6 Ways To Transfer the Best Principles of Gaming to Real-Life


There’s no doubt that gaming can be an extremely exciting and engaging pastime; allowing you to explore new worlds, get involved in epic adventure stories, face and overcome obstacles, solve puzzles, and much more.

One of the downsides of games being so engaging, though – and especially when combined with the fact that you can experience all of those highs and lows while sitting comfortably in your favourite chair – is that it can become difficult to motivate yourself to do anything else, let alone the stuff that you may already not be so excited about getting started on (like fixing a leaky tap).

As it turns out, though, a lot of people have already spent a lot of time thinking about how the best principles of gaming can be transferred and applied to real life. That, for example, is the entire basis of the “gamification” movement, which is the reason why virtually every app these days contains “game” elements like milestones, badges, et cetera.

Here are a few tips for transferring the best principles of gaming to real life, so that you can level up IRL.

Create your own “quest” or “mission” log


One of the most reliably persistent and significant features of many games, is the “quest” or “mission” log. although this feature is most fully fleshed out in RPGs, it can be found in some form in almost every genre of game out there, and in a huge proportion of all individual games, too.

There’s something that just feels great about having a clear sense of what you should be doing in the world, and then seeing the items get crossed off your quest log as a confirmation of the fact that you’ve done well.

Of course, the quest logs and mission logs that we have in games were originally adapted from real-world checklists, in the first place. But a simple checklist, scrawled on a scrap of paper, is unlikely to be half as motivating and interesting as the quest logs that exist within games.

In order to transfer this game feature to your real life, get an attractive notebook that you like and that you will be able to enjoy using each day, and then set it up as a “real world” quest log. In doing so, you could use an intuitive and popular system such as Ryder Carroll’s “Bullet Journal Method,” which presents a great structure that you can use to gather and organize all your tasks, projects, thoughts, and ambitions in one place – in a way that’s similar to in-game quest logs.

When you’ve got your life organised in your own real-world quest log, you’ll be amazed by how much more motivated you are to handle even relatively small and everyday tasks. For example, signing up to an honest mobile phone provider, while a small thing in and of itself, will nonetheless be a task that you can cross off and take genuine satisfaction in.

Of course, you could go the extra mile if you want, and customize your quest log in a way that really drives home the feeling of being in a game. You could illustrate it, choose gamified headings and subheadings for the different sections, could assign yourself awards or prizes if you achieve certain objectives, and much more.

Give yourself motivational rewards and incentives for getting things done


Games, in general, do really well when it comes to offering motivational rewards to keep you moving forward, confronting obstacles, and engaging with the general plot or routine of the game itself.

One area where we often fall short in real life, is that we try to bully ourselves to get things done that we are not especially motivated to do. Then, far from rewarding ourselves when we do get things done, we just shrug off the achievement and treat it as more or less irrelevant.

Take a hint from your favorite games, instead, and plan out some motivational rewards and incentives that you will use to encourage yourself to undertake certain tasks in the first place, and that will then heighten and underscore the feelings of accomplishment once you have achieved your objectives.

Of course, the reward should be proportional to what you’ve actually accomplished. So, for example, if you tidy up the house, you probably shouldn’t give yourself a luxury cruise as a reward for that. Instead, you could go out to the movies to celebrate, or something along those lines.

Life, in general, is just more magical, motivating, and exciting, when you’re taking steps to encourage yourself, instead of just constantly trying to force yourself to grind through.

Structure your goals in terms of “moments”


In the book, “The Power of Moments,” by Chip and Dan Heath, the authors show that a huge part of what adds a sense of positive emotion and meaning to the experiences we have in everyday life, is often not so much the totality of our everyday routines themselves but, rather, specific and powerful moments.

When people go to certain hotels, for example, they are willing to overlook mediocre features in a variety of areas, if there is one key area that provides them with a memorable, positive and exciting “moment.”

Often, in everyday life, we fall into pretty repetitive routines and don’t really experience as many of those novel and exciting moments as we might like.

One way to counteract this is by setting goals that focus specifically on moments, and not so much just on pure numerical data.

For example, if you had a goal to run a marathon next year, it would be pretty uninspiring and unmotivational to simply frame that goal as “I will run in next year’s marathon.” But, if you framed it as “next year on date X I will feel the wind in my hair and will smile as I cross the finish line and see my family and friends applauding,” then suddenly everything will become a lot more exciting.

Not only would you have a goal that’s immediately a lot more motivating, but you would also be consciously aiming at certain core “moments” in your life, as a general habit, and pursuing them with intent.

Visualize and reflect on your ideal self, and identify the skills you need to “level up”


One of the great things about many games in the RPG genre, in particular, is that they involve starting with a basic, unskilled, and unknown new character, and developing them into heroic figures.

In fact, it’s likely that a huge amount of the success of these kinds of games is specifically due to the fact that it feels great to experience that kind of direct growth and progress. It doesn’t just feel like a character on the screen is changing its appearance a bit, it really feels like you, the player, are growing and becoming better.

So, why not make a point of actually “leveling up” in real life?


First, spend a while visualizing and reflecting your ideal self. How would things look, and how would you feel, if you were the best possible version of yourself you could imagine becoming?

From there, spend a while identifying the kinds of skills that you’d need to develop in order to “level up.” Then, set yourself some goals and targets corresponding to the different “levels” you have in mind, and get started.

Make a point of regularly getting out of your comfort zone, and doing interesting things


One thing about games, is that they are never boring – or, at least, the good ones aren’t.

A common feature of most games is that they involve exposing you to interesting, new, and dynamic situations and locations, on a regular basis.

In everyday life, we usually miss out on that sense of adventure, often purely because we get entrenched in our comfort zones and allow familiarity to dictate how we live, and what sort of experiences we seek out and engage with.

If you really want to recapture some of the fun and magic of gaming, make a point of regularly getting out of your comfort zone (in ways, of course, that seem positive to you), and try a variety of new and interesting things.

Stay busy; look for ways to be active, rather than just sitting around with your thoughts


Games are always giving you something to do, and they therefore keep you very busy. In real life, by contrast, we often allow ourselves to get preoccupied with our thoughts rather than actually taking action, and so we end up frequently getting lost in rumination, and losing track of the fact that life is something to do, and not just something to think about.

One good way of transferring some of the magic of gaming to your real life, is simply to stay busy, and to always look for ways to be active, rather than allowing yourself to spend too much of your time sitting around in contemplation.

A bit of contemplation can be good, of course. But only the right doses, and in a balanced and controlled way. For the most part, you should be getting out there and making things happen.

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