I really enjoyed this Ask HN thread: Name one idea that changed your life (which credits this David Perell tweet).
As mentioned in a few recent posts, I’ve started playing Starcraft (Remastered) again. My recommended videos have been taken over by Day9 Learn Starcraft tutorials.
During all this, I’ve been writing down 3-5 sentence notes whenever some kind of life lesson comes to mind.
In an attempt to not just have a bunch of unfinished drafts, I’ll grab one now to share some ideas that changed my life that I (at least partially) learned from Starcraft.
Focused attacks on one unit can be good (but be careful)
One of the early micro-ing lessons in Starcraft was to focus attacks on one unit at a time. If you have some group of marines against some group of hydralisks, really any unit probably works here, you’ll stand a better chance if you focus the attack so your group targets one unit at a time. When that one dies, set the group to another single unit, etc.
I’m sure there’s some useful graph of this somewhere.
Anyway, as each unit is killed, the amount of damage your group is taking per second goes down as well.
(This all assumes they aren’t also focus targeting your units as well.)
How this relates to life is to realize the importance of focusing and the unimportance of being good at multitasking.
That said, getting focus blocks is more about environment design. You need to be able to design your day to have fewer interruptions. It’s a longer game.
A short-term skill worth practicing (which could take a while to develop) is to be good at getting into that focused state. So if you’re interrupted, which will happen, your entire next hour isn’t thrown away for a one-minute interruption. Yes, having the deep block without interruptions is good. But things happen. Prep for it.
As for the “be careful” part with a focused attack, if your opponent knows you’re targeting then they can make that unit retreat. Your units will follow it without attacking, taking damage from the rest of the group.
How does this apply to life?
You should reflect on what you’re focusing on regularly. Having complete focus on the wrong thing can be as much a waste of time as doing a bunch of things without focus.
And check this other post out with some other Starcraft Life Lessons (along with some notes about Tobi Lutke, Shopify founder, and how Starcraft shaped his thinking).