Gamifying Your Personal Growth

You may be one of those that sees personal growth as a struggle. Something to be done, but it’s loathed as you’re growing.

You may say “It’s boring” or maybe “I’ve heard it a thousand times before.”

What can we do if we find ourselves stuck in a personal growth rut and unable to see our way out? One way is to begin gamifying our personal growth.

Gamifying? You’re probably asking yourself what the heck is gamification? You might even think gamifying and gamifcation aren’t even words. (They are, by the way)

What Is Gamification?

Let’s start with what is gamification? Wikipedia defines gamification as the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems. Gamification is applied to improve user engagement, return on investment, data quality, timeliness, and learning.

So, what does that mean?

I grew up on video games. So I know a thing or two about them and how they work.

We all know what's inside of here

Image by Andy Liang

Whether it was the reward of a gold coin in Mario for hitting the question mark block or the Xbox Live point system which showed off your mad Halo skills, video games have been rewarding players with instant feedback.

Gamification is taking this reward strategy into the real world, making our every day activities into score-able actions.

How Gamification Can Help Personal Growth

I’ll be honest, I’m not always enjoying my times of personal growth. The leadership book may be a very dry read. The implementation of new leadership skills may be taking longer than I want. Or it could be the fact I’ve heard the same speech a thousand times before.

Personal growth can be boring! Let’s be real.

This is where gamification can come into play. Using gamification can make personal growth a challenge that rewards us instantly.

One of the coolest iOS apps I’ve seen for the gamification of task lists or personal development has to be EpicWin (or there’s Task Hammer for Android users like myself). Using this app, you make a list of tasks that you need to complete, including personal development goals. As you check off each task, your character gains experience points, gold, and more.

You can set this up for personal growth by setting goals for:

Time spent reading

Time spent reflecting

Time spent writing

Time spent growing

I think you get the picture. Whatever personal growth goals you have that can be broken down into daily tasks can be used for gamification.

You get the personal satisfaction of doing growth orientated tasks and seeing game-like results. Kind of cool, huh?

Question: Do you think gamifying some of your personal growth goals would help you reach them faster? What’s your thought on gamification? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I am going to have to check that app out. I like the idea of making it more fun Joe. I thought you where going to start discussing Game theory, so glad you didn’t take it in that direction. I had enough of that in college:)

    • Do have a look. From what I’ve used, it’s pretty interesting. It could give you that little bump of incentive to keep going.

  • Interesting post Joe. To be honest I almost did not read it. Not sure if I need to gamify or not but I also will be checking out the task hammer app

    • Gamifying works for some and not others. If you want a fun way to track your progress and possibly get you more interested in it, give it a shot.

  • I’ve used one gamifying app in Android. Hmm…I think it’s this one, Raise the Bar- https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lvl.xpbar.

    Here’s something I think you guys can do to gamify your personal growth. First, pick one thing that makes you uncomfortable. I picked ‘rejection’. Using apps like Raise the Bar, I’ll increase my number of rejection as time goes by. The more rejection you have, the higher the lvl.

    It’s effective if you want to see how you grow from a beginner of Lvl 1 to Lvl 99 which means that you are a veteran on being rejected. It also shows how as more and more uncomfortable things you experience, you’ll become better at handling it. Increasing beyond that level will be easier.

    After that, do another one and see yourself grow more. Anyway, maybe I should try the ones you recommend, Joe, and use it in my MacBook. Maybe it’ll be more fun.

    • Thanks for sharing what you’ve used and done Wan. I’ll be checking out that app.

      Your idea of using rejection sound really interesting. Did you find you didn’t experience rejection as much as you thought you would? Or was it easy to find rejection?

      • “Did you find you didn’t experience rejection as much as you thought you would? Or was it easy to find rejection?”

        It still hurts no matter how many times I am exposed to it. At times, I felt that need to give up, stop trying to grow myself, and live life foolishly. But now, I’m better at accepting the feeling caused by the rejection and move on afterwards.

        Another thing is the initial rejection is usually not clear. Sometimes I felt rejected but I don’t know why.
        So, it’s better to clarify why you are being rejected and ask the one who rejects you to give feedback. It’s tough but that’s one of the greatest ways for self-growth.

    • DanKnight

      I think I may be missing the point: How does experiencing more of something you’re uncomfortable necessarily translate into becoming better at handling that thing?

      • Handling in terms of controlling our response to it. Here’s my general experience: I sent someone my article hoping that he’ll publish it in his blog or whatever platform he had and he rejected my article. If I’m not comfortable with the feeling caused by the rejection, that feeling can lead me to think thoughts that are biased towards the negatives and I’ll probably think that I’m not cut out to write any articles for others. If I’m used to it, I can do some sort of metacognition, accept the feeling, and move on.

        If we are not used to discomfort, it’s easy to make false conclusion about ourself. If we are used to it, we are more rational and stop jumping to conclusions that are false.

        • DanKnight

          I think I’m getting it.
          For me I’m an impatient driver, I just can’t understand why there has to be someone in front of me on the road. I’m obviously not proud of this irrational and dangerous thinking, so I’m working on over-coming it. Taking up your suggestion I would use something like these apps or some good metacognition to build “resistance” to, or dominance over, the feelings that I “need” to be the lead vehicle.

          Thanks for the explanation. Although I confess I had to look up metacognition 🙂

          • “Although I confess I had to look up metacognition :)”

            Haha, don’t worry about that. I only knew about the term last week.

            “I think I’m getting it.”

            Phew…that’s great thing to hear. Thanks for challenging my thoughts and explanation, Dan. I need to learn a lot of ‘challenges’ of all sort helps me to reduce my ego and see my thoughts in a more objective way. As much as I cherish my thoughts, there are tons of flaws in them.

            “For me I’m an impatient driver, I just can’t understand why there has to be someone in front of me on the road.”

            Metacognition can definitely help. Here’s a post from a friend of mine on metacognition – http://swolemind.com/metacognition. This book could also help too – http://www.startgainingmomentum.com/book/.

  • I bet you can guesss why I love this post, Joe. : ) Gamification absolutely works – look at even older examples – wheelbarrow races at state fairs.
    You are moving a heavy load. In Wheelbarrow. That’s called work.
    BUT
    When you do it as a competition, and there is a measurable outcome, a winner/loser – all of a sudden, it is FUN!
    My thought is the analogy can be taken even further! We can learn many great lessons from video games – IF we pay attention.
    Excellent topic.

  • Sounds interesting!

    • Hope you’ll give it a shot Kimanzi. It’s a fun way to track and push your progress.

    • DanKnight

      Agreed! It’s an interesting enough concept that I’ve downloaded the EpicWin (for truly SMART phone users (-; ) to try it out this month.

      • Awesome Dan. You’ll have to let me know what you think of it.

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  • Enjoyed this post Joseph. I’d heard of EpicWin before, but never tried it out. I may have to now. On the other hand, I just started using Todoist as my task app and it has a nifty “karma” tracking system (http://todoist.com/karma) that shows a line graph of my supposed productivity.

    Still, I wouldn’t mind if someone could make the Xbox Achievement sound occur every time I accomplished something significant.

    • Thanks for the mention of Todoist. I’ll have to take a peak at it and see if it’s something I might like. What do you like best about Todoist?

      • Likely like you, I’ve tried a number of to-do apps. This one seems to strike the right balance between simplicity and usefulness.

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