Jumping Through Life Like Super Mario

SuperMario101At a fundamental level, all levels of classic Super Mario games are about getting from point A to Point B. There are many obstacles in between: Fireballs, flying torpedoes, goombas, koopas, and moving platforms. Each level, however, can only be overcome by jumping.

Our lives are like these levels – we have goals to approach and complete, and once they are at last done, there is another, often harder level. There are more obstacles to overcome. There are bigger battles to complete. There are far more complicated, precarious jumps.

Many times, these obstacles and jumps lead us to fall, to ‘die’ in the level, and have to go back to the beginning. There, we feel as if we have lost all the skills and power-ups we have gained. We might even go back a step to re-gain a fire flower or penguin suit.

It can shoot ice-balls and not slip on ice! It’s the best!

When we fail a level of life time and time again, we often want to give up and go to a spot of safety. We could just sit complacent at the beginning of a level. There are no obstacles nor enemies. Only time running down in the corner.

We could re-do a level we have done many times before, enjoying the ease we breeze through it and bounce our way to the end. We can re-do it a thousand times, because it is safe, because it appears to be fun.

But, after a while, we will realize we are giving in to fear.

And in giving into fear, we are missing out on a wide world of food-named places to explore. What if we were to stay on Donut Plains, and never discover the wonders of Vanilla Dome, let alone the amazing Dhino Rhinos of Chocolate Island?

Ye Old Map of Super Mario World

Dino Rhino

A dino and a rhino

Actual map of Super Mario World

To move forward, we have to jump. Sometimes, we have to take risks and jump into unknown places and spaces. This might result in failing, but we can get back up and try again. This might also result in something wondrous and undiscovered, in a secret passage that will get us to our goal faster, or one more dragon coin or star coin to unlock something special. We can’t know unless we take the jump.

With each jump, we get better at timing and aiming and leaping. We can reach higher, jump faster, and keep our power-ups for longer. There will still be pits and spikes and Bullet Bills in our way, but we know better how to dodge them and keep running toward the end of the level.

Bala Siniestra

And what do we do once we finally cross that finish line, and reach that goal? We go on to the next level, the next goal, and keep progressing.

This is what I am preparing to do, by attending graduate school. I have taken my jumps and fallen flat on my face. They have prepared me for this jump, and for leaping across a couple states and venturing into new territory. I am sure I will have failures along the way, but they are there to help me learn and grow and become better. I will also have successes to build on which will help me make my way to a greater finish.

In short: We can’t get to a higher level, unless we jump.

  • What leaps have you made in your life?
  • What is your favorite Mario game?
  • What jumps are you working on right now?
  • Did you know packing is a lot of work? (So is wrapping up working at a job after several years.)

Side Note 1: Speaking of taking jumps in life, my friend Andres Salazar is currently running a Kickstarter to fund Part 2 of his Pariah, Missouri graphic novel series. There will be more on this next week.

 Side Note 2: Another friend of mine, Heather of HopeForHeather.wordpress.com, is taking a jump by running a campaign to raise awareness for rare diseases. She has Cowden’s Syndrome, and it does some crazy stuff. That’s the short version. You can find out more here.

Side Note 3:  A bit of housekeeping – This week, I am wrapping up my current job. Next week, I am packing and moving. I will try to run two posts next week, and one the following week as I go through orientation. I start actual school on September 2nd, and should get back into a regular return within the next week or two.

Here’s to seeing what will happen.

Side Note 4: This post will also be the basis of my tenth and final speech for Toastmasters@UCSB. I’ll update this post later if I have time in the next few days.

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9 thoughts on “Jumping Through Life Like Super Mario

  1. I really love the way you used Super Mario here. 🙂 Thanks for the inspiring post. One of my leaps a while ago was taking on a customer relations job. At the time I was scared to even speak to strangers on the phone. I grew a lot through that job. All the best to you in grad school!

  2. Hahah, oh man…love this post. What an awesome geeky way to link video games to real life! 😄

    The biggest leap in my life was probably when I decided to start working out West. And there have been other hurdles for sure, but it was definitely worth it. I’m currently working on the second biggest leap…self-publishing my novel. @_@

    Favorite Mario game? Hard decision, but I think I have to go with Mario 64. I spent a hell of a lot of time on that game!

    Also, yeah, I’ve dealt with the whole packing thing a few times over. It’s definitely a lot more work than it first appears to be!

  3. Oh gosh, I’m loving this post right now. I wish you all the best luck as you go off on your new adventure and can’t wait until you return again!

    I, too, am leaping and jumping right now. I just launched my business and am trying to get clients. I have one that I think will work out, but can’t be sure. Maybe it’ll be a moment where I think I’m going to be able to make it to the other side, but then fall through the sky and lose a life. However, I’m persisting regardless of what happens. Other Virtual Assistants make it sound so easy! Sigh. But it’s kind of not. My posts have definitely been slowing down on the Star Wars end (sad face) because of all the work it’s taking for me to market myself/business.

    Anyway – my favorite Mario game will always only be Super Mario World 2 for the original gameboy because it’s the only Mario game that I have ever beaten entirely through to the point where credits were rolling. I did it when we had a 10 hour car trip back from Canada when I was about 7-8 years old.

    And, yes, packing is so stressful and a lot of work! When we were packing to go from our apartment to our house I had a day where I just called my friend in tears. I can’t remember why, but I know it had to do with my stress. Good luck with everything!

  4. Love the metaphor, Laura.

    My leaps? Most of my leaps are about my writing, but I won’t bore you with that.
    Fav Mario game? Hands down, Super Mario 64. It was the first time I’d seen Mario in 3D and loved it!
    Working on now? Well, I have a book coming out! LOL

    Good luck with your Toastmasters@UCSB speech. I’m sure you’ll do fine!

  5. This also reminds of an episode of HIMYM called “The Leap,” but I love how you connect Super Mario! For the past 4 years, my life really has felt like a Mario game, so this was a nice way of putting things in a different perspective. Thank you 🙂

    One of the biggest leaps in my life was when I decided to transfer colleges. Best decision of my life though. My favorite Mario game would probably be Super Mario 3 for Nintendo. I always liked playing the levels with Yoshi! And as of now, I’m working on moving to another city, preferably NYC and taking smaller leaps in between with working on my writing.

    Good luck in grad school!! Sounds like an exciting chapter for you!!

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