SuperBetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver and More Resilient – Powered by the Science of Games by Jane McGonigal
Do you like playing games?
We play games because they are fun and challenging. Have you ever noticed how motivated you are to finish that one level or defeat that one big boss, no matter how difficult? Have you ever noticed that after you fail, you immediately want to try again? And how excited and determined you are to do so?
Games have that incredible effect on us. Wouldn’t it be nice if we bring this same attitude in our real life tasks we need to get done, problems we need to overcome or make positive changes in our life? This is what the core message of the book Superbetter, it’s about adopting the mindset and attitudes we have in playing games into tackling real life challenges. Superbetter gives us a framework to transform a real life challenge into a game, in seven simple rules.
The author Jane McGongigal is a game designer, she came up with Superbetter after she had a concussion and had a difficult time recovering to the point that she was having suicidal thoughts ( apparently common in people who suffered a concussion). She even made it into an app that you can play on your phone where she created quests and power ups to help with issues like anxiety and depression. The whole book is littered with game quests that the reader could easily do to understand the Superbetter rules better. But what I really took away from the book is the framework, the rules on how, I , myself could create a game out of a real life problem that I have. The concept is intriguing to me, and so I set out to understand them better and summarized them here.
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The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play
by Neil A. Fiore
Have you ever procrastinated?
It’s frustrating isn’t it? Wanting to make yourself do something you know you should do but just not being able to do it. In fact, the more you tell yourself that you should do it, the more you don’t feel like doing it.
Procrastinators know that feeling very well. Have you ever wondered why that happens? I used to think it’s because it’s an inherent personality trait, that some people are just born lazy and some are not. But this book argues otherwise.
We procrastinate not because we are born lazy or we are inherently flawed. We procrastinate because we want some relief from stress. Stress caused by fears we associate with the task we need to do. This includes fears imperfection, fears of failing, fears of being judged ( we think that our work is a direct reflection of our worth).
The fears signals threat to our brains. We respond and try to cope by by avoiding the cause of the stress altogether – by procrastinating. This brings us relief. The relief is only for the short term though, in the long term, it just sabotages our goals and waste the most important, non-renewable resource, we have – time. If our response to a task we deem threatening is procrastination, therefore, the book suggest, the solution we can focus on is to make the task feel safe and unthreatening.
How do we do that? Continue reading →
Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals by Heidi Grant Halvorson Ph.D.
The New Year is just around the corner, with it comes reminders about creating a New Year’s resolution. Ah, I have a love and hate relationship with this one. I love it because the new year seems to bring that feeling of new beginnings, of clean slate and fresh starts, so it’s perfect time for setting a new goals for the rest of the year. But then, I hate also because after about 3 weeks or so, all that enthusiasm that I had for the new goal seems to disappear and my new year resolution along with it. It gets frustrating after a while, frustrating enough to put me off from the whole thing. My mindset was I must be bad with this whole goal setting thing, and I just don’t have enough self-discipline to do it for the whole year, so I just won’t bother with it.
But I now realized that I’ve been looking at it all wrong, I was looking at goal setting as either something I can or can not do, an inborn trait of sorts. Not as a skill that I can learn to do, improve on and be better at. In reading this book Succeed: How we can reach our goals by Heidi Grant Halvorson, I learned all about goal setting. I learned the following lessons:
- how to choose the right goals which will make me happy
- that there are different approaches to goal setting, learning which one we usually use and which one to use in different situations can be a great advantage
- steps and strategies for more effective goal setting
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Better Than Before : Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin
Habits are something we do automatically without much conscious thought. Humans are creatures of habit. The habits we form can be harmful or beneficial to us, and it can also be something that we intentionally set for ourselves or something that we unintentionally formed because of our environment or our situation. Habits get formed either way, so it’s best if we take advantage of our brain’s amazing ability to form habits to our advantage. Better than Before gives a detailed and concrete guide of how we can do that.
And it starts with the realization of the important of connection of habit and decision making,
Habits make change possible by freeing us from decision making and from using self-control.
Eliminating the daily decision making that takes up willpower and energy is the real benefit of forming habits. With the decision already made, we can focus on the doing rather than the deciding.
Habits = Freedom
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What one thing in your life that you did not want to end, but did anyway?
Think back… how have you managed to deal with it?
Things ending is one of life’s givens – or things in life we cannot change.
What Is A Given?
The use of the term given is apt because it fits its two definitions, one is that a given is something that happens that we do not have control over and the other is it’s something bestowed to us. How we view these givens matters because it will determine if we carry them as gifts or as burdens.
There are many givens in life but the five discussed in the book are the ones we tend to want to run away from, deny or ignore because going through them can be brutally painful and devastating. But Dr. Richo gives us new ways on seeing them as ingredients to our growth, a way of seeing them as gifts instead of burdens. Continue reading →
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck
What do you tell yourself when you fail?
Your answer to this question can lead you to an important and life changing insight about yourself.
Our thoughts, feelings and actions are influenced by our beliefs. Sometimes we may not be aware what those beliefs are or how they got there, but they influence our actions nonetheless.
“Whether they’re aware of it or not, all people keep a running account of what’s happening to them, what it means, and what they should do. In other words, our minds are constantly monitoring and interpreting. That’s just how we stay on track.”
These beliefs are powerful and they could determine whether we succeed on our personal, professional and relationship goals. It also determines how we respond to failure. Continue reading →
Big Magic:Creative Living beyond fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
What if you engage in a hot, torrid and long-lasting love affair?
How would that look like for you?
That visual is what stuck with me after devouring this book. The author, Elizabeth Gilbert (same author as Eat, Pray, Love), painted that scene in my mind so vividly that it made me giddy with excitement to be creative. She used that analogy, of seeing your creativity like a lover that you just can’t just get enough of. She writes,
“Stop treating your creativity like it’s a tired, old, unhappy marriage (a grind, a drag) and start regarding it with the fresh eyes of a passionate lover. Even if you have only fifteen minutes a day in a stairwell alone with your creativity, take it. Go hide in that stairwell and make out with your art.”
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