6 Ways Dark Souls Helped Me Improve As a Freelancer
As an audio freelancer, I’ve done work for all kinds of industries. Some of my favourite work involved making music and sounds for video games. A lot of influence for my work comes from gaming, and some of the biggest lessons I’ve ever learned as a freelancer came from playing Dark Souls.
For those unfamiliar, Dark Souls is considered one of the most difficult video games out there. Players take control of a character and explore a world filled with monstrous enemies, bosses, and vast settings which can easily overwhelm even the most skilled players. Despite its unforgiving difficulty, it’s considered one of the greatest and most influential games of all time by players.
Whether you’re a gamer or not, these lessons stand out and apply to every freelancer.
1 – Dark Souls taught me to be more curious about the world around me
Exploration is a huge part of Dark Souls. Much of the game world’s different areas are connected, and exploring these paths will reward the player in different ways. You might come across new characters who will teach you new skills, or find hidden treasures which make your character stronger. Exploring may also reveal pathways to new areas, unlocking more to discover.
As a freelancer, being more curious about the projects we work on helps in providing a more rewarding experience. When I was openly asking questions and sharing my ideas with clients, it strengthened communication, and resulted in a better final product. Expressing my curiosity showed that I truly cared about the work I was doing for them.
2 – Dark Souls taught me lessons on precision, and when to capitalize on opportunities
Timing is everything when it comes to combat – whether in real life or in Dark Souls. From dodging an attack to finding the right time to strike, it’s life or death (in the game, anyway) with each move you make. Hitting the sweet spot for a critical attack is one of the greatest feelings in the game. However, not everything is always going to align for you to make those opportunities happen.
The same could be said when it comes to jumping at opportunities presented in life. While it helps to be patient, we should also be opportunistic. The more we go through these experiences, the more comfortable we are at knowing when to capitalize.
3 – Dark Souls taught me that failure is an important teacher
You’re going to die a lot in Dark Souls. It’s just part of the journey. But each time you get back up, you’re better than before. You know not to make that same mistake, and that something has to change in the approach.
While we don’t have the same amount of chances in life that we do in Dark Souls, this lesson still reveals to us that we have the ability to step back and make the changes to show we can adjust from our failures. Persevering through struggles is always a valuable lesson to experience. Whether it be through dying in Dark Souls, or getting that rejection email, get back up and try again.
4 – Dark Souls showed me the importance of breaks and time off
Dark Souls has several points in the game where a player might get stuck for hours. Whether it be a tough boss fight, or getting lost in its vast world – it’s really easy to hit a wall. Putting the game down and returning to it after a few days really improved how I approached the game. I was more successful with boss encounters, I was reacting much sharper and I was enjoying the game more.
The same lesson applies to freelancing. Sometimes when I’m working on my own projects or client work, all it takes is a short break or a good night’s sleep to get right back on track.
5 – Dark Souls taught me not to be afraid to ask for help
Another option you have if you get stuck is calling for help. Dark Souls offers a multiplayer feature, where another player can place down a sign in certain areas of the game signalling they are offering help. Boss and enemy encounters are a lot less stressful with a companion at your side. If you don’t have multiplayer on, you can still look at the Dark Souls Wiki for detailed explanations on items, areas, bosses and decisions you can make in the game.
A lot of freelancers enjoy the comfort of being their own boss, and sometimes might be a little embarrassed to ask for help. There’s nothing to be ashamed of in doing this, and it’s important to get advice from different perspectives. Not only will this help you solve immediate problems, but could also open the door to new opportunities you weren’t aware of – just like checking the Dark Souls wiki or starting multiplayer with an experienced player can in the game.
6 – Dark Souls showed me different paths to succeed
In Dark Souls, the player is allowed to approach the game from many different routes. These routes can be shaped by the type of class they choose for their character, the areas they want to discover and the characters they choose to meet. One player can decide to discover all the game has to offer, while another could skip out on half of this, and still complete the game. The game doesn’t restrict you to a linear way to play. You as the player get to choose how you want to approach the challenges the game has to offer.
The same lessons can be applied to the goals we set for ourselves. We always envision an ideal path to completing our goals, but we don’t always have access to take that path. As a freelancer in audio, becoming an overnight success is a longshot. But by continuing to produce content and taking on contract work, I’m still building paths towards goals I’ve set for myself.
I mostly play video games for my own enjoyment, and not for hidden life lessons. But Dark Souls tested me in a way that no other video game could. There was something special about dying hundreds of times and getting back up to die again. All of a sudden, the possibility of a client saying “no” to me didn’t seem that scary anymore.