Friday, November 30, 2012

SuperBetter

I am an avid reader, a deep thinker, and... someone who really enjoys games. Yes, I'll admit it. I am a bit of a nerd. I'm not a "gamer" per se, but I have my video games that I like and I find that life is a lot more interesting if I can put it in terms of a challenge to my self.

A few months ago, I ran across this concept that I'd never heard of before: "gamification". Jane McGonigal is a game designer who had the brilliant idea to utilize gamers and gaming to make the world a better place. Her game "World Without Oil" is an alternate reality game that brings together gamers to solve the world's energy crisis. One of her most famous applications (at least to those inside and outside of gaming) is SuperBetter. She started SuperBetter while battling a concussion gone bad (bordering on brain injury). Her sister challenged her to turn her recovery into a game because she saw Jane getting restless and making things worse for herself.

So Jane invented SuperBetter. It's current form is an online site and forum that's set up like an alternate reality game. It's a way to take real-life goals (anything from battling depression or cancer, to upping your workout schedule) and puts them into game form by identifying all the different components of your challenge that would be in a game: allies, quests, power-ups, bad guys, future boosts, and achievements. It's all aobut taking whatever you're working toward of battling and making yourself the hero of the story and identifying the tools and opportunities all around you each day.

After finding SuperBetter and looking around, I decided that it would be a great way to keep me focused on my current goal: working out more to be able to run a 10K in May for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. And I do want to actually run it. I do. That's not an easy thing for me to say. Currently, even walking 10K (6.21 miles) is a stretch for me. But this is something that I really want to do and really feel strongly about.

If you have something that you want to get "SuperBetter" from or for, join me! It's pretty cool and I'm looking forward to the adventure.
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