How I Gamify My LIfe

I used to be really into games. I am competitive. I love puzzles and challenges. I like to train and watch myself get better at a particular skill. For me, most gaming was on Xbox and PC. I liked video games because of their complexity. Often there were ways to win without playing fair. There were cheat codes, glitch exploits, methods to farm experience or materials.

I played a LOT of Halo. To me, Halo was not just a first person shooter, it was a complex ecosystem that had leaderboards, rankings, collectibles, and player interactions. Sure being the quickest to line up a headshot would help you sometimes. But, to be great you had to know every aspect of the game. You had to know that a Ghost could be destroyed in one punch if you hit the cylinder thing just being the wings. Little details that got you ahead and let you carry your team match after match.

I don’t play video games anymore. Partly because when I play a game I feel like I’m fighting a programmer. I think to myself, “Why am I fighting this guy?”. He’s clearly already won because everyone is playing his game instead of using something I’ve created.

Video games were not an escape for me as they are for others. They were a puzzle. Games taught me how to acknowledge a puzzle and they gave me the mindset to tackle it.

My go to game these days is life.

I gamify my life by making decisions based on potential reward. Skipping on going to the gym results in -2 strength and dexterity whereas finishing that book results in +3 intuition and perception. Of course, I don’t break it down exactly like that (into D&D skills) but I do look at the cost and reward of every decision. I attribute this, in part, to games.

In my work too, I try to find subtle ways to gamify an otherwise borrowing or tedious task. Motivation is fleeting and unpredictable while discipline is steadfast and immovable. I try to develop discipline when starting a task the same way I would start a game– with every intention of completing it and doing so to the best of my ability.

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