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Escape Rooms as a Form of Self Improvement?

Escape Rooms as a Form of Self Improvement?

Christina Eanes |

Did you know you can invest in your personal and professional development by raiding a tomb, finding the cure for the Zombie virus, conducting a bank heist, disarming a bomb, and looting a pirate ship? While escape room adventures have traditionally been used in professional development as a team-building activity, they can teach you a lot about yourself and how you interact with your world.

My husband and I discovered the world of escape rooms in 2016 and quickly became enthusiasts. We realized that not only are these “games” fun, but they also can teach us a lot about ourselves. They teach us how to be more successful professionally and personally, specifically in how we perceive our world, emotionally interact, and effectively communicate with others. 

One life lesson we learn repeatedly is that we create our reality through our perspective. This means we can change our reality by changing our perspective. This lesson became evident to us after one unique escape room experience. We had only done around 300 escape rooms at the time, so we were excited about having this novel experience – we would be in a room with a roaming zombie. We had heard about zombies being chained in the room, and the chain gets longer as the time counts down, but this one would be free roaming. I was extremely excited about the experience and listened closely to the game master’s briefing. When she said that while the zombie would be free roaming, he couldn’t come after us until we found nerf guns, I thought – I’m going to have fun with this! 

We started the experience locked in separate storage rooms and were given walkie-talkies to coordinate puzzles so we could work our respective puzzles. At one point, the zombie came and banged on the door, growling. I thought this was my chance to mess with him and pretended to be in the bathroom, responding, “I’ll be out in a minute.” I worked my way into a second room and then into a cage before accessing the third room, where I could meet up with my husband in the final push to find the cure and thwart the zombie. Then, I heard the game master ask my husband not to lock the cage in his room as it was a health and safety violation. 

We both made it into the third room, and I noticed he was visibly agitated. I asked him what was wrong and why he tried to lock the cage and he responded that the zombie was coming after us and could appear at any moment. At that moment, the zombie appeared. I laughed at the timing and let him know that he couldn’t technically come after us until we found the nerf guns and that he was slow enough that one of us could distract him while the other worked through the final puzzles.

We escaped with a few minutes to spare and no zombie bites (or taps). At the end of the experience, I was excited about the next four rooms we had scheduled that day, and my husband was exhausted and needed a short break. We each walked into the experience with different perspectives: one was that this was going to be an exciting experience, and one that this was going to be nerve-wracking because there was an active zombie present. We had the same experience but entirely different results because of how we each chose to view it. 

We learned a lot from this experience and brought it into our everyday lives. Whenever we feel frustrated, stuck, or some other negative emotion, we’ve learned to stop and question how our thoughts resulted in how we view the situation causing the feeling. While this is a unique story, we’ve learned hundreds of lessons about how our minds can get in our way and various ways to overcome these obstacles, translating them into how we can better perceive the real world. 

Humans learn more when we have fun. Escape room experiences are a way to learn more about ourselves in a “safe” environment. They create a situation that allows us to safely develop ourselves as long as we are intentional about our learning during the process. Think about some of your most memorable lessons and how you’ll apply them.

Christina Eanes

Christina Eanes

Writer, instructor, blogger

Christina is an escape room enthusiast and a person with great knowledge about the escape room industry. She utilizes the learning from played escape rooms to enhance her speeches, workshops, coaching, and podcast series (Quit Bleeping Around).

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