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The Day Online Gamers Beat HIV/AIDS and Revealed The Authentic Self

The Real Call of Duty or Turning Halo Into Humanitarianism

With no background in biochemistry or concrete knowledge of the HIV/AIDS virus, a group of online gamers solved a molecular mystery that had stumped researchers for nearly a decade. Even better, the gamers did it in 10 days.

The breakthrough came through a website called FoldIt whose goal is to ‘solve puzzles for science.’ Essentially, you join a community of gamers and get points if you solve unique puzzles. It’s pure crowdsourcing, but for science. And in the end, rather than just scoring the highest points, you have the potential to save lives. Pretty cool.

But the true genius of FoldIt is that its founders realized that you don’t necessarily need a lab coat or an Ivy League degree to be a scientist.

They believed scientific breakthroughs could come from anyone obsessive enough to dive into the complex world of amino acid patterns.

I’m a staunch advocate for education, so I’m not going to advocate quitting college to become an online gamer. But these socially conscious gamers do reveal a unique lesson we can all learn from.

I believe each one of us is created very specifically to use our unique gifts and talents for the benefit of others. We can bad mouth video games all we want, but by working through these puzzles, the gamers were doing what they were made to do.

In solving puzzles to crack the HIV/AIDs virus, the gamers tapped into their authentic selves.

Our authentic self is a place of being where we find ourselves working exactly in the space where we were made to operate. Or as Frederick Buechner reminds us,

“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

Not only is finding your authentic self designed to benefit others around you, it’s also one of the key aspects to living a fulfilling life.

People who are living as their authentic selves don’t just love their lives, they thrive in them.

So what about you? What are you made to do? What’s that thing you lose sleep over and find great joy in doing? Forget the notion that you have to have a fancy degree to make it happen. You don’t. But you have to start today. Whether it be an art piece, organic gardening, that new business, or even online gaming for science, you have to start today.

The worst thing you can do is put off your authentic self until tomorrow.



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