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“SuperBetter” Review

Stashed in: #happiness, Brain, Awesome, Gamification!, New Yorker, Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, Mental Health

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I have all the respect for Jane McGonigal, a true pioneer in a brutal industry, but I personally have learned the hard way that there is a GIGANTIC gap between playing video games and designing them.

There's also a gap between playing games and living gamefully.

The idea that life’s challenges can be turned into a game in seven steps is the premise of Jane McGonigal’s “SuperBetter” (Penguin), a new book that seeks to bridge the gap between video-game culture and what is now called happiness research. Games, whether played on coffee tables or on digital screens, are usually described as escapist diversions; we don’t expect those hours of sweet nothingness to help us find fulfillment in our work, build strong relationships, cultivate confidence, or nurture other traits that serve the more amorphous cause of happiness. McGonigal, however, thinks that she can transform game-playing passion into a balanced life. She calls it “living gamefully,” and, according to her, it’s a regimen that has the power to fix almost everything that aspirin can’t.

People can use the seven principles of “the SuperBetter method” to get “stronger, healthier, and happier in the face of challenges like anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and PTSD,” McGonigal writes. “You will hear stories from people who have adopted a gameful mindset to find a better job, have a more satisfying love life, run a marathon, start their own company, and simply enjoy life more.” “SuperBetter,” like the endgame of a chess match, plays out in a world where every problem is a power move away from its inevitable solution.

1. Challenge yourself.
2. Collect and activate power-ups.
3. Find and battle the bad guys.
4. Seek out and complete quests.
5. Recruit your allies.
6. Adopt a secret identity.
7. Go for an epic win.

My kids are way better than I at playing video games - taking huge risks, learning skills, leveling up.

Unfortunately they are also 100% clear that it's not real life - and real life has real pain, criticism, stuff_to_fear.  Getting them to take on a real adventure is challenging. 

Has anyone seen practices where people translate that game action to real-world action??

( IMHO if games were that effective, all the people in the top 5% of gaming levels would be changing the world. Somehow I doubt that Elon has hit level 35 in Destiny )

I've never seen the translation of game action to real world action but I believe that's what McGonigal's book espouses. 

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