TURNING WORK INTO PLAY
Working together can fuel more productivity and intrinsic motivation and learning from games.
Minds Built to Matter: The New Science of Growth and Learning
Self-Coaching challenge: Let’s reflect on our own thinking for a moment
What are the future implications of a convenient decision we might make today? Looking back from that place in the future, did we make a growth and learning choice? How have we factored in the impact on our growth and relationships with othersinto our decision?
Being gameful means bringing the same psychological strengths we naturally display when we play games—such as optimism, creativity, courage, and determination—to real-world goals.
Drawing on hundreds of studies, McGonigal shows that getting superbetter is as simple as tapping into the three core psychological strengths that games help you build:
- 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 through cooperation
• Your natural capacity to motivate yourself and super-charge your heroic and positive learning qualities, like willpower, effort, compassion, and determination to succeed.
SuperBetter contains nearly 100 playful challenges anyone can undertake in order to build these gameful strengths. It includes stories and data from people who have used the SuperBetter method to get stronger in the face of illness, injury, and other major setbacks, as well as to achieve goals like losing weight, running a marathon, and finding a new job.
With 1 in 4 Americans facing mental health challenges each year and 77% regularly experiencing physical symptoms from stress (National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI), the scale of the problem in the US is clear to see. According to NAMI, serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year, showing how damaging mental illness can be on sufferers and the US economy. Therefore, it’s crucial that broad-reaching, evidence-based mental health innovations like SuperBetter are championed across the US to complement traditional mental health care, extend its reach, and alleviate pressure on the health care system.
SuperBetter is a gameful way of living to be stronger for life. Officially backed by two research studies conducted by the University of Pennsylvania and Ohio State University, it works by combining the same psychological strengths you naturally display when you play games – such as optimism, creativity, courage, and determination with your real life. It challenges you to step out of your comfort zone and collaborate with others, building up your resilience to tackle tougher and tougher challenges with greater and greater success.
In 2009, internationally renowned game designer Jane McGonigal suffered a severe concussion. Unable to think clearly or work or even get out of bed, she became anxious and depressed, even suicidal. But rather than let herself sink further, she decided to get better by doing what she does best: she turned her recovery process into a resilience-building game. What started as a simple motivational exercise quickly became a set of rules for “post-traumatic growth” that she shared on her blog. These rules led to a digital game and a major research study with the National Institutes of Health. Today nearly half a million people have played SuperBetter to get stronger, happier, and healthier.
But the life-changing ideas behind SuperBetter are much bigger than just one game. In this book, McGonigal reveals a decade’s worth of scientific research into the ways all games—including videogames, sports, and puzzles—change how we respond to stress, challenge, and pain. She explains how we can cultivate new powers of recovery and resilience in everyday life simply by adopting a more “gameful” and play mindset Being gameful means bringing the same psychological strengths we naturally display when we play games—such as optimism, creativity, courage, and determination—to real-world goals.
Promoting the philosophy of “fail early and often” is the key to harnessing the power of rapid discover and delivering proof of concepts that resonate with and encourage feedback from actual users and customers.
This last one is the closest to my heart because it often reminds me of two famous quotes (available in several variations on the Web). First, there is Edison’s quote about failure and inventing the light bulb: “I have not failed, not once. I’ve discovered ten thousand ways that did not work.” Then there is Frank Lloyd Wright’s insight “You can use an eraser on the drafting table or a sledgehammer on the construction site.”