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4 Ways That Gamification Can Change Your Life

4 Ways That Gamification Can Change Your Life

One commonality that binds us all is our endless pursuit of happiness. What “happy” means to one person surely differs from that of another. There is no single path to being happy and the road to a more fulfilling and joyous life is different for each and every person on the planet.

So what do video games have to do with happiness? Well, the truth is, it is what goes into creating the video games – the methods and techniques that hook users – that can be applied to real-world experiences that can dramatically impact your lifestyle and levels of happiness.

Welcome to the world of lifestyle gamification.

Yu-kai Chou is a gamification expert and the author of Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards. Chou claims that “many students who neglect school and get in trouble all the time aren’t like that because they are dumb or dislike learning – they just don’t see the purpose of learning the subjects that are taught in class.” This very same logic can spread beyond the classroom and has no age limit.

Video games are much more than just stunning visuals and quality voice over work. Psychological traits possessed by all people are taken into account when creating video games. By touching on the eight core drives of gamification, Chou is able to brilliantly explain his theory of Octalysis, an in-depth framework that describes the different motivators humans share that can be influenced by gamification.

By applying gamification techniques and tweaking the approach taken to achieving certain goals and aspirations, people can find the focus that has slipped from their grasp.

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The power of gamification and your diet

Gamification can change the way you eat. By doing so, it can change the way you feel and ultimately, how you live.

Games are addicting for a reason. Games like Angry Birds and Temple Run leave players feeling like they must continue to get to the next level or break their previous high score. This comes at the risk of going to bed later than they had planned or putting off doing homework until the last minute.

Applying similar gamification techniques to your diet can be engaging enough for you to stay on track. Trying to stick to a strict regimen can be a daunting experience if you are looking to lose weight or eat healthily. The Paleo App is a great example of using gaming techniques to train folks to change habits for the better.

How does the Paleo App use gamification with its users? Being able to track your progress is a great start. This is where technology comes in handy. In the past, it would have been seen as strange and even discouraging for you to walk around with a notebook to track the intake of all food and beverage. Now that everyone is constantly buried in their phones, those close by will never suspect that one is cataloging their lunch – a concept that might be embarrassing to those starting off on their quest to weight loss.

Paleo also makes it so users receive rewards for small milestones. This breaks down larger goals into manageable steps that are less overwhelming and way more achievable – especially for those who are starting off and are more vulnerable when it comes to becoming derailed.

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The work life

SAP is a German multinational software corporation that is worth billions. They serve customers in almost every country on the planet and employ over 70,000 employees. While they had already found tremendous success, they were struggling to engage their community.

Laure Cetin, SAP’s community manager, decided to implement some gamification strategies into the SAP Community Network (SCN) to see if boosting participation and engagement would be possible.

Cetin said that by “using gamification and particularly the concept of missions (a series of actions needed to receive a badge and points), we wanted to encourage members to log in regularly, provide feedback, contribute quality content regularly and be recognized as topic experts and influencers.”

Just one short month after applying some of these strategies, community feedback had spike by nearly 100% and the overall action within the company’s social network had risen an astonishing 400%. Cetin’s intuition was right, and SCN grew to the point where it is receiving millions of hits per month.

Gamify your exercise routine

Like maintaining a healthy diet, many people struggle with staying on course when it comes to exercise.

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According to a survey conducted by Nielsen, the most common New Year’s resolution in 2015 was staying fit and healthy. People binge throughout the holiday season knowing that just around the corner comes a clean slate, a fresh new start where they will eat less and exercise more. Sure, the gym might be packed throughout the month of January, but it will clear out quickly as the days go by.

People have a very hard time staying motivated without seeing results quickly. But now there are many apps out there that reward users on their journey to getting in shape.

The Telegraph reported on Zombies, Run – a top-selling fitness game available. By putting runners into the shoes of people escaping Zombies, they feel more connected to their workout and are more likely to run more frequently. Instead of running on a treadmill listening to music, you are dropped into a chaotic, Hollywood-like film that will whip you into shape. When the zombies get close, you have to run like mad – interval training at its finest!

Adrian Hon, the creator of Zombies, Run, told The Telegraph that “a lot of people find exercise to be boring and repetitive, even with music. [Our app] can make running more exciting by putting you into a fictional world where you running really matters – so on a rainy Sunday morning, you’ll still be motivated to get up and run.”

Ability to learn new things

Back in the day, learning something complex like a new language was a formidable task. While learning a new tongue still takes an incredible amount of time, dedication, and perseverance, the process – when married with gamification techniques – can be a lot more fun for the users.

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Duolingo is the perfect example of gamified language learning and is now helping teach new languages to over 100 million people. Not only does Duolingo help make learning a new language fun, but it is helping translate the Web in the process.

According to Yu-kai Chou, the gamification of language learning is more effective with Duolingo because “as students learn a language, they earn skill points when lessons are completed or web content is translated. Lessons associated with a skill are successively completed when a given number of translations are completed. Since web content is inherently more interesting than “made up” sentences, the translation assignments are more engaging.”

Final thoughts

Gamification can be applied to numerous areas, meeting personal needs or addressing problems at the workplace. One thing about gamification that is certain is that it is complex. It is no magical cure-all that can be applied haphazardly and it isn’t something that will make overnight changes. To properly apply the methods and techniques to your own life or your business, it’s best to do as much research as possible and contact an expert that can help you achieve the most from gamification.

With technology that is constantly improving and the rapid growth of the Internet of Things, it is certain that gamification isn’t going anywhere. Learning as much as possible about this new field sooner than later can set you up for a better, more fulfilling life.

Featured photo credit: Gamification e via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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