By: Odin Omen
I know what it is like to feel that you missed the mark early on in life. Trust me. After serving a sentence as a 4-time convicted felon for burglary in 1990 and living with a lifetime of mental illness beginning at the age of 16, I finally figured out a way to redesign myself into someone I could be proud to look at in the mirror. Someone who could overcome anything.
My mission is to help others become experts at capturing opportunity, conquering self-defeating thoughts, and taking control as the master game designer of your own life. I am living proof it can be done and that life can be yours to design as you choose. There is hope. My work is dedicated to helping others live the life they deserve. Whether this sounds like you or someone you know; I hope to inspire you to take action for yourself or become a recruiter for a friend in need. If you want to learn more about me and join my family of unstoppable JUGGERNAUTS, please keep reading.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was playing Ms. Pac-Man with my mom every weekend at this local pizza place in Akron, Ohio. I was just a little kid then and we both enjoyed the competitive spirit and family bonding that gaming provided. I was a skinny, geeky kid and she let me know that was completely ok. She made me feel special by instilling a competitive nature in me at the beginning.
Weekend after weekend I would come back to that pizza place to find my high score undefeated. I knew I found something that was uplifting and was my own… gaming.
As I grew older, I learned how to channel the energy gaming gave me into other things like competitive skateboarding, bodybuilding, and even business. I became the kind of person that no matter what I did, I went all the way. Even with (4) felonies and no college degree, I was able to use this energy in business to find myself eventually heading a multimillion dollar construction company with (72) employees and a six-figure income. I proved to myself that my criminal past was exactly that… my past. I convinced employers to look at my spirit and not to judge me by my distant mistakes or lack of credentials. It worked time and again. I became unstoppable just like the JUGGERNAUT from Marvel Comics®.
I ALMOST DIED…
It has not always been easy, though. In 2010, I decided to quit taking my mental health medications and go natural using diet and vitamins. Unfortunately, it did not work and I almost died from a schizophrenic break. In that moment, gaming saved my life by ironically pulling me back into reality. The social aspects of gaming played a pivotal role allowing me to reconnect the wires in my brain at a pace I was comfortable with as I rejoined society. During my recovery, I found that geek culture had more to offer than I ever imagined. Over the years, it would prove to save me again and again. I continued to find ways to overcome an almost comical slew of problems in my life like thyroid storm, heart attack, Bipolar Disorder, drug addiction, incarceration, suicide, major eye surgeries, partial blindness, schizophrenia, spine surgery, Akathisia, and most recently, Cervical Dystonia. As well-managed as my physical and mental health are today, I still have serious conditions that require monitoring. It can be extremely challenging to always have the need to ‘dig deep’ in order to survive the constant battle.
LIFE TURNED AROUND!
I knew I needed a consistent method for tackling any situation life threw at me. That’s when I found that I had discovered a way to beat it all. Roleplaying. I dug deeper into gaming than ever before looking for that uplifting and competitive spirit that started it all as a young child. In my head, I began referring to myself as the JUGGERNAUT and then started to say it out loud to the world. I played all types of games old and new and became sort of a “born-again gamer”. It helped redesign me into someone who is focused and driven to conquer some of the toughest situations I had ever been through in life.
“THAT is the gamer spirit. To never quit, but instead to regenerate and go again.”
What I also came to realize is that getting involved with different communities would help me overcome different obstacles. For example; joining the conversation about the benefits of gaming on Twitter, getting involved with mental health groups on the internet or even tapping into business communities ready to help you reach the next level. (Another TIP: Gaming helps with business.) Do you not think that a guild leader managing 1,000 guildies or more is developing transferable experience that will come in very handy in the workplace? It most certainly does.
“You have to learn the rules of the game (of life). And then you have to play better than anyone else.” ~ Albert Einstein
ROLEPLAYING THE JUGGERNAUT…
This mindset allows me to rise to any occasion. To join a new group of friends I so desperately need. To deal with illness or whenever someone tells me I can’t do something. Every time I feel suicidal. Every time I need to be reminded that I can bulldoze right through anything that gets in my path. It has given me a way to tap back into a feeling of great power and personal control over my life. It helps me conquer self-defeating thoughts and fight fear. I found that the more you practice roleplaying through life’s challenges as an unstoppable force like the JUGGERNAUT, the better and stronger you will become. You can do it. I believe in you.