Olympic Games Inside My Head, or Why the Point System is Perfect for the 5 Minute Perseverance Game

Results for days 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 of the round May 2017 of the 5 Minute Perseverance Game (5MPG): 11, 10, 11, 8, 9, 4, 6 points out of 11 possible for each day.

Results Total for week 2: 59 points out of 77 possible (more than 2/3 and more than in previous weeks of this month).

I mentioned in one of the previous posts on the 5 Minute Perseverance Game that the point system I have used in this game helped me to step over my procrastination when I thought a task was too hard to do.

Giving myself points helped me also to avoid hanging out for too long with other duties because those were so cozy to be with, while the other projects waited for their turn. Only one point per project per day turned out to be a brilliant way to maintain the balance in progressing between preferred and not-so-much-preferred projects.

When I share this approach with others, many tell me that I am tricking my mind. My usual answer is a cheerful yes.

Only in retrospect do I see that the statement about tricking my mind might be considered as an accusation of being dishonest with my brain, being dishonest with myself. That I don’t solve or overcome my procrastination but trick my mind into doing what I want to do.

Contemplating now on this possible argumentation, I would again have to agree with some of these statements.

No, I don’t overcome my procrastination and probably never will. And yes, by playing the 5 Minute Perseverance Game and giving myself daily a point for each step in each project of the game, I do the trick my mind into forgetting or bypassing the fretting thoughts and into fulfilling of what I want and have to do. Moreover, I trick it to do this step-by-step, with less drama around each task and with more fun.

Am I dishonest with myself when I do so? I don’t believe so. The positive results provide arguments for such a “cheating-the-brain-game.” But let us for a moment consider who is who in this game.

What is the difference between me and my brain? Is there any?

Award-winning self-help and personal growth authors Ariel and Shya Kane, have written the following in their acclaimed book “Practical Enlightenment”:

“If you want to be clear about what is a thought and what is ‘you,’ it’s simple. Any sentence that you say to yourself containing the word “I” is a thought:

  • I like / I don’t like
  • I don’t understand
  • I can’t
  • I want
  • I won’t
  • I am

Most people think that they are their thoughts. They believe that the voice they listen to, the voice that speaks to them about how they are doing, about how life is showing up, what they want or don’t want, is really them. They don’t think that they are listening to some disembodied commentary, one that is sometimes accurate and sometimes not.

You are not your voice. You have a voice. And when you can make the distinction between the one who listens and the voice, you get control over the mechanical nature of life.

That means that anything put in words about how I am doing or who I am are thoughts produced by my brain.

Then what about our heart’s desires? What are those visions we long for and which draw our attention, leave us sleepless at night, and eager to achieve those visions in the mornings? Who produces them?

A well-known American brain researcher, Jill Bolte Taylor, who experienced a stroke and shared her experience shortly before, during the stroke and the recovery in her acclaimed book “My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey,” wrote the following intriguing words in this respect,

“Many of us speak about how our head (left hemisphere) is telling us to do one thing while our heart (right hemisphere) is telling us to do the exact opposite. Some of us distinguish between what we think (left hemisphere) and what we feel (right hemisphere).”

And a before that in the same paragraph she wrote,

“It appears that many of us struggle regularly with polar opposite characters holding court inside our heads. In fact, just about everyone I speak with is keenly aware that they have conflicting parts of their personality.”

That means that everything produced inside me, either thoughts or feelings, either they appear in my head or my heart or anywhere else in my body, either creative and uplifting or depressive and dragging, all that is produced by my brain. By different parts of it, but still by the same physical entity of my human body.

So, the same poor “girl”, that is my brain, is doing all the struggling, and wages all the wars in my head.

We all learned at school the story about the ancient Olympic Games and the idea behind them. We’ve heard that all wars and conflicts were stopped for the opponents to step into peaceful competitions in frames of the Olympic games. They got points, scores, and laurels.

So, if the creativity fights a battle with the fear in my head, why not let them put their wars aside and instead organize games. Why not give each of them points as they progress as well as laurels and applauds at the end of each round for whoever won and praise also for the other who gave her best but lost?

Yes, why not? By this, I will show respect to both opponents in my head, the one driving and the one pushing on breaks. I will show them this regard by organizing Olympic games for them. And not only for a short time but continuously and I will vary types of the games to keep them going and having fun, and me along with them. And if a war will erupt between them for any reason again, then I am sure that it will not last long, because these wars are not fun at all, while playing games is.

What is your opinion? Do you thinking giving points ourselves and praising for each step on the way to carry out tasks is cheating or is it a way for boosting motivation and creativity? And if it is cheating, is it so bad to let our brains to be cheated by themselves, since their fearful parts are tricking us into trembling and upsets quite often anyway? Does finding our ways for each moment in our lives need to be serious and hard work or can it be playful? Or is this game designing exercise for oneself a pure waste of time?

On the picture above: Credits: Photograph ©librestock.com under the keyword “Olympic.”

What is this blog series about? You can find this out in its first blog post called “5 Minute Perseverance Game – Moving my Favorite Game to my Writing Blog.”

Copyright © 2017 by Victoria Ichizli-Bartels