Gameful Mindset

Life is a game.

That’s the premise of the gameful mindset – seeing life as a series of challenges. Adopting a gameful mindset can change a brick wall into something you have to do a double jump to get over.

The concept comes from Jane McGonigal, senior researcher at the Institute for the Future and scientist who looks how games can improve our lives. Between her TED Talk and several books, she explains how games specifically and a gameful mindset, in general, can help your life.


“If I’ve learned anything from video games, it is that when you meet enemies, it means that you’re going in the right direction.” From first-person shooters to Super Mario, when things get more difficult you know you are on the right path.

In games, you press save and continue walking towards the danger. But how does it apply to real life?

In Real Life

When we are confronted with challenges we fall outside our comfort zone. Our instinct is to go back to our comfort zone and feel safe again. But in this way, we will never progress and discover new things.

What games have taught me is that you just need to press save. Just think about the great things you have. You have a roof over your head, you have friends and family to support you. What I’m saying is that your comfort zone is really big and that you are only changing a very little aspect when confronted with a challenge. Take a moment to look at your life (press save) and take on the challenge.

Level Up

Jane McGonigal and others have actually implemented a gameful mindset into real life. Two applications, SuperBetter (available in the App Store) and Habitica (awesome website), make it possible for people to gain support, tackle challenges and improve their lives in a fun and engaging way.

What I want to leave you with it the idea that life can be like a game. You won’t always defeat the boss at the end of a level or win the race, but playing in itself is already worth it.