Monday, 10 February 2014

A Life’s Lesson From Flappy Birds

I found a bit too much time to think through the perfect recipe to doing well in the very addictive and popular mobile phone app. I concluded that there are various factors involved:-

1. The perfect start – The line up of the first set of pipes that you will (or more often, “will not”) glide through has an effect on your nerves. If the pipes are too low or too high, you find you are setting off on the back foot, which sets up perfectly for an early demise.

2. The circumstances – Your first set of pipes could be perfect, and the run could be going well until.. DUN DUN DUN.. you suddenly hit a low set of pipes forcing you to drop the bird nose-first then save it before it hits the ground and a close shave through the pipes but PHEWW…. You navigated your way out of that one (narrowly), your heart beat slows but OH NO.. what’s that? A high set of pipes? Nervously, you hold the screen and send your bird off into space. Oh dear, it was going so well.

3. External circumstances – Lastly, there is how you, the player, is feeling, where you are sat, if you are comfortable. Lying flat on your back in bed is a recipe for disaster but crouching over it in a corner strains the neck and during what feels like your third attempt that day (when in actual fact its your 62nd attempt), you creek your neck to the left, then to the right, and oh dear.. your bird is dead again. Then there are distractions. Someone comes into the room just as you are reaching over your 4th set of pipes, calls your name.. “WHAT?” - *bird dies*

4. The colour of the bird - I am not entirely sure if this is just me, but the colour of the bird seems to have an effect on how well I do on one of my runs. I know, as I start with the blue bird, that I am destined for an early nose dive crash landing. I seem to do better with the yellow bird. I am not seeking to prove that there is somehow some scientific explanation for this but there you have it.

5. The more you play the better you get – You can see a marked improvement in the way you play now to when you first downloaded the app. You are getting 15s, 16s, and maybe even 20s now. But even still, there’s still that odd time, you fall at the first hurdle.

To have the perfect game of Flappy Birds, you are then relying on the perfect start following by a steady gradient of pipes, not dropping too low or reaching too high that sends you into panic mode. You are hoping for no distractions sitting in a quiet room in a comfy seat. You are in a good mood, having had no recent irritations or guilt in having something better or more important to be doing. You need the right colour of bird that you, the player, can connect to. With this set of circumstances – how can you fail? You still can, apparently.

It’s a bit like an interview isn’t it? Most argue that first impressions are incredibly important. You go in and greet your interviewer with a smile but you have some spinach stuck in your teeth, the interviewer has a distinct hatred for spinach (maybe even for people with hygiene issues) and already you are off to a bad start. The first question is the next step. If it’s a good answer you are off to a good start and anything you say thereafter won’t be given that bad a light. But say something weak or offensive, the interviewer will see anything you say thereafter as poor.

It was also important how you felt that day. If you had a good night’s sleep, if you had a particularly stressful time getting into the place of the interview. Maybe it was raining and your perfectly gelled or straightened hair resembles an electrocuted Flamingo. Maybe it wasn’t you at all. Maybe the interviewer had a terrible morning, had four people in before you that spoke of the weather and you were their final straw.

You wore black and grey because they are neutral colours. They are smart colours and you can’t really go wrong. The interviewer was at a funeral the week before where everyone was dressed in black below a grey sky that poured on the mourners all day. You’ve reminded them of a low point, no matter how hard you try, you may never be able to be their high point.

And lastly, you’ve done a thousand interviews. This in the one. You know what to expect, you have all your competencies down to a clever clean mind map in your head. You had the perfect start, the perfect circumstances, the perfect external circumstances and you wore the interviewer’s favourite colour. Then you say something good. Something impressive. You leave feeling hopeful almost quietly convinced this was the one, it had to be, you’ve waited so long, you’ve worked so hard. But one other person, spoke with a French accent. The interviewer’s brother lives in France, instant common ground. You’ve fallen again. Just like the bird. It wasn't your fault, though, the pipes were too steep, you couldn't possibly get through them. You didn't have a brother. And if you did, he probably wouldn't be in France. 

It’s depressing isn’t it? But it doesn’t have to be.

We all chase that perfect job or even that perfect goal – maybe your only goal is to beat your friend’s high score at this game (in which case, seek help, immediately). I know I am no different (to the former, and sometimes the latter). We set our hopes high and those who’ve been at it a while, will know what to expect and prepare to an inch of their lives. An important thing to remember is that we cannot possibly control everything. It’s not to mean we do not try at all but it is to mean if it doesn’t go your way, there is no use getting down about it. There will be other opportunities, just like being able to press “play” after you fall on the game, you can get back up again, send your CV off again and await your result. One day, you will cross the line of your previous high score. You will get the perfect combination of factors to carry out the perfect recipe for success and maybe that will be enough…until you press “play” again. 

Maybe, it doesn't need to be on this game at all, maybe press "play" on a different game?

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