Fun keeps you engaged in a difficult activity. Even if you are not good at what your are doing, having fun is important to keep you motivated and not giving into frustration. In the video below a running game was made with impossible controls. Yet the players are laughing their heads off as they watch each other try and fail. Failing was part of the fun. And they kept trying and kept trying and they were getting better as they made failing fun.
Find an activity that is fun. If biking is fun, do that. If you want to surf, well, you probably need to live near a coast. And if you do, and you fall in love with the ocean, surf. You will not be good at first, but have fun. Find what is fun and do that.
In your work towards a better you, remember to involve other people and have fun. Don;t be so serious. The work you do will lead to results. Relax and enjoy the journey.
Every game has a loop. A need is presented, the hero attempts to solve the need, there is a problem or conflict, the hero defeats or solves the problem, and there is a reward.
World of Warcraft was brilliant in creating interesting gaming loops. Some of the loops were short, 1 minute battles, and some of the loops are hour long raids with 20 other people taking on harder and harder boss monsters. There was failure in the loop, but the failure rarely made the player give up completely because the loop was fun, the rewards were great, and the player was given the tools to solve the problem.
When it comes to healthy living the loop is broken. The work is often hard, the time between rewards and effort is weeks or months, and the tools to solve the problem are often mysterious.
I propose the health industry needs a gaming loop. One that motivates “players” to move toward achieving health in a fun, engaging, rewarding, and with obvious steps.
Fortnite, the free battle royal game, has taken over my house. In this game you and 100 other players are dropped onto an island via a party bus air balloon. You forage for building resources and weapons while trying to avoid or eliminate other players. The truth is I am very bad at this game. When there is combat I am nearly always the first one to be killed. The game for me just isn’t that much fun.
But that is not why I play. I play to spend time with my son. He loves the game and can’t stop talking about it. So I join him for a few games. We laugh about how bad I am and how he has to carry me on his back.
When we play together we have more fun than separately. And that is what it is like for making healthy life choices. You might not like it, but doing it together or in a SQUAD can make the changes easier, and even a bit fun.
“In the cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek” ~ Joseph Campbell
Key Events in the Hero’s Journey
Status Quo: This is where we start
Call to Adventure: An invitation to begin
Assistance: Help or advice from someone older or wiser
Departure: The hero goes from normal and safe and enters the adventure
Trials: The hero solves a riddle, slays a monster, or does some heroic deed
Approach: The hero face off against their greatest fear
Crisis: The darkest hour
Treasure: The hero wins and claims the reward
Result: Varies between stories
Return: The hero returns to the ordinary world
New Life: The quest has changed the hero
Resolution: All the plotlines get sorted out
Status Quo: The new normal
We are all on the Hero’s Journey. When it comes to health sometimes the call to adventure is an invitation from a friend, a subtle reminder by your spouse, or a visit to the doctors with some negative test results. To go on the journey you must answer the call.
“If it’s important you’ll find a way. If it’s not, you’ll find an excuse.” ~ Ryan Blair
What keeps you from working out? If you are like me, you have plenty of good reasons why you don’t work out. It’s winter now and I don’t like the cold. So I am not walking or running. Fresh fruits and vegetables cost more. I needed to finish the last episode of Sherlock so I stayed up an extra 45 minutes. People are extremely good at rationalizing the reasons why they continue to use bad habits.
In reality, the reason people live unhealthy lifestyles is because they choose to live that way. Here is an example of someone who could have given up, but didn’t. Last week driving to work in sub-30 degree weather I saw a man in a jogging suit running in the dawn sunlight. At first the person did not register as a jogger because the running style was unorthodox. I realised this man had some sort of condition that impacted either his bones or muscles which caused his arms and legs to move in a jerky motion. He wasn’t moving very fast. He wasn’t moving very smooth.
Yet he was out there. He was running. He was taking care of the body God gave him. He had no excuses. He did not give up and say health was out of his reach. He persevered and struggled and beat down the excuses.
The power of will this man possessed is available to everyone. I might not be an olympic runner, but I can run. If he can do it with his condition I can do it to, and so can you.