Trick Yourself into Learning Something

Over the last few (idk how long, years? months? decades? no idea), the idea of treating life somewhat like an RPG has been gaining steam. You see, when you’re playing an RPG, something about leveling up is incredibly addictive. It keeps you playing – often even if the particular activity that you have to do repeatedly to level up isn’t fun any more.

That’s a big idea: you’ll keep trying to get your character to improve, even when you’re bored with some of the activities you have to do to accomplish that.

The idea is, there might be something we can take from the world of RPGs that will make us want to improve ourselves continuously, even if we have to do things that are otherwise kinda boring and that we would normally procrastinate from. If we can figure out what makes RPGs so addictive, in spite of the often boring requirements to spend ages collecting exp., then we can apply that to real life and become addicted to improving ourselves!

Procrastination is something I know a lot of people in the West suffer from (maybe also the East, but I wouldn’t know for sure). It’s pervasive and everyone hates that they do it but everyone can’t help but do it. So people are trying to use this RPG hack to overcome procrastination.

Khan Academy seems to have adopted this philosophy. There’s also this new (to me) site called HabitRPG which embodies that philosophy to the most literal extent that I’ve seen so far.

I’ve adopted my own set of tools, prior to finding out about HabitRPG and KhanAcademy, that aims to accomplish this in my own life.
I use a combination of customized Excel sheets (pics below) and a MindJet map to track my progress on various goals.

Having a visual representation of my progress really motivates me.

(Each cell in the above pics represents a section within a chapter. As I complete a section, I add a value to the cell which changes it from Grey to coloured.)
I think it looks pretty slick :wink:
The progress bar and percentage display are automatically updated when I change a cell.

I’ve begun this myself recently too. However, although yours does look much nicer, it’s stuck to the digital format meaning its only viewable when you choose to view it. Whereas, for me, I prefer to have it always present, so mine is hand-drawn and stuck on my wall - definitely doesn’t look as slick but there’s no avoiding it either when I’m procrastinating. Basically, it’s a Big Brother on my wall shaming me into action.

The thing with RPGs, the reason why they’re addictive, is that the results of your activity are more direct and apparent in real life. Once you’ve attained a certain level, stuff that was difficult earlier is now much easier. Real life, unfortunately, isn’t as one-dimensional as that. Stuff I learn I also forget. And fighting monsters rarely ever gets less demanding or easier. But it’s basically a reward-type system, so that is what I try to replicate in my own scheme.

I have a chart with a number of activities that I’m trying to develop. Each activity has 10 blocks, each block being 1 point, a full line being 10 (obviously). In order to check off 1 block I must complete the required task e.g. study for 1 hour. Then, I have another diagram, a ladder type thing. Each step being 10 points, culminating in 100. So, when I complete a row (gaining 10 points), I check off one of the steps on the ladder. Once I get to 100, I get the carrot, a reward of some type. Thus, it provides motivation and also allows me to practice a bit of self-restraint (previously lacking) when I wish to buy something.

It’ll need tweaking along the way, one problem I foresee is that certain activites will end up getting more action than others, so I’ll maybe make the easier ones less rewarding e.g. study for 2 hours before I can check it off.

Essentially, I feel like these kind of things need some real-world rewards. Superficial materialist that I am. :smiley: