Life is a Game

Life is a Game

We hear the words "gamification" a lot in today's world. The idea is simple: we can use the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of life. If you look up the definition of gamification on Google, the sentence example that comes up is "gamification is exciting because it promises to make the hard stuff in life fun".

As a seasoned corporate professional, I have seen gamification improve engagement, satisfaction, and outcomes in areas from metrics to adult learning. Even more unbelievable is the unlimited potential for gamification outside of the corporate world - beyond the "work world" altogether and in all the other aspects of our lives.

Consider this: can you recall the last time you played a game? Remember what it felt like; perhaps you were excited, lost track of time, or even frustrated if you weren't in the lead. Either way, it's unlikely you were disengaged and only going through the motions.

Yet, unfortunately, so much of our daily life IS spent disengaged and just going through the motions. We all know, of course, that this is unsustainable. Every day is a privilege and a gift, and not an everlasting one. An average person receives the gift of another day approximately 30,000 times. While not unlimited, it's certainly enough chances to learn to enjoy, maximize, and PLAY at the game of life in a way that makes you feel as excited and entranced as a kid playing their favorite game - and who knows, you might even find yourself a winner.

When we realize that every day is filled with fun, playful, immersive "games", we can set aside our limiting beliefs and expectations and just participate, making the most out of every moment and winning against the most important (and most likely only) opponent in life - yourself.

I start thinking about games from the moment I wake up in the morning. Consider brushing your teeth, for example. It could be a mindless activity where I allow muscle memory to take over and assume I've done a good enough job, only to be reprimanded by the dentist in a few months. Instead, I love to make a game out of it, seeing it as an opportunity to divide my mouth into 4 quadrants and see how well I can brush each tooth before moving on to the next quadrant, all before the 2 minute timer runs out on my toothbrush. When I participate in this game, it does me the double service of practicing mindfulness for every second of those 2 minutes and turning a monotonous daily task into a small win. And, let's be honest, we can use every win we earn in life.

Consider, then, all the beautiful and exciting "games" we can participate in throughout our day to day. Perhaps driving perfectly, thinking about playing a game where you want to score as many points as possible for perfect driving (including those pesky rules that are easy to forget, such as signaling before changing lanes) or seeing how many points you can score in a day for performing small acts of kindness and trying to beat your score every month.

Not every game needs to be a competition, if that doesn't speak to you. Turning cleaning the kitchen into a dance party or your self-maintenance routine into an at-home spa day, complete with candles and soothing music, are beautiful ways of adding elements of fun, such as role-playing (let's face it, few games can be more fun than pretending to be Beyoncé cleaning her mansion while you're doing the dishes).

No matter what, consider this: letting your inner child participate in daily activities can add the spirit of play to the day to day, bringing with it joy, engagement, and potentially even a whole lot of compounding improvement.

Make life a game, then become the most avid player. Evoke your best epoch, with Ephoque.

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