Ravatar_TeamBKALAs I get older I notice that it’s not just video games that have grown by leaps and bounds and that have headed into mainstream, but all sorts of things that turn “gamification” into a major hit. There are games to get chores done, games to make productivity and tasks easier, games for fun, work, and pretty much everything under the sun. Competition (whether it’s between yourself and someone else, or just competition between yourself) is a strong motivating factor, and it encourages us to push forward and better ourselves in whatever it is we’re trying to do better in.

With so much gamification in our day to day lives though, when do we get a chance to relax from it all?

Right now the 2016 Summer Olympic Games are going on. I watch every year, proud of the athletes who are representing Canada, and yes, eager to follow up on the political mumbo jumbo that constantly goes along with this event. This year while the games are ongoing I’m also participating in the “Ravellenic Games” which is an event hosted by Ravelry for the love of all things fiber. Basically you enter projects into categories, cross a finish line, get awarded medals, and qualify for laurals. You can join a team, and in some cases those teams have prizes for people who earn medals. It’s a neat way to motivate and push yourself into completing projects if you tend to be a more relaxed craft person. This is my first year participating, and the sheer number of people partaking in the event is pretty astounding. I belong to ‘Team BKAL” which is my beginner’s knit-along group. So far I’ve submitted entries to two events with a third being completed today. I’m hoping to complete a total of 8 events, but it’s only a 16 day period so it really does take motivation and persistence to keep up with it all.

In this case, for me, gamification of real life works. It DOES motivate me to push myself harder, to keep on task, to work towards my goal. In some cases gamification works in the opposite way. It doesn’t motivate me at all and I find it awkward and annoying. I don’t think that all of life benefits from this type of scenario and I think in some cases we even go a bit too far.

Having games in our life is great, being motivated and helping us overcome hurdles is something I hope I constantly encourage – but sometimes we do need things to be a little more quiet. Take time to look around and enjoy and appreciate what we have without it being a competition even if it’s just a competition within ourselves. Find the balance.