“Happiness, success, and good health can coexist with all kinds of negative emotions. You don’t have to get rid of negative emotions, you just have to balance them out.”
– Dr. Jane McGonigal
Jane McGonigal (@avantgame), PhD, is a senior researcher at the Institute for the Future and the author of The New York Times bestseller Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. Her work has been featured in The Economist, Wired, and The New York Times. She has been called one of the “top ten innovators to watch” by BusinessWeek and one of the “100 most creative people in business” by Fast Company. Her TED talks on games have been viewed more than ten million times.
In this conversation, we dig into everything from recovering from head trauma to how you can use Candy Crush Saga to lose weight. Not enough? How about using Tetris to prevent PTSD, or using Call of Duty to increase empathy?
Her latest book is SuperBetter, which offers a revolutionary (science-based) approach for getting stronger, happier, and more resilient. I’ve been testing it, and it works. Not only am I feeling better, but I’m having more fun.
As adults, we often lose track of play. My hope is that this episode will help you to reclaim it. It’s not frivolous; it can help you get a lot more done with less stress.
- Listen to it on iTunes.
- Stream by clicking here
- Download as an MP3 by right-clicking here and choosing “save as”.
Want to hear another podcast on the connection between health and video game use? — Listen to my conversation with Adam Gazzely, the maverick of brain optimization (stream below or right-click here to download):
Want to hear another podcast relating to the use of psychedelics in health care? – Listen to my conversation with Jim Fadiman. In this episode we discuss risks, micro-dosing, ibogaine, and more (stream below or right-click here to download):
This episode is sponsored by Athletic Greens. I get asked all the time, “If you could only use one supplement, what would it be?” My answer is, inevitably, Athletic Greens. It is my all-in-one nutritional insurance. I recommended it in The 4-Hour Body and did not get paid to do so. Get 50% off your order at Athletic Greens.com/Tim
This podcast is also brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. Did you know I used 99Designs to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body? Here are some of the impressive results. Click this link and get a free $99 upgrade. Give it a test run…
QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What challenge in your life could you build a quest around? Who will be your ally and what quests will you identify? Please let me know in the comments.
Scroll below for links and show notes…
Selected Links from the Episode
- SuperBetter by Jane McGonigal
- Learn more about The Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, CA
- Watch Jane rock Stephen Colbert’s world on The Colbert Report
- Learn more about Candy Crush Saga
- Do you know someone with cancer who is being treated with chemotherapy? Have them play Re-Mission. It helps people to avoid missing a dose (note: more than 80% of cancer returning is due to missed doses.)
- Learn more about HopeLab, the team behind Re-Mission
- Finite and Infinite Games by James Carse
- Suffering is Optional by Cheri Huber – You can listen to her podcast, Open Air
- Watch G4M3RS
- Watch King of Kong, the hilarious mockumentary
- The $100 or less BABYBJORN baby carrier
- Connect with Jane McGonigal:
- How Jane answers the question, “What do you do?” [5:55]
- Examples of real world problems that are solved with games or by gamers [7:15]
- The story behind Jane’s concussion and how her career evolved from the accident [10:35]
- How Jane climbed herself out of the hole of suicidal thoughts [16:55]
- Action steps for using gaming lessons and applying them to real life [20:05]
- How to build a quest into your life [27:30]
- The health effects of Candy Crush Saga [31:35]
- The health benefits of Tetris and Call of Duty [39:20]
- On post-traumatic growth and post-ecstatic growth [49:05]
- On the use of psychedelics to simulate traumatic experiences [54:45]
- The threat of game addiction – how to not sink 60+ hours a week into World of Warcraft [57:45]
- How to avoid potentially addictive games [1:04:05]
- Jane’s current gaming workout schedule [1:08:35]
- Who comes to mind when you think successful? [1:13:15]
- The story behind the Oprah “Thank You” Game [1:19:45]
- Favorite documentaries [1:20:45]
- What purchase of $100 or less has been most valuable? [1:22:25]
- Morning rituals [1:24:30]
- Carry-over effects of watching sports/games to performing better [1:27:00]
- If you could have one billboard anywhere, where would it be and what would it say? [1:29:30]
- Jane McGonigal’s one request for the audience [1:31:45]
Elements of Creating a Game to Influence a Real Life Outcome
- Develop a secret identity
- Recruit allies
- Have your allies give you quests
- Collect and activate power-ups
- Identify and defeat bad guys
Top Therapeutic Games
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 500 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.