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.
Questing is an essential part of any computer adventure game. In a quest the hero receives a mission from the bland like “fetch 10 tree bark samples” to the extravagant “find your lost son that was taken from your wife while you were in cryo sleep.” The longer quests are the more steps involved. Fetch wood bark is simple – find trees and collect the bark. To find your son in the Wasteland from Fallout 4 you start out with no idea who took your son, where they went, or any clues. You start out surviving and eventually you gather enough information to follow the breadcrumbs of a trail.
When trying to make healthy choices I like to think of new habits not as chores or “work,” but as quests. When you master one quest you get the reward and the ability to take on more challenging quests.
Today I took on the quest of walking. This is a fairly simple quest. But let me take you through the steps:
I chose a time to walk
I chose how long to walk – about 20 minutes
I chose the right sneakers and clothes to wear
I got a partner to walk with me
I decided on a route
We actually took our walk
After the walk I drank some water and rewarded myself with some TV time
Sure, this is a very beginner quest, but without the beginner quests here isn’t the opportunity to take on the more advanced quests – like running a 5k.
Walking is a daily quest. A set of walks is called a weekly quest. Maybe the reward for completing a weekly quest is something greater than TV. A string of weekly quests is an adventure.
“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” -Leonardo da Vinci
Adventure starts when the hero receives a call to action. Today I learned the 10 pound throwdown starts this week and decided to answer the call. If you would like to answer the call too, please click the link below and enter the code 23465 to join Team James. A free WellSpan Health Account is needed to enter.
“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.