… Doughnut…<salivate>"

Imagine that you were stranded on an island filled only with jelly doughnuts. If jelly doughnuts are your priority, well – you would be a very happy person. There is something intrinsic about that sweet doughnut that just makes you smile – it is one of the good things in life – it makes you smile. That, my friend, is an”end”… The money used to buy the pastry would be the”means.”

In case you forgot, you are reading an article about Magic: The Gathering. If by any chance you have not figured it out yet, that jelly doughnut represents none other than Magic.

"You play Magic?? You need to get your priorities straight!!"

You have heard it many times before – probably from your close friends, loved ones, and even from the mouths complete strangers. It is the phrase that haunts us all until our breaking point, when we make the big decision.

You have heard it before; you will hear it again. If Magic is important to you, don’t let those immortal words get to you. Priorities are a funny thing – one person must advance in the workplace to be happy while the next would gladly quit their job in order to be with family. We gamers are of a different breed – we feel the unconquerable need for having a fun and interesting life. We put our priorities in enjoying the time we have – taking challenges and having a good time along the way. We don’t deal in dollars; we deal in smiles. Magic is just one of the many ways we fulfill our priorities. When all is said and done, even Magic is a means to an end – we use Magic as a means to have fun. Fun is what gamers are looking for.

When we are kids, it is easy to have fun – we don’t have to worry about”means” and”ends” – we just find those ends without thinking about it. Happy kids never really know what they want because they literally have what they want – to be happy (until the invention of advertising, at any rate). However, as we grow older and are no longer supported on the shoulders of others, we need certain things to survive and so we begin a mad frenzy of”straightening out our priorities” and becoming responsible adults. This would be fine if all that this did was align our priorities in order to survive comfortably, but somehow we always seem to lose something in the mix.

Ever hear of someone looking for their second childhood? They are looking for the priorities they lost in the shuffle of growing into adult.

Now, I want you to think of as many people as you can that you would consider a hardcore gamer. How many of them would you describe with a sentence such as, "Deep down, he’s just a big kid at heart"? I would bet that the majority of the games may be described with that statement. It’s because we have kept something that the self-proclaimed adults have lost – the priorities that really matter to us.

Even when we are going for the big win at an important tournament, we should never forget that quality of life is the gamers’ first priority. When you find yourself being cheesed out of a win or if you just hit a stroke of bad luck, remember why you are a gamer. Compare your quality of life to the guy next to you. When your life is more than just a job putting food on a table, losing a couple games to bad luck doesn’t seem so bad.

This great misunderstanding of priorities is so grave that I recommend you tell a non-gamer friend about it. If they can’t see why games are important, then they don’t have their priorities straight. Don’t get me wrong – I am not saying that you should abandon your family in order to drive to a PTQ every weekend, but don’t forget the reasons why you would choose to drive to those PTQs if you did not have prior responsibilities to fulfill. Spread the word – we need more gamers out there.

So the next time someone approaches you and asks you to get your priorities straight, simply smile and reply, "I am."

Nate Heiss

Team CMU

[email protected]