I'm currently playing two tabletop RPG campaigns, and gaming has been part of my life for, basically, over half of it. Most who know me will agree that I'm an avid gamer.
It was while discussing character generation, however, that I came across a revelation. Recently I've talked a lot about lessons that I've learned from various places, and it occured to me that a lot of the advice I was giving people - and the epithets I often use when talking character and game - can be applied to real-life scenarios as easily as they can to a game of Loungerooms & Lizards*.
Note: The game I am referring to in this case is Pathfinder, which is basically D&D. Other systems have other lessons to learn, of course. Pathfinder is just what I am playing the mot of right now, and is the system that provoked the thoughts that led to this whole ramble in the first place.
*Basements & Basilisks. Warehouses & Wyverns. Kitchens & Komodos. Gardens & Geckos. Studios & Salamanders. This is fun.
1) Use Your Stats. You are stuck with your ability rolls - but they don't dictate the rest of you. Work with what you have, recognise your strengths and minimise your weaknesses. Low Dexterity implies that deciding to become a lead in a royal ballet corps is perhaps a bad choice, though a consequent high Charisma means that a career in performance is certainly not out of the question. This, however, ties into...
2) Remember Advancement. It's not just a case of having the potential to get better - it's almost a certainty. It may seem difficult to achieve a given goal, but as long as you are realistic - not fatalistic, not optimistic, but realistic - what can be achieved might surprise you. Have your goals in mind with every step you take, and always have something to strive for.
3) Career Is Not Class. When someone asks: "What do you do?" They are often meaning your career. But often, what people "do" is not their job. Their job is what allows the to do what they "do". Remember: in Pathfinder, profession is a skill that anyone can take, regardless of Class. If you want to be defined by how you earn your pay, that is different - that is when a career and a Class are the same thing.
4) Class Is Not Character. While stereotypes exist of what certain Classes act and think like, they are not binding. Nor is life. How one should act in certain situations - while guided by social convention - is up to the individual. Not your job, nor your interests, should tell you who you should be. Influence? Certainly - a Cleric is almost certain to demonstrate certain religious traits, a Fighter is almost certain to be somewhat more martial. However, they are not the be-all and end-all by any means.
5) Pick Your Battles. A Level 2 Fighter cannot solo a dragon of any description; nor can a Level 16 Fighter call any number of goblins a challenge. That said. A Level 2 Fighter might WANT to solo a dragon, for the sheer amount of loot that will come of it - while the Level 16 will get next to nothing for the horde dead at his feet. The balance is to take on a challenge that can be overcome but is also worth the fight. This can apply to both combat and other challenges.
6) The Journey Trumps The Destination. If everything up until the end objective is a drag, and only the final pay-off is a worthy experience, then this game won't be much fun for you. You need to make your journey as fulfilling as you can - because you never know, that last confrontation might not be one you win. Make the journey one that makes the falling worthwhile, and then you need never fear losing.
Just some thoughts.