Tag Archives: #newbook

Turn Your Daily Practices into Fun Games — Gameful Habits Will Show You How

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What habits can be turned into fun games?

Any project or activity, and any habit representing or comprising it, can be turned into fun games. The best candidates are those you procrastinate about but want to pursue. You can also turn the behaviors you want to avoid or do less often into fun games, by limiting the rewards you give yourself for them and increasing the rewards for activities you procrastinate over.

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To find out more, read Gameful Habits: How to Turn Your Daily Practices into Fun Games (a standalone book and Book 7 in the “Gameful Life” series).

Here is the link to it on Amazon.com, where you can read the description and read the free sample:

And here is the link to the book’s page on my website, where you can find links to the book on other online stores as well:

See you on the book’s pages.

Celebrating Gameful Blogging on Medium.com

3D image and cover design by Alice Jago

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This week I am celebrating the launch of my new book Gameful Blogging on Medium.com.

One article that served as the last chapter in the book was celebratory as well. It was article number 200 I published on Medium since starting writing and publishing there on April 30, 2020.

You can read it here (it is a free link, meaning that you don’t have to be a Medium subscriber to be able to read it):

To read the book as the whole in a polished and revised shape, as well as to get access to all the original articles on which the book is based, check out on Amazon under Gameful Blogging on Medium.com: Thirteen Levels in the Epic Adventure of a Top Writer and Super Creator on Medium.

If you want to see where else you can find and buy it, check out this page here.

One Minute Read from the 5-Year Edition of the 5 Minute Perseverance Game

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Today, I have a special addition to a series of blog posts featuring videos on YouTube, where I read from one of my motivational books for one minute.

My little book, 5 Minute Perseverance Game: Play Daily for a Month and Become the Ultimate Procrastination Breaker, will be soon five years old. Many things have happened since then. Without expecting that, turning life into fun games became a part of my career as a writer, coach, and consultant. To celebrate this occasion, I published a second edition of the book.

In this short video, I am reading the preface of the 5-Year Edition of the 5 Minute Perseverance Game. As with anything else in my life, I turned the reading into a fun little game, a 1 Minute Perseverance Game. 😀 I hope it is as much fun for you to watch as it was for me to make and play it.

Here is the excerpt I am reading in the video if you want to read along, prior, or afterward.

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Excerpt from the 2nd Edition of 5 Minute Perseverance Game

Welcome to the 5-year Edition of the 5 Minute Perseverance Game!

I can’t believe it’s been five years since I wrote and published this little book. It has been quite the adventure. Shortly after publishing, I began telling my friends about it, one of whom told me she had learned about the approach at its core at university. She called this technology “gamification.”

I thought — or maybe even asked out loud — “Gami-what?”

As soon as I got home, I researched the term online and was blown away by how much there was on gamification and the number of people applying game elements to “real-life contexts.”

Parallel with that, I discovered kaizen and started reading all I could on the subject. Step by step, I began to understand the three approaches or skill sets that formed the basis of the 5 Minute Perseverance Game: being present and studying ourselves as anthropologists do (Credits: Ariel and Shya Kane); breaking everything down into the smallest, most effortless bits possible (kaizen); and approaching everything with a gameful and playful attitude (gamification).

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Where to buy the book

To take a look at the new 5 Minute Perseverance Game and buy it on Amazon, click on its title or image above.

If you want to see where else you can buy it, then go to the book’s page on this website here.

Alternatively, you can subscribe to my page, Optimist Writer, on ko-fi for $5 a month, and besides supporting what I do, you will also get access to all my motivational books, which I share there once a month or each time a book is out. Right now, you can get access to five of my books there — one upon subscription or one-time support and four in the posts solely for subscribers. The first edition of the 5 Minute Perseverance Game is already available, and I will add the new edition within the next couple of days.

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Have a beautiful and gameful day! 😀

Where should we turn something into games?

Here is another excerpt from my latest book The Who, What, When, Where, Why & How of Turning Life into Fun Games, which is a short and reworked version of the Self-Gamification Happiness Formula.  It addresses the place where the self-gamification, in other words, turning our projects, activities, and also our lives, into fun games, occurs.

1. Where should you turn things into games?

Is there a space where the turning of something into games is most appropriate or works best?

Yes. In fact, there is only one possible space for it to happen. Here goes.
The only place to turn anything into a fun game is where you are. I.e., when we are working or doing anything else, we are playing that project or activity game. And the game takes place where the player is. It is where each of us is.

This also means that turning the work of others in a project into a game can only be done where they are, and by them. You can’t do it for them.
So don’t judge others; they are their perfect designers and players too.
Sometimes, when we have success in our life, we might be tempted to judge others who complain about theirs. But remember that you can’t design their games, because your “shoes” won’t necessarily fit them. Only they can develop their own Self-Motivational Games, and create their own experiences.

And also remember that when you judge others, you are complaining too. (I had to chuckle when I observed myself complaining about other people’s as well as my own complaints, for the first time.) And when you are complaining, you aren’t playing your games. So instead of analyzing what others do or don’t do while turning (or not turning) their projects and lives into games, concentrate on playing your games and having fun with them. This is the best way to share Self-Gamification.

2. Where is the starting point?

While working on Self-Gamification Happiness Formula, I found the following brilliant quote:

“Every moment is a fresh new beginning, a wonderful inauguration of the great cosmic journey through the universe. We can do whatever we want. We can change reality at any moment.” — Russell Brand

We might not perceive many of the moments in our lives as such fantastic beginnings, and discard them as not good enough, but they still make up part of our lives. Let’s consider examples of chains made out of moments related to what we are up to, and how our paths turn out.

If we map the initial state of our lists and thought processes, then the path might look like this:

Us —> Our to-do list item —> Our goal or dream

Being aware of the magic of a small, effortless step (see the later chapter, “How?”), we recognize that the following path is more pleasant and more doable:

Us —> The smallest effortless step —> … —> Our to-do list item —> … —> Our goal or dream

Where “…” corresponds to the other smallest, most effortless steps.
I am a passionate writer. So for me, it is straightforward to illustrate these diagrams with what I do almost every day. Thus for a writer, the previous chart will look as follows:

The writer (at her computer) —> Write a paragraph —> … —> Write a book —> … —> Become a published author

But here a question arises: will the next step for a writer always be to write a paragraph, when the starting point might be something else, like taking a shower? Many writers have brilliant ideas while taking a shower. So what is the choice? Despair?

No, rather a recognition that the next step is something else that will also contribute to your goal. So if you take a shower, then the next step would be to finish the shower.

The end of the shower will be your new starting point. There you have the option of either continuing your morning routine or taking a small detour to your desk to make notes on your brilliant idea.

You could also play a Role-Playing Game [1] with yourself and ask yourself, as you would a best friend, to remind you later about this brilliant idea. But assure yourself as you would your best friend, that it won’t be a problem if he or she (that is yourself) forgets it.

Yes, I again suggest that you be aware, progress in small steps and treat whatever you do as a game.

But here is another diagram that is trickier than having the shower as the starting point:

You (upset, wherever you are) —> (The next step; not identified yet) —> … —> Your to-do list item —> … —> Your goal or dream

When we are upset, then the to-do list items and even the smallest steps might seem further away than they do in other moments.

But what does being upset mean, anyway? Oxford Dictionaries say that we are upset [2] when we are “unhappy, disappointed, or worried.”

What could be the reasons for those feelings? Or is there perhaps one source for them? Here is what Dr. Robert Maurer [3], Director of Behavioral Sciences for the Family Practice Residency Program at Santa Monica, UCLA Medical Center and a faculty member at the UCLA School of Medicine, says on that:

“Do all upsets come from fear? We don’t know for sure. However, based on the research, I suggest that this is the most useful way of looking at them.” — Robert Maurer, Mastering Fear

It’s a great hint to look at our fears when we’re upset. However it is a scary task in itself. What to do then?

Here is what Ariel and Shya Kane say about it:

“It is often challenging to look at how you think and act because it might be embarrassing to see the real truth. But what if you were to take an anthropological approach to how you relate rather than a subjective, judgmental one? If you were a scientist, looking to see how the inner workings of a culture was put together, you would notate what you see — not judge it. If you bring an active interest, an observational approach to how you have been programmed, then you can ‘debug’ your own personal computer.

“Think of yourself as a highly sophisticated computer with archaic programming. Simple awareness acts like a complimentary upgrade.” — Ariel and Shya Kane, How to Have A Match Made in Heaven

Yes, non-judgmental seeing allows us to become both honest and kind with ourselves.

The path we take while making progress can be immensely intriguing, and if we drop our judgments and expectations, we can discover many surprises along the way.

Let me remind you here of the gift that anthropology, kaizen, and gamification bring together. Being upset is not wrong.

Upset and other “’stress symptoms’ … are not signs of disease. They are our body’s gift to us to let us know something important is happening that requires our immediate attention. Without these symptoms we would have perished as a species long ago.” — Robert Maurer, Mastering Fear

We often fail to appreciate these gifts because they don’t fit our preferences for the moments in our lives. It is up to us to decide which moments we extend and which we keep short. Let’s remember that each moment is a starting point.

So the next two steps, when your starting point is an upset, could be:

You (Upset) —> Stop —> Take a non-judgmental look at where you are and your fears —> …

In the next moment after you’ve had a good look at where you are and the fears you are resisting, will be whatever you choose to do next in your game.

3. What if the next step leads us somewhere we didn’t plan to go?

Here is another analogy to reflect the fear we might have of the next step, however small it might be. When you stop and look, you might have the feeling that you are at a crossroads. It is great to have a choice, but what happens if we take the “wrong” road, leading us away from where we were actually heading?

Even if we break down the path to our goals into the smallest of steps, we might shy away from those small steps and do something else entirely.

Or life might get in the way and require us to do something else.
Is that bad?

No, because you have the possibility to get back to where you were heading. Awareness can help you see that each moment is a crossroads. As soon as you detect a stop, take a look and choose the next step.

Sometimes detouring can help you make the best turn on your way to your goals.

Here is what happened as I was working on finalizing this part of the book in Self-Gamification Happiness Formula:

I had a doctor’s appointment for both of my children, who had experienced cough and asthma symptoms for quite a while. We went to test them for allergies, among other checks. The prick test revealed that my son was allergic to house dust mites. That called for action. So instead of continuing work on this book for the whole afternoon, as I had originally planned, I spent the time cleaning my son’s room meticulously by washing his bed linen, reducing the number of plentiful dust catchers (such as many tens of comic magazines), hunting around the house for plastic boxes that could close hermetically, and putting most of his toys in these boxes. Later I learned that all the dust catchers were not the reason for his allergy, but I am still glad I did all that. Whatever it was that ultimately helped with his dust-mite-allergy and asthma, my son hardly coughs these days. And that is what matters.

Awareness and saying “Yes” to what was requested, along with the experience of playfulness when turning my life into games, and kaizen, helped me to make progress and appreciate each of the small things I cleaned. I noticed how much better the air in my son’s room became when I removed old play carpets. All that brought a feeling of satisfaction that overpowered my sense of guilt for not having done it sooner.

I did write a little in these chapters, but only during two ten-minute breaks. These breaks felt like both a reward and progress.

But what surprised me most was what happened the next day, as I was taking my morning shower. I realized how I wanted to structure this part of the book in Self-Gamification Happiness Formula. Before that, I had various topics mixed up and hadn’t felt entirely comfortable with it, despite being unable to put my finger on exactly what it was that bothered me.

So the break I took from writing, also in my thoughts, whilst being preoccupied with the ambition to make my son’s room as safe for him to sleep in as possible, helped me achieve the state of mind needed to find the best solution for this part of the book.

Hence, the seeming “curse” of an easy or necessary step that can lead us away from our goals, can actually become the blessing that leads us more quickly or more directly, to what we want, and beyond.

Thus even your escape-to tasks can become the necessary step toward your goals. I continually discover great quotes and thoughts that I add to various chapters of this book (Self-Gamification Happiness Formula) while reading the multiple books I enjoy both for leisure and to learn something new. And even when I surf social media at random.

Being an interested and curious scientist is the most brilliant state of mind. The multi-dimensionality of our behavior and thought processes never ceases to amaze me. It’s so much fun to look at them non-judgmentally and become aware of the possibilities we have if we stop fighting and fleeing.

After recognizing where we are, where we want to head, whether we are escaping something toward that goal, what that is, and what activities we escape to, without judging all that, we can identify and take the next step that will move us toward our goals.

Awareness and kaizen will help us see that the next step toward our goals and dream is not far away, but exactly where we are right now.

And that in most cases, there is nothing else we need to make that step, than what we already have.

To get your copy on Amazon,
click on the picture below

For other retailers, go to the book’s page
on this site here.

 

Definitions and References:

[1] Role-Playing Game: “A role-playing game (sometimes spelled roleplaying game; abbreviated RPG) is a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting, or through a process of structured decision-making regarding character development. Actions taken within many games succeed or fail according to a formal system of rules and guidelines.” — en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Role-playing_game

[2] https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/upset

[3] http://www.scienceofexcellence.com/

Who is responsible for turning projects, activities, and whole lives into games?

My new little book The Who, What, When, Where, Why & How of Turning Life into Fun Games, which is a short and reworked version of the Self-Gamification Happiness Formula raised interest on social media as well as discussions on what could that mean to turn one’s life into games. One of those who commented said that it sounds like a “culture changer.” It might. Surely, when I wrote the books on Self-Gamification, I hoped that many would profit from the approach I developed unknowingly for myself and later was asked to explain to and share with others. But in fact, these books, including the latest one, addressed just one person. The reader, who read the copy he or she held in their hands at any given moment. Here is one of the excerpts of the book, which explains what that means (a spoiler alert: the chapter “Where?” extends on this topic).

Who?

Who is responsible for turning projects, activities, and whole lives into games?

The simplest answer is, “You.”

No one else can turn the things in your life into games that you will find fun. You are both the designer and player of your Self-Motivational Games.

But let’s see who you might be, and why I believe that the approach summarized in this book is for you.

1. Who is it for?

This book, and the Self-Gamification approach introduced in it, is for anyone who wants to bring fun and joy into various projects and activities they take on, and if they wish so, to all aspects of their lives.
Since I am a non-gamer, I initially had all my fellow non-gamers in mind, or those who play games very occasionally and prefer spending their free time doing activities other than games, but who, like me, want to enjoy life regardless of how it turns out. This approach will help non-gamers lose the suspicion and fear they might hold against games, as I did in the past (especially for video games), and find a natural starting point for turning their lives into fun games without having to delve into gamification design or psychological research.

But if you are a gamer (that is someone who spends many hours playing various games, often video and online games, in your free time) then this method is also for you. It will show you that experiencing fun doesn’t have to stop with switching off your video game. You will learn that you can take your favorite games and apply their elements to every-day life and become the super-hero yourself.

If you have already tried to consciously turn some activities into games and wonder how you can extend gamification principles to other or every area of your life, then this approach will help with that too.
Gamification designers can also profit by discovering techniques and skill sets to enable the users of their frameworks to obtain maximum benefit from their products.

A few words about age. The approach in this book is applicable to both children and adults. I had adults, including young adults, in mind when I wrote this book, but I would like to urge you to share the possibility of turning your life into fun games with your children or your younger siblings and friends. This will enrich the experiences of the whole family or community.

2. Who is it not for?

Either Self-Gamification Happiness Formula or this book is not for someone who:

  • Is looking for the results of scientific studies on gamification,
  • Wishes to study the psychotherapeutic effects of gamification,
  • Wishes to learn advanced game or gamification design techniques, or
  • Seeks a scientific book on self-therapy, self-counseling, or self-help therapy.

Nor is it for those who:

  • Want to escape everyday challenges,
  • Want to give up their current jobs, companies, or relationships,
  • Seek a quick-fix, one-time happiness “pill” to solve all their problems,
  • Think that hard work and being serious are essential and that having fun is a flaw, or
  • Despise games and believe there is nothing worth learning from them.

Speaking of despising games and their primary goal of bringing fun and making us happy, do you perhaps think all this gamification “stuff” is nonsense and that life is not a matter of enjoyment? That life is a torment, through which we must fight until the end? That life is unfair?
Then this approach is not for you.

But since you’ve read this far, perhaps you are looking for a way to change your mindset from serious and hard, to light and joyful.
In that case I invite you to continue reading.

But here are four more disclaimers for the Self-Gamification approach and the books addressing it:

First of all, it doesn’t promote the development of games that place their participants in scary or uncomfortable situations, like experiences shown on “Candid camera” or the like. I won’t be advising you to go bungee jumping, if that is not already your dream or wish. Most of the self-motivational and uplifting game examples discussed in this book are about making everyday activities and projects (i.e. those we have already committed to doing or want to address, and which we already have on our to-do or wish lists) fun, enjoyable, and achievable.

Second, although I mention some of my Self-Motivational Game designs here and describe them in detail in Self-Gamification Happiness Formula, I am not suggesting that you use them. You are free to do so. But my main message is that you are the designer of your own games. No one but you lives — and that is designs and plays — your life. So, ultimately, even if you try out some of the elements of my game plans, you will still put your own stamp on them as they become an integral part of your daily, monthly, and so on, games.

Third, this, or any other book on Self-Gamification, is not the description of an app. There is no Self-Gamification app, and I hope there never will be. After all, there could be many. And the same person would require countless versions, since we humans need a frequent change in occupation to feel alive.

Fourth, this book and the Self-Gamification approach do not show the way to eternal bliss. I can guarantee that after reading this book or Self-Gamification Happiness Formula, you will still experience discomfort and be upset and desperate from time to time. But you will feel more in control and have the tools at your disposal to make those periods of distress shorter. You will also learn how to shift your focus from complaints to creativity, and be able to bring yourself back into the flow without too much effort. And most importantly, you will learn to be both honest and kind to yourself.

To get your copy on Amazon,
click on the picture below

For other retailers, go to the book’s page
on this site here.