Have you been struggling with getting to the next level, regarding self-improvement, not video games? In Super Better, Jane McGonigal will show you how to get to the next level through being gameful. Being gameful means treating your life like an RPG (Role Playing Game); where you track and improve on everything through quests. Metrics that you might track would be physical resiliency, social resiliency, mindfulness, focus, etc. I know that many of you will laugh, but I would recommend watching one of Janes TED talks before you do.
I discovered this book through the Tim Ferris Show and being a “retired gamer” I spazzed out when I heard about it. After listening to said podcast, I started dabbling with Tetris and virtual chess. I used to tell myself that video games were a waste of life, but Jane brings too much research to the table. For a bit of background on her, Jane is an incredible woman. She hit her self on the head once causing a severe concussion. The symptoms decommissioned her and left her with suicidal thoughts. Trying to process any form of information would give her headaches; forcing her to lay in bed all day as the shell of a human.
Jane did not let that stop her she took on the secret identity of Jane The Concussion Slayer. Then she started challenging herself one micro quest at a time. Now she is the forerunner in the psychology of video games. Being an average Joe, who is tired of his mediocrity. This book showed me how to manipulate my paradigms, to assist in the pursuit of my objectives. This book is full of many real-world stories of people who have taken the Super Better challenge and achieved stellar results. Super Better is for you regardless of your current conditions. For example, future parents, leaders, people with addictions, athletes, the self-employed, and people with physical disabilities or chemical imbalances.
Without spoiling too much, I am going to go over some of my key notes. Playing video games has many mental benefits, and we should use them to sharpen the saw more often. If you play in the same room as others, your breathing will start to sync up, through parallel rushes of dopamine. Thus, increasing how close you feel to those people. That dopamine can be triggered without video games by giving yourself daily achievable quests. Make sure that said quests are challenging, but not impossible. A cheat code for difficult challenges is repeating to yourself that “this is fun or exciting.”
Having at least one or two close allies in life is vital, someone that you can talk to about anything. Allies can also give you challenges, getting a third person perspective from someone who does not have the same psychological fallacies can only help you. Make sure that whoever gives you challenges truly knows you, and your weaknesses. If you live in Alaska, you can use online allies. In person would always be best, but having an online community has its perks too.
Joe Rogan “be the hero of your own movie.” Jane encourages one to develop a secret identity. Whoever you pretend to be focus on that person’s strengths. Personally, I felt weird diving too deep into this, but I did use it with self-affirmations. For example, if I wrote down that I was going to the gym that day but start developing second thoughts. I will tell my self “I am Arnold fucking Schwarzenegger.” After saying this a few times, my body feels like it should be at the gym right now. At the same time distancing me from my self felt almost like a mediation.
My favorite quote from Jane is that “life is an infinite game.” In any form of gaming, there is an end whether it’s the final boss, a championship, or bragging rights. On the flip side, a game out of life is only over when one dies. Therefore, there is no perceived end since we do not know anything beyond death. Here is the formula for my life’s game, 4 power-ups + 1 bad guy + 2 quests = a daily win. The syntax can be your own. Personally, I plan on constantly changing mine to find my ceiling.
Jane has created the gameful lifestyle:
- “Challenge yourself.”
- “Collect and activate power-ups.”
- “Find and battle the bad guys.”
- “Seek out and complete quests.”
- “Recruit your allies.”
- “Adopt a secret identity.”
- “Go for the epic win.”
At the end of the book you will find three adventures:
- “Love connection.”
- “Ninja body transformation.”
- “Time rich.”