Sacrifice For More Motivation (The Noble Sacrifice)

You can’t do everything. So you have to choose.

Some say you have to prioritize. But does prioritizing actually involve choosing? Does it involving making the really hard choice? The essential choice?

Sacrifice, instead, forces you to choose.

We already know the power of meaningful choices from Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback. When we have to to choose between two irreconcilable co goods, or two really bad bads, the choice becomes meaningful. Core Drives are pulling us in and other Anti Core Drives are pushing us away!

Suddenly our agency matters. Paths diverge. Your future changes.

This might sound a touch dramatic, but if nothing else, life seems to be all about sacrifice.

On the flip side of every decision you make is something you didn’t do, didn’t get to do, didn’t have the time or energy or motivation to do.

And of course, some choices even involve further sacrifice.

The decision to learn the trade of an astrophysicist may involve sacrificing time with the family across many years. The same could be said for an aspiring all-time-great novelist.

The Noble Sacrifice

Sacrifice is often left out of discussions of top-performing women in the workplace. Many women, and rightfully so, choose to sacrifice career to have kids, raise their children, and build a family.

That is a noble sacrifice.

“If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than ever before.”

That, for many people over and over again, is the sacrifice that, on one hand limits their career, but on the other, augments the total quality of their life.
So let us not too quickly dismiss with sacrifice.

Sacrifice seems to augment our motivations. It seems to make the things we did choose and will choose to do even more powerful, because the sacrifice itself is of the many things that could have also been done, that were left undone, just so the pursuit of what mattered most could be achieved.

Maybe more sacrifice should be included in our motivational designs, and more human empathy employed tho to our users, who are also humans, in making the tough choices they face. We are all making a sacrifice at almost every moment of our day.

For more thought-provoking design and gamification discussions prompted by input from a vibrant community of thinkers, check out Octalysis Prime.

Why Fear is Contagious

Fear is contagious

Why do we wriggle with fear based on someone else’s assessment? Why do we care so much about so-called experts’ opinions on what to fear (and when and where to fear it)?

In discussion of newsworthy events , it is common to hear borrowed phrases. ‘Did you know the new president will have his hands on the nuclear codes?’ was a commonly held fear circulating the internet in the recent American presidential election. But why did so many people accept this fear? All former US presidents (post-development of nuclear arms) had or held this same power.

What experts were implicitly arguing was that the president-elect had a different sensibility that somehow made him more dangerous; he could take us a step closer than someone like JFK did to nuclear armageddon.

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Overcome Your Cognitive Biases: Expert Analysis of ‘Super Forecasting’

Read and written by Erik van Mechelen

Wake up to your cognitive biases and you will see more

There are many ways to learn about your cognitive biases. You might start by reading Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow, or the scientific paper he wrote in 1974 with his friend and colleague Amos Tversky, Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases’, where the pair shared their observations and experiments across a number of biases humans all share.

Judgment under uncertainty.

You could also notice these biases in action.

Humans are goal-oriented. We develop an aim. In Octalysis speak, this is our Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment putting a fire under us, sparking us into motion. (Other Core Drives of Octalysis will play into our emotions, too, of course.)

But our belief in how successful we will be in achieving our goal comes  down to a matter of prediction under uncertainty. Here enter several key biases, among them recency bias, overconfidence, and what Philip E. Tetlock calls ‘tip of the nose thinking.’

Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner have written about a unique way to practice getting over our cognitive biases in prediction, through Super Forecasting. In their story about a small group of super forecasters who defeated IARPAs own government-backed researchers in an extended game of geopolitical forecasting, the authors provide an architect’s blueprint for starting one’s own journey of forecasting. Because life is full of prediction. And wouldn’t it be better if you could improve your ability to do so?

As Kahneman said, what you see is all there is.

Wake up. Try to see more.

Here’s a bonus cognitive bias. (Many more to follow as we go through the book, Super Forecasting.)

Your eyes follow the symbols in this sentence. You can’t help making meaning out of them. Why are you trying to make meaning out of them? This sentence is just a pattern of symbols.

Step back even more. What are you bringing to this reading. Why are you so eager for answers?

Stay tuned for chapter by chapter analysis of ‘Super Forecasting’ by Philip E Tetlock and Gardner.

This and other expert analysis on the top research in psychology and behavior can be found at

How FITology Used Running to Create an Alternate Reality Adventure

How can you engage your employees to a common Corporate Social Responsibility cause – in a fun and healthy fashion? Here’s how FITology created an alternate reality game to help an organization raise funds for charitable cause.

Running is the new craze

Running is the new craze today. Nearly every 35 – 45 year old white collar employee who wants to get started on her / his fitness journey starts by running. In most of the metropolitan cities around the world short and long runs are organized every fortnight or month. There are communities, organizations and associations which run together. Raising money for charitable causes via long-distance races has become a fairly common, BIG thing.

We wanted to work with this opportunity. We wanted to raise as much charity possible from a group of employees working for a multinational company who live and work all over the world. And we wanted to do it on the backdrop of a Marathon. The question was how do we design a gameful experience to motivate these multicultural, global employees.

We listed our limitations first – why might people not want to donate –

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Substituting a Hard Question for an Easier One: Daniel Kahneman’s ‘Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow’

This article is written by Erik van Mechelen in “conversation” with Yu-kai Chou and Daniel Kahneman. 

Substituting for Easier Questions

Do you like Yu-kai’s glasses? You might substitute an easier question, “Do I like Yu-kai?” then quickly answer “Yes I like your glasses” and move on with your day.

In the introduction to Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow, Kahneman describes the process by which we trade hard questions for cognitively easier ones, a common behavioral and cognitive process.

On page 12, Kahneman describes a Chief Investment Officer invests tens of millions of dollars in Ford, because he goes to an automotive show, and is was impressed with the cars. “He likes the cars, he likes the company, and he likes the idea of owning its stock. From what we know about the accuracy of stock picking, it is reasonable to believe that he did not know what he was doing” because the one question should be “Is the stock currently underpriced.”

But this is where Yu-kai disagrees:

Continue reading Substituting a Hard Question for an Easier One: Daniel Kahneman’s ‘Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow’