• Tag Archives Motivation
  • Keep Playing and Have Fun

    “Keep playing and have fun.” – This, or a variant of it (sometimes just, “have fun”) is how I typically end my YouTube videos. No, it is not meant to be a tag line, per se, though I guess you could argue it works like that, being my own personal oft overused phrase. What it is meant to be is a reminder to keep at it, and have fun doing so. It is meant, on the surface, to be just as it sounds: keep playing games, and have fun doing so. However, it has some much deeper meanings behind it as well.

    In high school, I played basketball and golf. I was not particularly good either, I just happened to attend a small rural school where the population was small enough that there was little competition to get on the team. I enjoyed (and still do enjoy) playing. However, the adults around me and my peers all took sports very seriously, so I followed that example. I would get aggressively competitive, angry at referees, and downtrodden by my mistakes. Much of my focus was on doing well and winning. This was especially evident in golf, where you are primarily playing against the design of the course and your own personal nature. If you focus on your mistakes, you tend to tense up and play even worse. At this point, it is no longer fun.

    Although I attended a university only 30 miles from my parents and high school, it was enough distance to get away from various influences that inspired and maintained my way of thinking. It took some time, but I started to realize, especially from solo golf outings, that I had better experiences if I would just keep playing and have fun. Focusing on the fun mean I not only enjoyed the experience more, but on average I played better as well. It took some practice to let the bad moments wash away and center my mind on the good moments. I still find myself getting wrapped up in a bit of frustration from time-to-time, especially if I am playing with others and feel compelled to impress or be overly competitive.

    The Anxious Gamers recently posted a video by NoZoupForYou¬†Gaming titled “Hunt the Good Stuff“, which I recommend you check out. In it, Zoup talks about the Resiliency training he is involved in as part of the US Armed Forces, and an exercise within it to take a moment each day and focus on the good things that happened. “Hunt the good stuff” and “have fun” have much the same intent: a change in mindset to focus on the good of our day and the fun of our activities, even if for only a little while, with the hope that it helps eventually to make us feel better overall and to keep playing.

    I challenge you to try it the next time you jump in to Battlefield 4, play a round of golf, or whatever activity you might choose, and focus on the fun and why you do it in the first place. Find the fun or make it fun. You might just find you enjoy it a bit more.


  • Be the change you wish to see

    “Be the change you wish to see” is a inspirational quote I am sure we have all heard at one time or another. I typically don’t think too much about such quotes, but this one came to mind in light of a recent concern of mine. In my last post, I criticized the Freedom! network, of which I am a member, because of the unintended result of their recent small channel sponsorship giveaways. That concern was that it created a flood of lower quality/high volume channel review and video critique offers, and the individuals offering those services only provided to those posting on their thread and seem to ignore all the threads requesting help.

    I realized after writing my criticism that I was being lazy, if not hypocritical, to not do any reviews myself. So, I have made an effort to do at least one each day the past couple days, focusing on those that have been sitting untouched for a few days to prevent a few from being ignored and lost. I have enjoyed it because I feel like I have helped someone else with some quality feedback, but it also seems to be helping me to practice looking critically at a video, which will hopefully lead to better production on my part.

    I guess there is some merit to living out these quotes from time-to-time.


  • Rewards and unintended motivations

    Rewards provide an excellent source of motivation. People will often do things they may otherwise ignore if completing the task will provide something they wish to have. This is frequently seen in games – they offer achievements, XP, special in-game items, and other things for completing tasks in and out of the game. Such rewards always have an intended motivation, and it is often a path one is meant to follow in the game, such as defeating a boss or supporting a teammate. However, it seems that we often fail to notice, consider, or just blatantly ignore the fact that various rewards also have unintended motivations attached to them.

    In games, unintended motivations often result in players doing unusual, annoying, or unhelpful things because such behavior is rewarded in a satisfactory way. A shining example of this is Battlefield 4, in which players are handsomely rewarded with XP for long distance headshots. Doing so requires a player to sit in waiting at the edge of a map providing little to no benefit to their team in a very team-based game. With a couple well-placed (or lucky) shots, the player can top the leaderboard. One can easily argue the developers did not intend for this to be a common playstyle because the game is so team- and objective-oriented. Their original intent was to reward players for the added difficulty of headshots over range, thinking that such skills would be utilized in support of the team, rather than for self gratification while ignoring one’s team.

    This can often be seen in one’s day-to-day life as well. A great example that has motivated me to discuss this briefly is a recent sponsorship event through the Freedom! network. I am a member of the network, which I will discuss in greater detail at another time. They recently launched a $100,000 year-long sponsorship program for small channels, in which they choose a member channel each day to whom they give a product from one of their sponsors (which generally consists of gaming gear, like headphones and mice). Their announcement of this indicated they would likely choose the more active members of the community for these sponsorships. I imagine there was at least some intention in this to get members a bit more active and push the community toward being the supportive foundation for small channels they wish it to be.

    While this has motivated members to be much more active than before, the unintended part is that the quality of that activity is not what it was before. The forums and video comments have suddenly been spammed with members offering to do channel and video reviews, hoping to get noticed as an active and helpful community member. However, a quick look through some of these finds critiques that offer little more than, “Dude, ur awesome! ur banner is cool! u deserve ur subs.” I imagine most of this reviews are done with very little effort. If you look through the Freedom! forums in the reviews and critiques subforums, nearly every thread is someone offering reviews, where they used to be primarily threads asking for a review. Threads asking for reviews are still there, but they get buried and are largely ignored, which seems very strange considering there are 10’s, if not 100’s of people looking to do reviews, yet these same people¬†seem to have no interest in doing reviews on someone else’s thread because they are less likely to be seen doing them. I can only imagine the original intention was much different than this result.

    So it goes with rewards and motivations. We introduce rewards to elicit behavior, only to find the human mind can come up with many and more ways to get the same rewards with other than intended behavior. If there is anything to take from this discussion, it is to take an extra moment to think about how people of different minds may take various paths and whether or not the rewards or rules should be modified to safeguard from unwanted paths.