We’re not all millionaires and billionaires. Most of us have a finite amount of money to spend frivolously, so we try to be careful with how we spend it. That’s why we test products out at the store, read reviews online, and ask others what their experiences have been like; so that we spend our dollars wisely. We want the biggest bang for our buck, so to speak.
But there’s the occasional yet unavoidable flop. We don’t always make the best decisions; sometimes, we’ll pick up something that we just can’t get into, like a video game or a book. And rather than feel like we’ve wasted our hard-earned dough on something we don’t like, we try to force ourselves into finishing.
“Maybe it’ll grow on me!” we say. “I’m sure it gets better a few more hours in, I just need to keep playing,” we tell ourselves.
So the torture goes on, slowly. Hours of boredom begin to feel like days. Whether we’re half falling asleep trying to trudge through a book that isn’t keeping our interest, or playing a game that we feel we have to finish because it was sixty dollars (!), we’ll do what we can to wring every cent of value out of our product so that we feel we got the entertainment we paid for. All this, at the expense of actually being entertained.
People: it is perfectly okay to walk away from something that doesn’t grab you.
This is something I still struggle with, as I make my way through my first playthrough of L.A. Noire wishing it had been over one disc ago. We are in a period of time where there is no shortage of TV shows to watch, books to read and video games to play. Entertainment is more plentiful and more accessible than it has ever been, and odds are, there’s something that’ll entertain you way more than the thing you’re slogging through now.
If you open the book and read a few chapters, or if you start the game and play for an hour or so, you should feel the tug of the universe inside, inviting you to dive deeper. And you should feel like you want to accept that invitation. If not, the creators haven’t done their jobs, and you’re totally justified in finding something that will be a better use of your time, money be damned. It’s better to take the hit on your wallet than to feel like you’ve had time stolen from you.
At least you can make more money.