🎮AIP 72 Life Is A Game: Here's How You Play

🎮AIP 72 Life Is A Game: Here's How You Play

You take a break from school to play one of your favorite games, Minecraft.

You tell yourself you’ll play for one hour.

But then, woah!

Is that a jungle biome?

And, Diamonds!

A little longer couldn’t hurt…

Suddenly, you’re taken out of flow by your bedtime alarm.

Your "school break" at 9:00 p.m. became a three-hour gaming abyss.

And you had no idea.

Whoops.

This sequence happened countless times when I was a kid, and if you’re reading this, for you too.

Why?

Games are life on steroids–their mix of clearly defined goals, rules, and feedback create a sanctuary where we can order consciousness and enter the holy grail of states, flow, a state in which we lose consciousness of the self, soaring from the simple to the stellar, the mundane to the sublime, the human to the godly, and battling against the surge of everyday frustrations in a cocoon of focused attention.

I know that sounds over the top, but this is genuinely how I feel in flow.

Games were my life in high school. During the summer, I could wake up and not log off until going back to bed at night. Minecraft, Terraria, Civilization 6–you name it, I played it. Only cocaine, TikTok, and peanut butter can hold your attention that well.

While I have meaningful memories from this period, the problem underlying it is I was using video games to avoid the unsatisfying reality of real life. 

Playing Geralt in The Witcher 3, beating friends In Super Smash Bros, or exploring in Darkest Dungeons, I felt powerful, like I mattered. Outside video games, I was an acne-faced teenager too scared to talk to girls. Playing video games wouldn’t solve this issue. As much as I wish I could use my Diamond Sword in real life, game rewards don’t usually transfer to the world. 

I knew I needed to find a way to make real life more engaging.

Then it dawned on me.

Why not turn my real life into the most fun game imaginable?–becoming what I now call a Game Creator. 

The Path Of The Game Creator

Once I came to this insight, I started reading every gamification-related resource I could find: Reality Is Broken, SuperBetter, Actionable Gamification, and more. 

Over four years, I developed the path of the Game Creator. Instead of building bases in Minecraft, I now spend my energy building YouTube videos, newsletters, podcasts, and products for my online business that make me passive income. I have a great exercise, diet, and sleep regime. And I have fantastic relationships with my family and friends.

I’m not saying you can achieve the same instantly–or even quickly–unfortunately I don’t have the cheat code for life. But through showing you the Game Creator path, I’m confident you can start turning your life into the ultimate game too.

Game Creators leverage the power of games by asking one question in every life avenue: how can I make this into a game?

A game is simply a hierarchy of goals, rules, and feedback. By getting clarity over these three things in every avenue of life, Game Creators turn their life into the ultimate meta-game, an infinite flow state. They can find meaning, reinvent themselves, and realize their ideal future. They can start a business, get a super body, find their life partner, and more. 

Life becomes way better than any game.

The Path Of The Game Creator Isn’t Only For Gamers; It’s For Anyone Who Learns To Gamify Their Lives

Athletes can gamify their workouts by setting time improvement goals, with rules for incremental increases in distance, and feedback through a fitness app. 

Students can gamify their study habits by setting goals for each study session (like competing with friends over candy), establishing rules for focused study periods (like using the Pomodoro Technique), and getting feedback from flashcards, practice tests, or peer teaching. 

Artists can gamify their craft by setting a goal to complete a piece each week, with rules about exploring different mediums or themes, and feedback from sharing online.

How does creating games help you do these things?

Games Create A Funnel For Your Attention

The subconscious or conscious games you play in your life influence what information pops into your attention. 

What you attend to influences your feelings, perceptions, and thoughts. Feelings, perceptions, and thoughts influence your behavior. Your behavior influences your results. Your results influence your progress in your game, starting the cycle all over again. While I have portrayed this as a linear process for simplicity, it’s more tangled than headphones in your pocket – affected by factors like context, genetics, past experiences, and more.

This is the gameplay loop of life–similar to how mining, crafting, and building are the gameplay loop of Minecraft. 

In effect, the quality of your games plays a large role in the quality of your life.

Create a game for losing ten pounds, and salads start popping up everywhere. Create a game for making a piece of art, and you can find inspiration in the everyday. Create a game for raising money to buy Legendary status on Hypixel for $60 dollars, and you will learn what it means to waste your birthday money. 

The more meaningful, clear, and actionable the games you create, the better you can fight distraction.

Of course, one might say, “why not use the pre-made games that already exist in life?”--I call these visible journeys.

Some examples of visible journeys are traditional education, learning a foreign language, and leveling up in your corporate job. There is variation in how these are gone through, but generally, the goals, rules, and feedback remain similar from person to person.

There Are Two Major Reasons You Must Become Your Own Game Creator.

The first reason you must learn to create your own games is because the world is changing faster than ever.

The internet has been out for around 30 years, modern phones around 15, and ChatGPT for around a year and a half. A thousand years ago, technological “progression” was considered a new way to sharpen a stick.

More and more previously visible journeys are becoming obsolete or invisible.

Invisible journeys are unexplored games, similar to exploring an unfamiliar cave in your favorite exploration game. Like a skill tree in an RPG, the more invisible journeys you go down, the more you increase your value, and the more invisible journeys you open yourself up to. Some invisible journeys include creating a new business, connecting two disparate interests like cooking and psychology, or coming up with your life's work.

Invisible journeys are gold mines ripe for mining.

Because Game Creators have the skills to create their own self-made hierarchy of goals, rules and feedback, they can venture into invisible journeys, first to help themselves, then to illuminate the path for others.

In this way, Game Creators are paladins of progress. They turn their individual journey of self-actualization into a collective journey. They can do this for free. Or like I am, they can turn it into a business to create an income stream.

The second reason you must create your own games is because someone else’s game isn’t guaranteed to work for or fulfill you.

Everyone has different interests, resources, skills, playstyles, and more, which change how they want to play life.

Copying another’s game blindly would be like me playing a Barbarian when my playstyle is more a mage. My battle cry is more "Eep!" than "YARARAHRHHARH!" – I scare exactly no one, maybe a pigeon if it's already on edge.

If you don't create your own games, you might spend your entire life playing someone else's.

In gamer terms, you become an NPC, a non-player character–you know, those characters doomed to repeat the same line about their stolen sweet roll. 

Like NPCs are programmed by game designers, we are programmed by our family, friends, strangers, school, and the societal ‘Terms And Conditions’ no one ever reads. In the modern era, we survive our psychic body--our selves--by spreading them to others in beliefs, often as games. 

Humans are imitation machines. 

People don't acquire beliefs; beliefs acquire people. 

Ideas or games that don't spread well never enter the cultural zeitgeist and, therefore, don't affect the majority of humanity. Ideas or games that do spread well--like that of school, Christianity, or Republican--can influence the unconscious goals of people, potentially robbing them of their autonomy.

In the same way, we defend our physical bodies, we defend our mental bodies as well.

Question someone on their politics, and they might lash out as if their physical body were under attack. It's survival. This is how you find yourself defending someone else's game. Most horrible acts in history have been a war over whose beliefs and games are better. 

Awareness is the first step to change.

When you combine awareness with becoming a Game Creator you try less rigidly to survive a certain belief or game. You understand how important it is to find your own path in life. You value open-mindedness and curiousness. 

Why Games? Couldn’t We Create Goals Instead?

"You don’t rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your games." - Shameless James Clear Copy

The final thing we need to understand is why creating games is so valuable compared to goal setting. I'll be honest: goal-setting leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Throughout high school and college, teachers shoved SMART goals down my throat like under-salted vegetables:

Is that goal specific enough Aidan? 

Do you have a way to measure that goal Aidan? 

Do you have a time frame for that goal Aidan?

In comparison, the way games set goals is just more... Enjoyable.

This is because games include three beneficial mindsets not inherent in goal-setting.

Firstly, games make failure pleasurable by instilling a challenge mindset.

Failure is often better for learning than success. Yet, in real life, we often run from failure like it’s cardio in the gym. We see obstacles in our path as annoyances rather than challenges to test and grow our skills. 

In games, we adopt a challenge mindset, not just seeking failure, but reveling in it. By promoting failure, games help us not only enjoy losing, but get the learning benefits as well.

Secondly, games are played for themselves.

Unless you're a professional gamer, you don't play games for money. I don't need to give you $20 to play Stardew Valley. 

You play games with intrinsic motivation. By treating more things in life as games, you can build intrinsic motivation for them as well.

Thirdly, games simply make life more fun.

There's nothing like saying "pay up" to a friend in Monopoly, finally, killing the Ender Dragon in Minecraft, or checkmating a friend. Games are an adventure. Games add spice to existence and who doesn’t want more fun, more PIZAZZ in their lives?

This doesn’t mean everything must be gamified. Laundry will always be laundry. Gamifying tasks you already like intrinsically can hurt your motivation to do them. But for more difficult–and especially long-term things–The Game Creator Path is your secret tool.

Game Creation is your journey to making real life more fun than Minecraft. It helped me overcome my video game addiction. There are infinite games you can play after you finish this article. The question is, will it be the game of life?


​Get my gamification resource list to turn your real life into the most fun game imaginable. Create your superhero alter-ego, define your quests and epic wins, cultivate your skills and abilities, and fight your bad guys.​