3 ways The Sims teaches us how to make it in real life

If you’re old enough to have voted in the last two elections, you’ll know that life isn’t always easy.

If you don’t learn from your mistakes, you’ll go around in circles of mediocrity, stuck on this merry-go-round that resembles purgatory: not good, but not bad either.

Worse yet, if you run from your problems, they snowball into bigger problems, than soon bury you in avalanches of hardship.

Observe your own life, like you observe The Sims

These lessons seem complex in real life. It is much easier to see life’s lessons when we observe others. Living life–not observing it– is where we miss both the picture and the little lessons.

Everything becomes clearer when we live–and observe–our lives.

I realized this when I started playing the Sims again. The endearing life-simulation game holds many valuable lessons for us here in the real world.

Here’s how we can apply lessons from the Sims to make real Simoleans, and become successful before we age up too many times.

#1. Know who you are

Electronic Arts worked hard to make The Sims as diverse as possible. The selection for skin color, culture, and personality makeup is quite robust.

I’m the Mayor of Oasis Springs, nice to meet you.

Life is the same. We all have a unique fingerprint; people are unique as the day is long. That’s a good thing, but what good is something if we aren’t aware of it?

You need knowledge of self

But knowledge of self is just as important. If you don’t know who you are, it becomes very difficult to know your personal values and needs, let alone stand up for them.

“We don’t tolerate dog-fighting, cock-fighting, or llama-fighting in this building!”

No matter where you are; San Francisco, San Myshuno, or San Andreas, you have to know who you are and know what drives you, what makes you get out of bed in the morning, and what you can do without.

Even if you want to eventually live off the grid, or dive into Island living, you have to know this about yourself too.

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For example, if your Sim is a genius, then you know that they require a certain amount of stimulation to be satisfied. Without, they will become moody or unhappy.


It’s a very straightforward game mechanic, simply because the game tells you from the start how the genius trait affects your Sim. Same for other traits.

Think back on your life, what qualities have people routinely complimented you on? What do all of your favorite jobs/volunteer experiences have in common?

Perhaps you like to compete, or you like to help others learn, or you like to entertain people.

Don’t ignore your interests, they can grow into your greatest strengths.

Your common thread

Reflect on all of your experiences, special and insignificant, and you can start to see pieces of who you are. Some are so obvious and second-nature to you that you may overlook them.

It’s easier to seek and build what truly makes you happy if you have an idea of what it is. If you don’t know your general destination at some point, how will you ever find it?

Who you are is not a hindrance to your success. But you need to know who that it is to move in the right direction.

#2. Success comes from repeated action

Anytime you want a better job in the Sims, you probably have to build up a certain skill. That could be charisma, writing, cooking, or any of the other 30+ skills (depending on your expansion pack).


The “boredom” of success

But, the only way to build these skills is by doing them–a lot.

This concept is so simple that it’s easy to miss. If you want to be a rockstar, an, or an eSports champion, devote the time and elbow grease. Even the criminal career path requires your to build the mischief skill.

Truly, this concept is so simple that it’s almost boring. What if I told you that you could be great at something, it’ll just require a year of practice. Would you do it?

(Elephant in the room) Focus on the painting, not posterior.

That’s how most things are.

No one know the exact number.

10,000 hours? Perhaps.

2 hours a day? Who knows?

Looking mighty confident…I hope you washed your hands…

Get good (or git gud)

What’s most important is that you get your reps in. Focus your effort on the right kind of practice, and practice away. Fill up your green bar and level up.


Learning through reading is good, but real-life experience forces you to use your brain power and muscle memory. Try to do it for real. If you can’t get real-world practice, then read about it.

#3 Spend time wisely

Like I mentioned in my previous article about Stellaris, you must take action, because you can’t afford to waste time.

Your dreams and aspirations aren’t going to build themselves. It’s going to come down to your own brain power and manpower/womanpower.

You, like your sim, get older every day. If you’re not careful, you’ll look at yourself and see how much you’ve aged up before accomplishing your goals.

Every activity you take has an effect on your day. Be aware of how your habits are affecting your mood, your health, and your real life Simoleons.

Narrow your scope

People talk about balance, but I think that having narrow scope is more important. Its better to devote all your energy to the right things.

For example, if you choose the athletic career track, then you know you’ll have to exercise regularly, eat well, and stay in shape. This is the case in life and The Sims’ world.

Kick, punch, it’s all in the mind

There are a bunch of different ways to get exercise, but being an athlete still has a fairly narrow scope of activities. Activities that jeopardize your success as an athlete do not fall within that scope.

Eating junk, drinking too much, and not training will all damage your career as an athlete (even though many famous athletes have shattered this rule).

Try to make sure all of your actions are within the right scope.

Take inventory of your routine

In your daily routine, how many activities build the skills and develop the necessary relationships to achieve your goals?

A small update to your daily schedule can make a big difference.

If there are unnecessary things that clog up your schedule that don’t bring you closer to your goal, consider cutting it. Save your time and energy.

It’s really easy to cancel an activity in The Sims. With a narrow scope, it will be easier to cut out activities that don’t benefit you.

More to come

There are more lessons to learn from this masterpiece of a life-simulator. I’ll cover more in part 2.

For now, keep these lessons in mind, and you’ll see that the game of life can be played properly, just like The Sims.

Comment below and let me know your thoughts!

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