Something I learned playing my character?
As I've noted many times before, in the 41 years I've been playing RPGs I've probably only had a dozen or so characters. I've primarily been a GM. When I say 'primarily' we're seriously talking 95% Gamemastering to 5% playing as a Player. Actually, that 5% seems a tad generous.
Sadly, although there are positive reasons as to why I started Gamemastering, my focus on it over playing stems from what I learned playing my character(s) fairly early in my years in the hobby.
My time as a player wasn't always wonderful in the early days.
OK, let me be clear...it sucked. Being a player in Dungeons and Dragons games run by other people taught me never to do that again. And yet I have, so perhaps I never learned anything at all.
No, no, that's not right. Let's focus on the positive.
I learned to be bold, take risks, and think fast.
I learned that if you complicate your actions the GM had more material to use against you. I like to think I mastered the art of keeping things simple, concise, and straightforward.
I learned to concentrate on what I wanted the outcome to be and then I would figure out which skills, abilities, powers or whatever could be used toward accomplishing my goal.
This is something I am always trying to convey and teach to new players. Don't look at your character sheet, scan your abilities, and see what you can do. That's foolish. It makes your brain freeze up. If you don't see any powers you can use in a given situation, most people lament 'there's nothing my character can do here.'
Frell that noise. Make the GM work to figure out how to rule on your action instead of making your action fit his or her narrow view of how things should work.
I learned to play my character's personality and thought process even if it isn't the most 'beneficial' or 'efficient' thing to do in the moment. Unless I was playing a moron I wasn't going to purposely do something stupid but I learned it was more fun and interesting to not be so perfect all the time.
A major pet peeve I have with a lot of modern players. Few players are willing to see their PC as anything less that a perfect, always prepared, 100% badass all the time. Rarely do I see people get surprised, feel astonished or frightened, or have PCs take in the wonder of the world around them.
I also learned - though I knew this from the start really - to be aware of the other players, the other PCs, and the GM. I played my character but always with an unspoken acknowledgment that I was only one of the players in the game. I never created the lone-wolf guy who doesn't work with a team for example, because, ya'know, I wasn't at the table by myself. I always wanted to learn about the other PCs stories and help them solve mysteries in their backgrounds. I investigated and explored the settings because the GM had worked hard to create a setting to explore and investigate.
I guess the most important thing I learned as a player was what my personal preferences are. I now try to make games that would be campaigns I myself would want to play in. That can backfire too of course. What I think players want to see, what I want to see, isn't necessarily what the average player desires.
I gotta be true to me though.