As I was working on my summer reading list and making my way through Citizenville, the author discussed the idea of making government more fun by turning civic duty into some sort of game. The city of Manor, Texas did it by awarding residents a fake currency for submitting an idea on how to fix the idea. If your idea is chosen to be implemented, you got even more of this fake currency, called innobucks. These innobucks could then be redeemed for real life goods, such as being mayor for a day or free appetizers at a local eatery. I'd do more for St. Louis if it meant more Ted Drewes and Kaldi's coffee.
Anyway, while reading about this great stuff, the author mentioned the name Jane McGonigal, who had started this really awesome website/online game called SuperBetter. I remembered her from a TED talk I watched a few years ago (it's below if you want to watch it), and I didn't realize that she had started this gaming website "designed to help you build personal resistance." I had to see what it was all about and give it a whirl.
I Haven't Even Started Yet and It's Amazing
SuperBetter is SO FREAKIN' COOL. Once you sign up (which is free), it starts you off with four different exercises about the four different types of resilience: physical, mental, emotional, and social. The exercises are incredibly easy, ranging from taking three steps to looking out a window for a few moments, from thanking someone on social media to snapping your fingers 50 times. Each exercise comes with a short one-minute video about that resilience and some of the science. After you do these four things, called quests, you then move on to choosing your secret identity, choosing your challenge, and choosing a power pack to overcome your challenge (you can even create your own power pack if you want). My business coach should totally incorporate this into her coaching.
I went through this, and chose eating healthier as my challenge. I went vegan after Thanksgiving, and after a few months of keeping that up, it's slipped away. I'm no longer vegan. I'm not even vegetarian. Since I have two things on my life goals list about eating healthier (one is to avoid eating out for an entire month, and another is to be vegan for one year), I decided that this would be a perfect place to start. I've been thinking about eating healthier ever since my diet slipped, but haven't made any movement in the right direction. Now, with the help of power ups, allies, and fighting bad guys, I'm hopeful and excited to have concrete steps to move in the right direction.
I do have to admit, I LOVE the branding. The more colors something has, the better it must be. The rainbow is just phenomenal.
I Will Start Today/Tomorrow
I have downloaded my Power Pack, the Full Plate Diet, and I will start my first quest today/tomorrow. I already know that what I need to do is watch a video, sign up for a free membership, and subscribe to a newsletter. Sounds easy enough! But, of course, when you are just starting, the first step is always the easiest. It's the next 972 steps that are difficult.
In the meantime, if you want to know a little more about this concept of gamification, and whether it really works, then here it from the founder herself. Part of the reason why this TED talk is so cool is that she's a female gamer who's using games to help others better the lives of others as well as their own lives.
OMG bonus talk! I didn't realize that she had TWO TED talks! I just watched the one above for the first time as I was putting this post together, when she referenced her first talk in this second talk. I was really trying to find and to share the one below, which is her first talk. Anyway, they are both long, but both incredibly compelling. After all, she is essentially encouraging us to play more games and to turn more of life into a game. Rock on, right?