Living Gamefully

Hello again.

This post is dedicated to the people who feel lost, confused and struggle to find meaning out of something. I’m sure all my fellow twenty-somethings (and other somethings) out there can relate to this.

I recently started reading SuperBetter:  A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver, and More Resilient on my commute rides to and fro work. If you’re more familiar with my earlier posts – one of my goals is to fill the ample commute time with reading. I randomly stumbled upon this book in the library and was drawn from the author’s experience of suffering a severe concussion and trying to find the motivation to continue living. The author – Jane McGonigal shares this traumatic experience that led her bedridden while mentally and physically not being able to do things that she once could. One day she realizes that she can either end her life or challenge herself as if she was a character in a game to approach tasks skillfully. She chose the latter. Inspired from her game researching past, setting up her life like a game gave her the invigoration of living again.

For example, she mentions the importance of  “power ups”. Similar to video games, power ups are things you can do to give you the motivated boost of feeling better. Let’s say I have trouble getting up in the morning, a power up can be making a cup of matcha green tea to help me get my day going. McGonigal also sets up a series of quests, which are exercises the readers must do in order to practice the “Super Better” game in life. It’s been really fun doing the series of challenges and feeling some sort of accomplishment. Here are some key takeaways from the book I’d like to share with you:

  • Cultivate new powers of recovery and resilience in everyday life simply by adopting a more “gameful” mindset
  • Being gameful means channeling the psychological strengths we experience when playing video games – such as creativity, optimism, courage and determination to real-world goals
  • Your ability to control your attention, and therefore your thoughts and feelings
  • Your power to turn anyone into a potential ally, and to strengthen your existing relationships
  • Your natural capacity to motivate yourself and supercharge your heroic qualities, like compassion, willpower and determination

The next time you are stuck in a funk, remember to challenge yourself and try to approach a challenge like a game you are motivated to win. It will be rewarding.