Are you unhappy? Do you think something is missing from your life? Here’s how to find happiness using game design.
The concept of happiness is always perceived as an end goal. While everyone has a different idea of their happiness, it always seems to be in a similar realm of thinking. Ask yourself, “what is happiness to me?”, and it’ll probably look like at least one of the following:
- Winning the lottery
- Laying out on a beach somewhere in the world
- Hanging out with friends
While a lot of these can help one find happiness, it’s simply not sustainable and results in temporary happiness. A lot of the times a number of these things happen but end up causing more harm than good. Too many people see happiness as an end goal. But the truth is when you’re done, you’re most likely to find depression. Why is that? Why do some many lottery winners hate their lives? Because when we achieve something, we also lose something very important in the process.
Happiness is often perceived as an end goal. If you’ve ever thought “I’ll be happy one day. Maybe when I retire or maybe when I win the lottery.” “My job sucks now but when I get that promotion or raise I’ll be happier then.”
The truth is happiness isn’t and end goal, it’s a journey. Because finding happiness is about finding a purpose in life.
Very early on game designers figured out that the best motivator for gamers was to give them a purpose. Think about any game you’ve ever played for a second. They always have a goal and they always have a purpose.
If you’re playing X’s and O’s, your purpose and your goal is to connect three in a row before your opponent. When you play Crazy Eights, your goal is to strategically get rid of all of your cards before every other player. When you play Super Mario or The Legend of Zelda, your purpose and goal is to save the princess. When you play these games, you become entranced and immersed into solving the next puzzle, fighting the next bad guy all in an effort to reach your end goal, to fulfill your purpose.
Because when we have a purpose, we’re actually “playing”.
We can even take a look at the definition of purpose as, “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists”. We can also take a look at play, “engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation or activity engaged in for enjoyment and recreation”. The truth is the opposite of play is not work, it’s depression and when we lack purpose, we lack any sort of play in our lives. A lack of purpose leads to pointless recreational activities like drinking, drugs, and alcohol.
So how can you find happiness? How can you have purpose in life?
Take on obstacles you choose for yourself.
If you have a friend that’s truly happy, most likely they’ve taken on some sort of hobby or have found their calling. When we’re doing something we love it doesn’t feel like work and by definition, it’s actually play.
I develop video games outside of my day job. Sometimes I even create marketing plans for people and help them with their digital advertising. People always tell me, I’m always working and that I’m going to burn out. The truth is I’m not working, I have a purpose and I’m taking on obstacles I choose for myself; I’m playing.
If you’re unhappy, take a look around you. What’s your purpose in life? Focus on your strengths and go all in on that. Focus on what you love and go all in on that. You can make $100,000 a year being miserable or $30,000 a year being happy.
Are you ready to start playing?