How Stardew Valley Helped Me With My Perfectionism 🐓

Stardew Valley is an open-ended country-life RPG (role-playing game) that tells the story of your character, who just inherited your grandfather's old farm in, you guessed it, Stardew Valley.

I don't consider myself a gamer, but I indulge heavily in games occasionally. I had been postponing playing Stardew Valley, but finally, I gave in last year and haven't stopped playing since.

I also hesitated to write this article for a while because I'm a bit unsure about how it might come across. It feels like so many LinkedIn posts turn life experiences into motivational TED talks or lessons about B2B sales.

I love sharing free content to help fellow developers. Your support means a lot! Please follow me on LinkedIn, GitHub, and Twitter.
Let's connect!

But alas, the feedback I got from other people about the post I made about ADHD was so positive that I decided to write about a significant milestone for me: learning how to live with my perfectionist mindset.

Before we dive into the game, I want to say that this game didn't solve all my problems, and it might not have the same impact on you.

Consider this article as just one person's experience with the game, and feel free to share your thoughts!

Having Everything or Nothing At All

I think explaining what I mean by a perfectionist mindset is essential. Of course, always striving to do the best you can is great. I even admit that being a perfectionist helped me achieve many of my goals in life. However, this mindset also brought me some problems, especially regarding my leisure time and how I view what I do daily.

With a perfectionist mindset, nothing ever feels like enough—you'll always think you could and should have done better.

Taking on a task becomes even more complicated since you're immediately overwhelmed by the possibility of failure.

I was so in my head that I spent most of my time doing nothing and felt even worse.

At this point, I want to share with you, dear reader, what I learned from Stardew Valley and the new perspectives I gained from playing it.

Everyone Starts At Zero

The most fatal flaw that any perfectionist has is to quit doing something because you didn't perform like a master at that task the first time you tried it.

Yes, I can hear that this might sound cliché, but I used to squirm whenever I didn't do a task perfectly the first time. So you can imagine my surprise when I started playing the game and didn't have the materials to do the bare minimum. I knew I would need more time if I wanted to accomplish good results.

Here's a picture of what you start with once you boot the game:

Image taken from Stardew Valley Wiki: Farm Maps

That's not very appealing. I only see trees, rocks, and weeds. How can I turn this into the fabulous farms I see online?

Well, here's the thing: those incredible farms you see online took countless hours of dedication and effort. And guess what? They all started with a humble, basic farm just like yours. So why am I putting so much pressure on myself to have the best farm right now? It's important to remember that progress takes time, and everyone starts at zero.

Doing a Little Everyday > Doing Everything At Once

The second flaw that might be difficult to admit for me is if I want to do something, I need to do everything now to accomplish it!

I think this is where Stardew Valley truly shines. In the game, you have an energy bar ⚡️ that depletes with every task you do, like plowing or watering. The only ways to restore it are by eating food or getting a full night's sleep.

When you first start playing, you don't have much money to spend on food, so your main source of energy is sleep. This mechanic teaches you to manage your resources wisely and understand the value of rest.

If you ignore the energy bar, your character eventually faints, and you might even end up with a bill to pay (in the game, of course).

So you can imagine my shock on the first day of playing when I tried to remove all of the weeds at once and just ended up in the hospital at one in the afternoon due to exhaustion.

So conserve your energy and try to do a little every day instead of trying to do everything at once.

Don't Worry, You Have Time

One of the more popular ways of making money on Stardew Valley is to plant different vegetables and fruits. The problem arises when the player needs to take into account the different seasons and how long each plant takes to grow.

I would get very unmotivated when I noticed that I spent a lot of money on seeds but wouldn't have enough time to plant them this year. I felt like I missed the mark and judged myself heavily (I could've predicted this, or why do I play this game so badly).

These struggles seem almost comical, but this mindset easily translated to other aspects of my life, like my job, relationships, and how I see myself.

But I noticed that there was always another chance to try again. Even if I felt like I had done really poorly, there was always another opportunity around the corner. For instance, I could save seeds to plant next year and give it another shot.

You Will Never Get What You Want

Now, I know this title might sound very morbid or borderline depressive, but I feel that it needs to be said.

Everything that I had ambitioned on Stardew Valley always turned out worse than I thought, 100% of the time.

Example: With x amount of seeds, I will make a lot of 💰by the end of the season.

What ended up happening was that I didn't consider the cost of maintaining the farm and the possible shortcomings of the crops that season (I'm talking like a true farmer, I know).

This caused a heavy disappointment on my side since I kept wondering what did I do wrong.

And in this case I just accepted that I naturally tend to create a goal in my mind that will first be very unrealistic and that's okay. And I shouldn't feel bad for not hitting that amazing objective that I set forth.


Stardew Valley was a big part of my journey in figuring out how I think. Even though the game had no real-world consequences, I still aimed for impossible standards.

After spending so many hours playing, I realized that while I chose to think this way, I also needed to accept the possible changes and just enjoy playing the game. 🧑🏻‍🌾

Did you find these tips helpful?

Thank you for reading 💖


[1] Stardew Valley: Wikipedia

[2] Stardew Valley: Official Page

Subscribe to Coding With Vera

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.
[email protected]