GAMIFICATION: the magic trick (and coping mechanism) that turns life into a video game

Hello fearless warriors on the home front! Happy weekend, whatever that is! I have been hearing a lot of people talk about how they are struggling to maintain a routine in the absence of their regular schedule. To help myself adjust, I have been exploring a technique I first heard about years at ago at, of all things, a software conference. (I know, how very Silicon Valley of me.) Gamification, the practice of mentally framing life as if it were a video game, has since played a key role in maintaining my playful approach to life.

I know what you might be thinking: life is not a game! As far as anyone knows, you don’t get multiple lives as the same character. And it’s true, life is a little more serious and immersive and feel-able than a game, don’t you think?

But sometimes life is almost too real, right? Things are getting pretty real right now if you ask literally anyone. Sometimes it’s helpful to have ways to think about life that make it way more fun. Your perception of your reality dictates your experience, and you have much more control over that than you might realize. Having a mental framework in place that is both positively motivated and rewarding can help you find a way to rise to challenges with better morale. Enter gamification – all you have to do is think of life as if it were a video game – the most epic quest of all. The more effort you make to employ this technique, the more easily it will become a fun habit that keeps you inspired.

So where can we draw parallels between video games and daily life? Both include objectives / tasks you must complete – or, as we can now interpret them, epic quests and missions. Completing these tasks successfully is what unlocks achievements and helps you level up. So just for fun, give it a try for a day! If you make a to-do list, have fun with a little embellishment: slay the trash dragon; defeat the dirty dish wizard, navigate the labyrinth of your unread emails. Depending on how long it’s been since you’ve done your laundry, it can be either a side quest or the final boss battle. The fact that it’s kind of ridiculous is kind of the point! You might even make yourself smile while cleaning your whole entire house and as crazy as that may sound, sometimes it’s little things like that that help you get through the day.

I wholeheartedly encourage you to have fun with this! Why not? There is plenty of heaviness in the world; seek lightheartedness when you can. And don’t forget, achievements can unlock rewards, so don’t forget to find creative ways to treat yourself after slaying your daily demons. Your kingdom awaits you!

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