Work has always been a trial for me; it has always been something that I did because I had to do it to survive. I never found the joy in work that other people seem to have, the closest I ever got to joy in work was to be happy that I had a job, but apathetic, at best, to the actual process of work. Often times I hated work.  But give me a chance to play and have fun and I was there.  I never thought that maybe I could make work play.

      I have always been someone who really enjoys games of all sorts, from video games to board games and such. Today, I watched a presentation by Darren Hardy, the editor of Success Magazine,  and learned how to turn my work into a game and it’s change my entire outlook on life. Making everything a game isn’t easy.  There are several steps to go in doing this.  Here is the simple process I am following:

1: Decide on Major Goals: What are my goals at the office and with regards to this blog?  I don’t want to be overwhelmed so I decided my best bet is to choose three goals that I want to work on.  Three things that I want to achieve and the timeframe that I want to achieve them in. (In a video game this might be killing the BIG BOSS.)        

2: Objective: I decided what my objectives would be or what steps I needed to take to reach these three big goals. This is the process of deciding what key behaviors in me that I need to change in order to achieve my major goals; it is MY plan to get to the goal. (Once in a video game I spent an entire week killing skeletons in a graveyard just so I could get an item that would help me win a fight against the big boss.  That was the “objective” I needed to reach my “goal” of killing that BOSS)

3: Tracking Progress: There has to be a way to track progress, be it marking off each day that I accomplish the tasks that I identified in step 2 to get to my goals or something immediate like moving marbles from one jar to another every time that I complete part of the daily task. (I needed to kill 10,000 skeletons to get my item in the video game.  Luckily the game would keep count/track my progress for me)        

4: Create Rewards: There has to be incentive to actually do the hard things that make the goals happen. This step is creating something that will give me a sense of joy and accomplishment when I succeed at the objective and even bigger rewards when I achieve a goal. (Man when I killed that boss it felt sooooo Good!!!)

5: Create Consequences: It is natural for humans to put more work into avoiding something that they don’t want, then to reach for what they do. This is capitalizing on that concept. Create consequences that you will hold yourself to if you don’t complete your objective. (The first several times I had tried to kill that boss without the item was infuriating!  It was why I was willing to spend a week killing skeletons even though killing them every day wasn’t really much fun after the first hundred or two)

6: Engage Competition: Darwin tells us that only the strong and most adept survive to propagate the species. This is competition in its most distilled form, but those instincts are still in us and we can use them. I will engage others to compete with me on my objective to increase my drive. I can even compete against myself to beat my previous record to create this incentive. (With my video game, I wanted the really cool piece of armor that big Boss dropped when you killed him. I had seen other players with it so I knew he could be beaten but I had to figure out how in order to continue to compete with the other players who did have the armor.)

     Now I have a framework to turn my work into fun, but how will this actually work?  Xiaoyi and I did this to help me at my insurance job. One of the big goals the company has for me is to solicit life insurance to our customers. There isn’t immediate incentive to do this like a bonus or anything so my motivation for doing it was low.  There was simply no reward for doing it that mattered to me. Because of this, I was terrible at doing it and the bosses were a constant thorn in my side because of it.   So my wife and I created a game for me to play.

           1: Goal: Become comfortable with soliciting life insurance and increase my referral rate and get my bosses off my back about it!

           2: Objective:  Use embracing failure and get at least 100 people to tell me no to life insurance in a month.  That means that I will have to ask at least 100 people about the referrals and what’s more, it means that if any of them say “yes” I have to ask more than 100 people.  And I had to use the company scripts and do my best to get them to say yes even though I was playing the game for No’s.  Cheating on this was against our rules.

          3: Tracking: We created a checkbox list  that I keep at my desk, right next to my phone.  This is the board for the game. Every time someone tells me “No” they go on the “Death List” for the month.  (That was my wife’s idea, “since they don’t want life, they must want death,” was her logic.  This appeals greatly to my sense of humor so we went with it.)

          4: Create Rewards: Rewards have to have meaning to the victor.  If the reward was not something I wanted, I wouldn’t play the game.  So here is how we decided on my reward for those 100 Death Referrals.  I am on a low carb diet because I am working on eating healthier. It is working and I have lost 25 pounds since I started. Well, one of my favorite foods is pizza. Pizza is not low-carb. So my reward is that I get to indulge in my favorite pizza once in the next month if I meet my requirements for the objective. Hey, you might be motivated by a new watch or necklace but for me, I am motivated by good pizza.

          5: Create Consequences:  If I fail, I don’t get to purchase a new video game or spend money on gaming in general for the next month.  (You might have noticed from above that I play video games a lot and really enjoy doing so and like all gamers, I am always ready for and looking at the new games that come out.)

          6: Competition: I have gotten other people in my office to join in trying to get as many people on their “Death List” as they can each month and we’ll pass a trophy around to the person that gets the most each month as a sign of the winner.  It might seem a little cheesy to some, and I’ll be honest the trophy really isn’t my thing, but having my co-workers at 25 Death Referrals when I only have 10 really kicks in my pizza craving and I up my game to get my pizza!

     This simple game has tripled the number of times during a day that I actually ask people if they want life insurance and has done great things to my referral rates too. Now I am finding ways to apply this idea to the work of creating my fortune and watch as my enjoyment and fulfillment in life take off for the stars!

     What games can you create to get you through those tasks that you hate? Give me some examples and tell me how they are working out for you. We would love to hear from you; post your game in the comments below!  Turn life into the game that it should be!


Life’s too short to have bad days!  What are you doing to make today FANTASTIC?