How a conspiracy theory from Elon Musk helped me develop a growth mindset

September 24, 2022 — by Anjali Pai
Photo by Anjali Pai
In another realm, an alien plays my character in a video game.
Contemplating the true nature of life led to an improved outlook and boosted productivity.

During the early hours of the night, 12-year-old me lay in bed overthinking the true nature of life. Earlier that day, I had heard about Elon Musk’s claim that we are likely living in a computer simulation. As I sat contemplating this theory, I imagined a highly evolved, intellectual alien peering at a holographic screen and observing my life — as if I were a character in a video game. I thought to myself, “If this reality really is a game, how would I go about life?” 

The next day, I lived as if I were in a simulated game. For each activity I did, I treated it as a task that my character had to complete in order to level up in the game.

While I did not want to fold my laundry, I convinced myself that I would lose the game if I failed to complete this task. Determined to win, I folded my laundry. Not only did I feel fulfilled but my mom was satisfied with my new, more productive attitude. 

Next, I went to school where I received my graded math test. My heart dropped at the sight of the red streaks scattered throughout my test. To my dismay, I earned a B on the test rather than the A I was hoping for. 

Quickly, I reminded myself to react as if I were a video game character. Instead of feeling upset and putting myself down over this minor setback, I decided that I should learn from what I missed on this test; then, I could win during the next round of the game, when I take my next math test. 

Pleasantly surprised at the positive attitude my new outlook on life granted me, I decided to continue living life through the lens of a video game character, which nurtured a growth mindset. 

While I don’t necessarily believe in the computer simulation theory that Musk suggested, I enjoy living as if it were true; it has made setbacks much easier to get through as a result of the positive perspective I have adopted.

Not only does living life as if it were a game make mundane tasks feel fun, it can also provide incentive to make a difference in this world. 

As I complete high school, level up to college and eventually enter the real world, I hope to complete major quests and solve problems that the real world faces. In a game, the quest could be slaying the dragon or saving a city from destruction. In the real world, the quest could be helping reduce global warming, starting a successful company or making a dent in world hunger or another big problem. 

What’s the best reward in the video game called life? If you play it well, you can endure hardships and learn to be a winner every day.