Dr Jason Fox is a revolutionary using the science of motivation & gaming to redesign how we go about DOing great things in work & life. DO Australia recently met with Fox over a cup of Melbourne’s finest “magic” (the caffeine version) covering games & gaining important hacks to make progress tangible for the projects that matter most to you. Here’s just some of the gold...
Contemplate for a moment that life is an “infinite game”. And, within life, is a myriad of “finite games” - each with a different overlap of goals, rules & feedback. In our constant state of play, we can always do with a reminder to consciously choose how best to design the games we’re participating in.
Our intrinsic motivation is highly correlated with game design. Great games are designed to be goal driven, challenge-intensive, feedback-rich experiences, intentionally geared towards progress. The differentiating factor is gaming’s focus on “progress” as opposed to short-lived danger of “success” wrapped in familiar SMART goals & KPI’s attempting to reduce uncertainty in a constantly changing future. Fox shifts our paradigm of how we see the world, by redefining success as the process of making progress visible & tangible. He describes “progress as the eternal pursuit of betterment”. When we approach life & work with curiosity, with a science-like experimentation, reason & what progress looks like, magic starts to happen.
Gaming design like any good coach offers a different perspective on ourselves, our interaction with others & the system we find ourselves playing within (science coins it as doubly dissociated meta cognition). It’s when we are aware of our thoughts & feelings, seeing ourselves, & how we behave from a 3rd person perspective or with a science-like objectivity. Fox asks us: what dynamics & patterns might we see going on in our own worlds?
If you find yourself not enjoying your game, you have the choice to redesign it… Start with asking yourself;
What are the projects that really matter?
What does progress at each stage look like? How can I create visibility around the stuff that really matters?
What are the rituals that will support progress?
Fox discloses he was “stuck in a reactionary pattern, starting days answering emails, finishing fatigued & perpetually disappointed in myself for not ticking all the boxes of my projects that really mattered, like writing my first book”. After challenging his own assumptions of the game he was caught in, he conducting experiments (play testing) & learnt by redesigning what works for him. Fox now starts his day with a few rituals anchored in projects that matter; a scan through Zite app (curates web information you’re most interested in) over a cup of magic, sitting down to his laptop he enters the things he is most grateful for in the last 24 hours, this practise of gratitude segueing into what is the bigger, the most purposeful activity (writing his next book or sharing research). Finishing his day with the reactionary work (like answering emails) which previously distracted his progress.
Delightfully, Fox challenges us all to redesign what progress towards great change looks like, on a daily, weekly, quarterly & yearly level.
Crucial to the game of progress is having a light to direct your path, to stay true to intention when wavering. Fox doesn't mean a goal, or a map. He advocates having one word, that acts as a “fuzzy beacon”.
Fox’s first fuzzy beacon, was the word “Kingly”, “for me it represented stepping up, taking responsibility, staying true to my word & serving the greater good. He recalls, “at that particular time in my life, cash flow was an issue & I found myself getting caught in a scarcity mindset, amongst constantly procrastinating about writing my book”. ‘Kingly’ navigated me through a powerful year, led to my book being published & helped me refocus on the work that matters to me - leadership & work culture”.
For Fox, 2015 is the year of the “Pirate”. Fox’s pirate has qualities of the “opportunistic explorer, both commercially focussed & savvy, pirates are also jolly & buoyant. They drink rum & look after their mates”. He’s shared his fuzzy beacon with friends/ family & when stuck on how to approach something, he often asks himself “what would a pirate do here?”.
Head to Fox’s website to enjoy developing your 2015 fuzzy beacon! Aghrrr!
Thanks to Dr Jason Fox & his crew for generously sharing time and wisdom. More posts are coming with tips on enhancing your great life and work. Let’s DO this.
Redesigning your life’s games is far-reaching. To redesign his aversion to game of running, Fox continually experiments with apps like Zombies Run (simulates being chased by zombies), Carrot (7-minute workouts using sarcastic humour) & “goal less” running - using it as a form of mediation with adrenaline.
Written by Amy Hart - Do’s newest amazing volunteer - and edited by Sam Bell - Co-Founder Do Australia.