Tag Archives: #selfhelp

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/

Gameful Project Management Versus Project Management Gamification

Reading time: 5 minutes

When I first embarked on the adventure with Gameful Project Management, I couldn’t find many resources on approaching project management gamefully. I was searching for the following combination of words “gameful project management.” (See “Gameful Project Management: A New Blog Series Now, and Later More”.)

A bit later, still not believing there was nothing on it when there were so many gamified software solutions for project management out there, I searched for the combination of words “project management gamification.” And sure enough, there were many articles, at least one master thesis, and various books addressing the topic of project management and gamification one way or another.

I started reading eagerly, determined to learn from, and quote as many of the sources as possible.

But the more I read, the more I felt I was moving in the “wrong” direction. A quote by the award-winning authors Ariel and Shya Kane, whom I mentioned in the post “GPM and the Synergy of Three,” came to mind. They once said, “We have come to realize if we are not having fun, we are moving in the wrong direction.”

So I wondered, why reading about gamification and project management didn’t seem exciting and fun for me, even if I was very interested in the topic? Was I maybe mistaken thinking that Gameful Project Management and project management gamification were the same thing?

As I continued to read and learn, trying to approach the learning process anthropologically, in other words, non-judgmentally, I came across a gamification definition that gave me a key to my puzzle.
Here is this definition:

Gamification “is simply applying the techniques used in games in non-gaming contexts, in order to increase the involvement in the activities.”*

The addition in for of the words “in order to increase the involvement in the activities” to the classical definition of gamification** opened my eyes to the difference between gamification and a gameful approach to project management.

Here it is. Gamification has as its purpose of using game elements to improve one or more parameters in an organizational unit, wherever or whatever it might be.

However, the wish to change or manipulate something into changing, like to improve something, would be an impediment to turning your projects and project management into fun for you and all involved games. Because you won’t be simply playing a game. You will be too “stressed out” trying to achieve your goal. No game elements will make such an activity fun. (We addressed improvement in “GPM: Achieving Improvement Without Forcing It”).

When you choose to play a “traditional” game (those you want to play to have fun), you rarely try to improve your current situation or reach a certain outcome in any of your projects or your life.
You just play the game and enjoy it.

It is true that by choosing to play a fun game, you might be looking for improving your mood, but not in order to manipulate the status of your projects (or your life) in any way.

And as soon as you play the game, or start learning its description, your attention will shift from wanting to improve your mood to the goal and the rules of the game in front of you.

Thus, Gameful Project Management is the same as the gamification process of project management. It is not about distracting you from work either, although once in a while, having a healthy break could be beneficial.

It is about cultivating an ability to see what you do in your project and project management as a fun game (we will address this later in more detail). You both design AND play this game. So, Gameful Project Management is about giving you tools for supporting yourself in your work and bringing fun factor into your projects without trying to manipulate its outcome.

I am wondering whether this approach might be the solution for the current challenges the gamification solution designers face when they try to sell their products and services to their customers. Their customers and in some cases, the solution designers themselves too, don’t see their work and their projects as games. But this ability can help us all put the drama we tend to create about projects aside and instead find inspiration in games and bring their lightness, fun, and joy factors in whatever we do.

I know from experience that it is possible and easily achievable.

Here is how. Both providers of gamified solutions and customers, need to study themselves and each other, as well as their interactions anthropologically, that is non-judgmentally and with utter interest. And along with that, play games of designing and playing their project (and project management) games while using (and considering) the gamified solutions like exciting game gadgets and feedback systems, which they are.

P.S. Gameful Project Management doesn’t result in Serious Games either. I will address this topic in the next post.

References:

* https://twproject.com/blog/project-management-gamification-using-games-project-management/

** Gamification is “the use of game design elements in non-game contexts” — Deterding, S., Dixon, D., Khaled, R., & Nacke, L. (2011). From game design elements to gamefulness: defining gamification. In Proceedings of the 15th international academic MindTrek conference: Envisioning future media environments (pp. 9-15). ACM.

If you want to learn more:

Sign up to Optimist Writer’s Blog to follow the Gameful Project Management series.

Check out my coaching and consulting services to work directly with me.

Take a look into my book Self-Gamification Happiness Formula.

Go to this link for the list of all the resources I offer on Self-Gamification.

Gameful Project Management and Its Focus on Success instead of Failures

Reading time: 6 minutes

As I learn more and more about project management, I am struck how seriously most of the sources sound, especially in their introductions. Most of them display statistics of failures and analyze why projects fail.
After turning many projects and activities — including the project management — into games for several years now, I’ve come to adopt gameful thinking more and more.

This kind of thinking lets you put the drama, the seriousness about what you have to do aside, and instead concentrate on excellence and success.

For example, if in a video game, you have a “hard” time managing a level, you do one of the following. You ask a fellow gamer to show you how she or he managed that level. Or you look up a video of that game and level online and watch what others do to finish it.

Then you have an epiphany, “Ah, you (he/she) went to the right side of that pit, and I was going all the time to the left! That is why that monster ate me, and you (he/she) finished this level!”

In real-life projects, when something doesn’t work, we search for the reasons (persons or circumstances) we think are guilty of what we believe happened. And we contemplate all that before we even think of asking others who succeed in similar situations.

In games (including sports) learning through techniques is very similar to cultural relativism practiced in modern anthropology, which I addressed in the post “GPM: Achieving Improvement Without Forcing It.”

In sports where you (or your team) perform at the same time as your competitors, such as football, soccer, volleyball, basketball, tennis, badminton, and other such a technique is simply achieved, especially if you record the game. That is because you can watch the recording and observe what the other team did to win the ball from you at any particular moment and how it differs from what you did

To achieve this in real-life projects might seem more challenging because you might perceive yourself (or your team) being alone with your task. That is because what others do in a similar situation might not be immediately visible or “recordable.”

Here is why a gameful approach to what you do is so helpful.
If you come to a habit of considering it as if it was a game, for example, a video game, of which you are both the designer and player, then you won’t be stuck in the complaint and despair for long.

Instead, you will think something similar to this, “I wonder what others do in such a situation (level) of my project (game)?”
Game designers often tap into anthropological (= non-judgmentally comparative) techniques, as well as positive psychology, which concentrates on studying success.

Many of the books on game design study success stories. They rarely start with failures. I think that is because they didn’t consider the discarded game designs as failures but simply as steps on the path to the successful ones.

However, many of the project management and business resources and even popular social events, such as “F*ck-Up Nights”* start or focus on illustrating failures and their analysis.

The idea behind these is surely very well-meant. The authors and organizers of these try to help those having hard times to see that they are not alone and also to try to show the possibility of how to get out of a problematic “failed” situation.

However, I can’t escape the feeling that the illustration of and emphasis on failures or what we perceive as failure is as effective or as meaningful as to analyze in the previous video game scenario the reasons why you kept going to the left side of that pit until now instead of choosing to go to the right.

Making a choice is as mysterious a process as that of inspiration**. Every one of our choices can be supported by countless reasons, and it can also be supported by countless reasons why we shouldn’t have made it, even if we might not see many or any of these pro- and contra- reasons from the first sight.

Trying to hunt these down and prove them being right or wrong is not helpful in any way. You wouldn’t try that in a game, or at least not for long. So why do we keep doing it in real life?

Do we do it because proving our point of view to be right is a fun and rewarding process? I’m not so sure. Is it because we fear to be either criticized or supported and then discredited afterward for what we do? That is more like it.

But there are also real-life examples showing that studying success instead of failures can not only be empowering but life-saving too.
One of the self-gamification components is kaizen, the philosophy and technique of breaking any challenge, any path to goals into tiny, easily doable and digestible bits.

My favorite writer on the topic of kaizen is Dr. Robert Maurer, 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***. One of the reasons why I enjoy reading his books is his interest in studying success. The title of his website says it all. He called it the “Science of Excellence.”***

In his acclaimed book Mastering Fear: Harnessing Emotion to Achieve Excellence in Work, Health and Relationships, Robert Maurer shared a story a book that inspired him to devote his career to the psychology of success. In that, he learned about how such deadly diseases such as smallpox, malaria, and yellow fever were cured.

He wrote, “Prior to my visit to the library that day, I had assumed, as perhaps you do, that the way we remedy disease is by studying people who are ill and, from there, brilliant researchers in top-notch laboratories develop the miracle drugs needed for a cure. This is not, however, how the majority of these horrible maladies were tamed.”
He further reveals that the clue that helped save many lives was not in studying those who were ill, but in “studying those who have stayed healthy in the presence of grave illness and discovering what was different about them.”

This discovery inspired Robert Maurer “to believe that more significant breakthroughs could be made not by observing those courageously struggling, but by looking at those who were succeeding and discovering what they were doing differently.” — Robert Maurer, Mastering Fear: Harnessing Emotion to Achieve Excellence in Work, Health and Relationships

And since then he could find many confirmations on that.

Gameful Project Management embracing anthropology, kaizen and gamification (see post 2) will help you stop struggling, and instead cultivate gameful thinking and anthropological studying as well as applying of success for yourself, those around you, be it at work or at home, and regardless the project you take on.

References:

* https://fuckupnights.com/

** “Inspiration is a feeling of enthusiasm you get from someone or something, which gives you new and creative ideas.” — https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/inspiration

*** http://www.scienceofexcellence.com/

If you want to learn more:

Sign up to Optimist Writer’s Blog to follow the Gameful Project Management series.

Check out my coaching and consulting services to work directly with me.

Take a look into my book Self-Gamification Happiness Formula.

Go to this link for the list of all the resources I offer on Self-Gamification.

Gameful Project Management: Qualifications

Reading time: 5 minutes

When we teach something, we often contemplate and report about our experience with the subject at hand.

I might be the first person to use and define the terms “Gameful Project Management,” “Self-Gamification,” and “Self-Motivational Games.” But this is not the sole reason why I think I am qualified to talk about turning project management (or anything else) into fun games.
Let’s consider my experience with game-related topics and project management, one after another.

Why am I qualified to teach turning anything into games?

My “serious” interest to games, game design, and gamification started only a couple of years ago.

The first time I turned anything consciously into a game was only five years ago. It was before I heard the word gamification, and before I started reading books on game design and game thinking.

I am a non-gamer without any qualifications in software, game, or gamification design, nor in psychology. I may well be the first person of this kind to explore gamification and apply it to herself. And to teach it.
My lack of a game-design background is, in fact, an advantage. Because if I can turn my life into fun games without having studied gamification or psychology in detail, then so can you.

I believe my primary qualification for explaining and teaching Gameful Project Management and Self-Gamification is the enormous fun I have had turning my life into games; experiencing happiness multiple times every day while doing so; and never wishing to stop designing and playing my self-motivational and uplifting games.

My experience with project and team management

My first experience with project and team management goes much further back to my school years in the former Moldovan Soviet Socialistic Republic. It started with managing sewing projects for girls younger than me and help them sew various things for their dolls. I organized our meetings, made sure I had some extra material and tools with me. And I taught them how to do it. My skills were quite elementary, so I often needed a “consultant.” And my mom took this role happily on.

I was also the head of Oktiabrionok, Young Pioneer, and Komsomol* groups first in my class, and later in the whole school, I was attending.
I don’t remember leading any teams during my university years, but there were many projects to take care of both at home (helping my mom and my sister, after my father’s death) and for my studies.
After several years of work as a researcher at the Institute of High-Frequency Electronics of the Technical University Darmstadt, I was appointed as the coordinator of our laboratory and its clean-room. Since then I lead small and large teams, both within a single organization and a global working group of an international community (the latter for almost twelve years).

The projects I managed or helped managing varied from small, through medium, to large, both for the private sector, but also for such organizations as ESA, NATO, and German and other Defence organizations.

Today I manage various projects at home and for my business. The teams for these projects involve my family and entrepreneurs who help me with my book and online course projects and also help me with navigating marketing and publicity world.

Even if I had such a colorful and long-range of experience with project and team management, I am still an unofficial project manager**, meaning that I never had formal training in project management.
The closest (but still quite remote) that came to such a formal training was summer came with training courses for schoolchildren who volunteered as heads of their Komsomol* school committees in Moldova during Soviet times. It was fun to recall those times. I must say that among others, I learned many soft-skills there that still make sense and are also taught today all over the world.

Apart from that, I participated in training courses on disciplines and tools that had to do with the project and organizational management. Examples are SAP*** and S1000D****.

I also taught numerous S1000D training courses, including the topic of Business Rules, which are the knowledge base of all decisions (many hundreds of them) on how to implement this international specification for technical publications.

I also lead various teams as well as the Business Rules Working Group (BRWG) of the S1000D community (the latter, as mentioned for almost twelve years). I am still a member of this group. BRWG is responsible for developing concepts for S1000D implementation and S1000D project management.

Required by the art of my work, I also studied various technical standards, such as ISO***** necessary for establishing quality assurance processes in a semiconductor device production environment, as well as the development of software documentation.
Now, as I write a book that deals with project management, I reach out to my currently favorite teachers — books (and sometimes articles) — to learn more about this multi-dimensional discipline.

I did read books on project and time management in the past. But now, after having been turning my life into fun games for several years, I have become aware of something in the most of the resources on project management, of which I haven’t been aware before.

I will share with you what that is in the following blog post (“Gameful Project Management and Its Focus on Success instead of Failures”).

References:

*

** “If most of your work time is spent on projects and you’ve never been exposed to formal project management training, you are an unofficial project manager.” — Kory Kogon, Suzette Blakemore, James Wood, Project Management for the Unofficial Project Manager

*** SAP: www.sap.com

**** S1000D: www.s1000d.org

***** ISO: www.iso.org

If you want to learn more:

Sign up to Optimist Writer’s Blog to follow the Gameful Project Management series.

Check out my coaching and consulting services to work directly with me.

Take a look into my book Self-Gamification Happiness Formula.

Go to this link for the list of all resources I offer on Self-Gamification.

GPM: Achieving Improvement Without Forcing It

Reading time: 4 minutes
Abbreviation: GPM = Gameful Project Management

Recently when I shared my project on Gameful Project Management and its non-judgmental core, the person I told about it asked me what I thought about change management. After a few minutes more into the conversation, I understood that with “change,” she meant improvement. So what she asked about was how to adjust project management to achieve improvement.

Why is the word “improvement” tricky?

I hear the question about improving what we do or even ourselves a lot recently. Even kaizen, which is one of the techniques I practice every day, and which is part of the Self-Gamification approach, translates as “continuous improvement.”

However, this expression can be understood as if improvement was a goal of kaizen. But I experienced that it should not be a goal. If it is a goal, then I label the way I am now — or the status of my projects — as not good enough. However, labeling something as bad or not good enough is not only stressful and confusing, but it is also counter-productive and not meaningful.

What is the best way to improve something?

As it turns out, the best way we can improve anything, including ourselves, is to stop trying to improve it.

That is what Gameful Project Management can do for you. It enables you to achieve improvement without forcing it.

When you approach each of your projects, as well as the project management project itself, as if they were fun games — of which you are both the designer and the player — then each moment of your work (and your life) will feel like the best you had so far. And then, the next will be even better. Improvement will become an effortlessly reachable by-product; not a forced and hardly reachable goal.

The anthropological foundation of the Gameful Project Management

As we discussed in the previous blog post, Gameful Project Management is based on Self-Gamification approach, which relies on the synergy of anthropology (= awareness and non-judgmental seeing), kaizen (= breaking everything into small, digestible, and doable bits), and gamification (= bringing fun game elements into what we do).
And the foundation of it all is anthropological, that is non-judgmental seeing of any of your projects and the status in them.

Today, anthropologists apply an approach they call “cultural relativism, an approach that rejects making moral judgments about different kinds of humanity and simply examines each relative to its own unique origins and history.”*

This approach is one of the foundations of anthropology, and it “is the comparative approach, in which cultures aren’t compared to one another in terms of which is better than the other but rather in an attempt to understand how and why they differ as well as share commonalities.”*

What to look at while applying anthropology

So, next time you think of improving something, or even improving yourself, stop, and look at everything in front of you non-judgmentally. Look at and become aware of:

  • Where you are in the project and in general.
  • What your circumstances and those in the project(s) are.
  • What you have at your disposal right now at this moment.
  • Where you want to go with your project(s) — that is what are your goals in the project.
  • Where the customers of your project want you to head with it.
  • Where the step you just took directs you — it might be away from the set goals, but don’t judge what you see.
  • What the various ways are, with which your brain judges the situation you and your projects are in, and also how you judge judgment and complaint, both yours and that from others.
  • What is the best next step to take toward your goal — criteria for such a step are: it should be small and effortless to take, and it should be fun.
  • How you can appreciate each small step you take. Remember, it is not about keeping a strict account (Note: a topic for another post). It is about appreciation, awareness, and having fun.
  • Other that might have come to your mind as you read this list.

Do all that non-judgmentally, in other words, without labeling something as good or bad and without dramatizing it, but simply iterating from one step to another, discovering the fun in every step of the way, as you usually do in games.

Yes, this is also possible in project management.

References:

* Cameron M. Smith, Anthropology For Dummies

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