Recently, I noticed many friends posting this TED Talk by game designed Jane McGonigal. In short, she got a concussion, it didn't heal well, and she was told that she was to spend a month without all the things she loved: reading, running, gaming, driving, using the computer, etc. When you watch the talk, you'll see that she is a very colorful, vivacious, and ALIVE person. This prescription - to basically do nothing for a month - had Jane down in the dumps, so far that she felt suicidal.
She came up with the idea to make getting better into a game. She created a secret identity for herself: "Jane the Concussion Slayer." She enlisted allies to support her. She identified bad guys (bright lights, crowded spaces). She came up with power ups to feel a little better (call a friend, pet her dog), and she created quests: things that were difficult but made her feel better when she actually did them. Her "epic win" was feeling emotionally better even if her pain was still there. The result? It worked! Her head hurt. She couldn't do what she wanted to do (go online, go running), but she could feel better during this difficult time.
There's a lot more to the talk than that. She talks about regrets of the dying, post-traumatic growth, and the four areas of resilience. There's so much in the talk. I HIGHLY recommend watching it.
Here's the fun part. She turned her game into a game everyone can play. She calls it SuperBetter, and I'm playing it. It's mostly an online thing, but it's also an iPhone app. I have identified some personal and professional goals to work on. The big picture goals are called my "Epic Wins." And I make up quests, power ups, bad guys, etc. I have found allies, both people I knew before and people I've met on the SuperBetter forum. In short, I'm turning my big goals into something I'm really working on, but since it's in a game, it's FUN! I get points and my phone makes little dingy noises. I love it! One of my Epic Wins is writing my psych reports faster, and this game has actually made reaching that goal a fun thing. This is HUGE!
I decided to show this talk to a few choice clients, and one has REALLY taken to it. This client has installed some PowerPacks that are available on the site (related to battling Anxiety), and I am this client's ally. This client is a techie and does very well with structure, so it's PERFECT! It's not for everyone though. One younger client had NO interest at all, but it did lead to an interesting discussion about other issues.
This blog is often dormant, but when something this cool comes along, I feel I must share. Happy getting SuperBetter, whether your goals are big (recovering after heart surgery) or small (lose 5 lbs)!