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self-mastery journal

grand theft auto: cheat codes.

From infinite money to flying quad bikes, the Grand Theft Auto series has some kickass cheat codes.

They transform the games from a struggle into a farce. While all of your enemies try to kill you with peashooters, you explode their limbs with a bazooka. You’re not supposed to be able to afford that nice house early in the game, but you can buy it with cheat-code-generated money. And let’s not forget your ability to survive six-star shootouts.

At first it was fun playing with cheats. I explored every new possibility and did some pretty ridiculous shit.

Then it started getting old. Every new tussle with the police felt like the previous. Shooting pedestrians in the face lost its excitement. Dying had no stakes because I could just spawn more money and weapons.

When I was invincible, had the best weapons, infinite money, and flying cars, everything became vacuous. There was no point to playing anymore. Soon after cheating, I would quit the game in boredom.

When you exchange “hard” difficulty for “easy,” the game becomes unfulfilling.

Our culture advocates “easy” difficulty. Due to technological advances, we have a plethora of cheat codes. Instead of dealing with the challenge of mastering a skill, we can look at a TV screen displaying skillful people. Instead of dealing with rejection and heartbreak, we can watch some porn. Instead of dealing with the frustrations of pursuing our dream career, we can shut off our brains and make a living as a grunt (so we can come home to watch TV and porn). Instead of risking vulnerability with someone in order to make a real physical connection, we can post a picture on Facebook and receive 100 likes.

We cheat every day without even realizing it. That’s not an issue if you intend to cheat.

But you can’t cheat your way to fulfillment. It’s only found on “hard” difficulty.