I Don’t Finish

By John Sollitto

(I wrote this article in December 2011 for another site called talknerdytomelover.com)

I shall now confess something. You ready? *deep breath* My name is John Sollitto…and I do not finish all of the games that I buy. I know right? It’s SHAMEFUL. So shameful. This is me shamed. Relish in it because me shamed is not a common thing, as some of you who follow me on Twitter will TOTALLY know.

For a more professional look at this phenomenon that is happening all over the world simultaneously to other nerds, hop on over to Misti Dawn’s site and read the article she’s got there. I don’t think I’m going to be professional about this so that’s why I give the link.

Now I have a lot of games, and many of the major franchises I have completed. Things like Mass Effect and Assassin’s Creed and whatnot are the ones that I make sure to from start to end, stem to stern. But I have MAAAAAAAJOR A.D.D. when it comes to new games that look good. When a new game comes out that I want, I get like this:

For the sake of example I’m going to use a game called The Witcher as a stand in for games I don’t finish. When I got The Witcher I had the full intent of seeing the game through to completion. I spent hours on it searching every nook and cranny for all those little side mission to fill my addiction of gaming. Unfortunately, that Christmas blessed me with Call of Duty: Black Ops and my time was therefore monopolized by playing a steely-eyed Alaskan marine voiced by Sam Worthington (whom I have a man-crush on). Plus I got stuck on this one part in a swamp and I got lost and I was getting tired of fighting giant rats and the Call of Duty seemed like a nice break from all of that. You know how it is.

The Witcher has remained untouched in my computer since then. That’s almost a year, give or take some days. This is embarrassing because I spent money to buy this game and to be honest it feels a little wasteful to me.

On a possibly more relatable note for those of you who don’t play games, I’ll use a LITERARY example to help flesh out this idea that I’m going to come full circle with. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Alexandre Dumas’s The Count of Monte Cristo. That book is my weakness. And yet, I have never finished it. I’ve gotten like three quarters of the way through and then school hit me hard with The Grapes of Wrath and other standbys for higher education. And then it was too late to pick up where I left on and I’d have to start over and then new books came out that I wanted to read and yadda yadda yadda.

The Witcher is to videogames as The Count of Monte Cristo is to books. Get it? Why am I asking you? I can’t see or hear your response. Look the point is I kind of figured out why I don’t finish things like this book or game. It’s because I know they’ll always be there. They’re things I know that won’t go away, and honestly I won’t get much benefit from them if I do finish them other than the satisfaction of having finished the game or book.

Now, many of you are saying “GOOD GOD, MAN! How can not finishing a book or game be rewarding?” What I’m saying is that when games with sequels that come out frequently, or reading a book that you know is the continuation of a long standing saga, you get the sense that there’s more to come and you want to finish it faster so you don’t fall behind. With The Count of Monte Cristo there is no sequel, no follow up. I would say the same goes for The Witcher but the second game just came out and it’s definitely putting pressure on me to finish it.

When there is a sense of progression or higher accomplishment with something, we tend to put that higher on our priority list than normal. I mean c’mon. Can you honestly say that you haven’t put the thing you know will IMMEDIATELY get you satisfaction over the thing that will slowly get you satisfaction at a later much farther away date? We do it all the time when we say we’re going to “start that diet” or “work out more.”

It’s a motivation thing that we can’t seem to shake. A few months back, after realizing this about myself, I set some goals for. What were things that I’ve always wanted to do and wanted to accomplish, and how would I go about doing them? There were a few things on there and I’d like to share them with you:

  • Learn card tricks
  • Workout consistently
  • Learn more Italian
  • Learn to play guitar

Now, I can tell you right away that I’m well on my way to doing three out of four of the things on this list. But for the sake of the story I’m going to set it up a little for you.

The first thing on the list was card tricks so basically I searched YouTube high and low for card trick tutorials and things of that nature. God bless the YouTubes for they SOOOOOO work. As of today I can do at least two card tricks effectively and some dealing flourishes. To me, card tricks seemed like the easiest of the things to start with because I had cards available to me and internet access and a crap-load of free time during the summer.

This was an exercise to see if I could ACTUALLY finish something I started, and I proved it right. The next one didn’t work out so well. I started exercising frequently. Then not so frequently. Then not at all. Then frequently again. And so on and so forth. Eventually I realized that I needed some kind of planned-out regimen to keep myself on track because as much as I hated to admit it, I had no freaking idea what kind of workout I wanted.

If you follow me on Twitter you can see that I’ve started doing the Insanity workout stuff and I’m really quite pleased with it. When you read this I’ll be on day 3 of it and huffing and puffing and feeling so out of shape I’ll want to cry, but in the BEST way possible. The reason is that I’m getting to it. I’m happy I’m doing something I’ve set my mind to.

I don’t think I’ll be learning Italian any time soon because there really isn’t a NEED for me to do that other. And as for learning a guitar, I’ve cleverly found a way to make learning guitar with a videogame part of my job for the Vault. So I’m being kind of a sneaky bastard with that one. I’ll talk about that another day.

The reason for my confession is to admit that I had a problem finishing things and that I had a motivation issue. I still do, but maybe not as bad as I used to. Now learning skill sets and playing videogames aren’t as important as doing something like going to work, studying, or working on a relationship, but they’re small steps to a greater plan. My question for you is: What do you have trouble finishing, or what do you have trouble STARTING? And why do you think you have that problem?