BJ Fogg Behavior Model: B=MAT(P) Extended, Part 1 of 2

BJ Fogg recently updated his model slightly. This video delves deeper into BJ Fogg’s behavioral model.

Here is a lightly edited transcript of the above video.

Today, we’re going to go deeper into BJ Fogg’s behavioral model.

And so if you recall, the behavior model is:

Behavior = Motivation + Ability + Trigger (Prompt)

I might interchange these terms, but I personally liked trigger better. Sometimes, it’s possible we can stick with the new word, but it just depends on what we’re looking at. So we’re going to go deeper into those concepts and understand the elements of motivation, ability, and triggers. 


I want to start with Ability. It’s very interesting because BJ Fogg throughout his paper calls it the element of Simplicity, with emphasis on ability. So he entertained simplicity ability because most of the time, having high ability means that the design is simple. It’s usually not necessarily the cost that is prohibitive but it’s the complexity or difficulty that reduces ability.

High Ability = Simple Design

He also says that simplicity comes from six different sources, number one, it comes from time.


So if something takes a lot of time, and everyone thinks time is a limited resource, right, they don’t have enough time to do it. Then they feel like they have lowered ability or decreased simplicity.


The second component is money. If somebody is really really expensive. They just can’t afford to do it or they feel like it’s just too expensive for them that obviously get, then they have lower ability to take the desired action because it is expensive or, in a sense, it lowers simplicity,

Physical Effort

The third one is physical effort. Even the thought of a tremendous amount of physical lowers ability.

Sometimes, an action as normal as opening a jar actually requires so much work and we just feel like, “Oh, it’s very very hard” so it makes us not want to open these jars as much.

Brain Cycles

Another common component is actually pretty interesting and less intuitive: BJ Fogg talks about Brain Cycles. If it requires more brain cycles to think about something to like, “Oh, I get it!” or “Hm, what does it mean, I’m kind of confused,” that cognitive dissonance actually causes people to lower their ability. This makes sense that it has decreased simplicity and therefore behavior is less likely to happen.

Social Deviance

If action A represents the social norm and Action B is far away from action A on a map, then Action B represents a deviation from the social norm. Doing so requires more effort. And ability decreases.


The final one the six components of Ability is Non-Routine. If you’re doing something again and again, it becomes a habit, doing something that’s away from your routine. So you have less ability because it’s so far from that.

From the Octalysis Perspective

Let's examine BJ Fogg from the Octalysis perspective
Let’s examine from the Octalysis perspective

Without time and money, the Anti-Core Drive 8: Loss & Avoidance motivates people away from certain tasks. And this must be overcome by other Core Drives.

When it comes to Brain Cycles, the Anti-Core Drive is Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment. If touching a product experience makes you confused. Then, doing anything else would make you feel smarter.

Social deviance incorporates Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness as an Anti-Core Drive.

Training the Stallion Mind to Unleash Creativity, Part 1 of 2

Here is a training video from Octalysis Prime about creativity and developing your Stallion Mind for those of you who want to let the wild horse inside you run free to make yourself even more creative.

Here is a partial excerpt from the video:

Today we’re going to explore a topic, I call the stallion mind. How we train that stallion mind is about unleashing creativity. Now, this all came about when I’m working with my team and I’m thinking about how do you become more creative. I’m seeing people come with ideas but I feel like well, they’re kind of just the same thing that we did last time. It’s not very creative. So I was wondering how to help people become more creative. What is the process actually prove that it is something you’re born with your you can actually improve it?

I believe, we’re always born with certain talents certain things right, just like we talked about in 10,000 Hours of Play you got the Talent Triangle, but then we also have the skill triangle. There are things that we can actively work on more so than others. I’m thinking about if creativity can be one of those things. In another sense, this is about unlocking Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback within us.

How Creativity Works

There’s another aspect because we know about creativity. I mentioned it is just how we connect pieces in the past, together with things were we already promised before like you know taking things that we absorb and rearranging the order and putting together in a way that no one has done before. No one has seen that order, potentially, but it actually kind of made sense. and so that blends two different skill sets that I call example recalling. An example recalling is the ability to think about example on the spot. And this has been a very, very very useful skill for me to work with my clients

I’ve always been super impressed with how amazing our subconscious brain is again, it can be. In Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman calls you know the fast brain, System 1, and a slow brain, System 2, with the fast brain being more distinctive, but not precise, things like that.

So usually when I’m telling you the sentences like the sentence come out of my mouth in my head I’m not thinking about that sentence I’m not thinking about every word I was about to say, and then say it out. I already knew what I was going to say my fast brain already processes and I just have to execute on what my mind is thinking, sometimes when people ask me a question, I’ll immediately respond: Well, there’s three components to your questions and, or at least to the answers every components right and in my head I wasn’t thinking about with words like, Oh, well there’s, there’s this, and there’s this, and there’s this.

The Power of the Subconscious Brain

The subconscious brain is very very powerful and a lot of our creativity comes from there. And that’s why I kind of like to in this context call it stallion mind because it’s like a wild horse, running in the wild and running really fast and I think it’s the right type of mentality. And as you guys know I like to create fun names and maybe even cool names that have been attached to an abstract concept because I think things that have fun names make it more enjoyable to think about, play around and interact with.

So we got the stallion mind where things happen really quickly, maybe it’s not precise not mathematical but it things really quickly finds things in the past, and it really allows to be very creative, very quickly, as you know some people when they’re creative right, it’s like boom boom boom idea what to do, under five minutes you’re like oh so many ideas, and then some people are like, even maybe they’re very intelligent right but they’re like, what’s the new think outside the box, instead of the new idea what’s the new idea was nearly they’re really good at analyzing existing ideas, but they just are very good at come with a lot of random ideas.

People feel like that’s might be a personality trait. Some people are born creative their personality is creative and some people are just more logical analytical and my personal belief is, based on all the years I’ve been studying how the brain works behavioral science is that, again, we all have that stallion mind inside of us. But our logical brain suppresses it.

The Logical Brain Wants Control

The logical brain wants to be in control we want to understand what’s going on we want to know what we’re talking about. We want to know the logic we’re trained in school, to really focus on logic and execution not mindlessly exploring all these things

Okay, I’m just gonna stick to my conscious brain, the logical thing that the teachers put in front of me, and dealing with logical thinking I’m going to suppress the stallion mind.

This is my theory based on what I understand, at least I haven’t found any proven science that talks that complete system one system to data from there’s a lot of supporting surrounding stuff there’s enough, I haven’t seen any science that directly says this is the answer. But I think, because the implications of it can be really, really useful and helpful impact all right and if people are actually able to, let’s say, train the stallion and make the stallion better and therefore people are better at creativity and example recalling, I do want to share this in case you know this does end up these these for you because I know it’s been useful for me. And everyone’s different so how do we train the style and how do we let go and let it run.

Food Heroes Octalysis Prime Design Challenge, Part 2 (2019)

Two years ago, we sent Food Heroes Design Challenge Winner Mayur Kapur to Shanghai for a week to work with JUCCCE on a major campaign to improve children’s eating habits and simultaneously boost the health of the planet. 

What to expect from the Food Heroes Design Challenge

This year, we have just begun Food Heroes Design Challenge, Part 2, where once again one skillful Octalysis designer will win their ticket to Shanghai all expenses paid to see how their design is implemented by the JUCCCE team. This could be you!

Free Trip to Shanghai
Free Trip to Shanghai

Normally, our design challenges are exclusively for Octalysis Prime members, however, we are so excited about the impact Food Heroes can have that we wanted to open this challenge to the gamification public!

This is a phenomenal opportunity to test your design skills, help children, and help the planet.

What is the background of this Food Heroes Design Challenge?

Here’s Peggy Liu to tell you about the challenge

Watch Video

We are so excited to see what you and other talented designers around the world come up with.

Maybe YOU will be helping kids eat healthier, helping the planet, and winning yourself a trip to Shanghai!

Want more info?

Go no further than this Q&A video hosted by Peggy Liu & Yu-kai Chou:

What are the Challenge Details?

Here’s a few slides describing the Challenge:

Are you sure there isn’t more information?

Good things come to those who ask!

Check out this Notion project and Dropbox link to see additional details shared by the JUCCCE team:

Food Heroes Challenge Assets
Notion Page with Project Details (and a video from David Nabarro!)

David Nabarro speaks about Food Heroes

Submit by:

Please send all submissions to Erik van Mechelen by December 20, 2019.

How to Reach Octalysis Flow, Part 2 of 3

Octalysis flow can be yours! This continues the series on Flow based on this pioneer’s work.

To view the previous post, go here.

Octalysis Flow

When we look at the human brain, we notice patterns between individuals involved in creative activity. I wanted to understand this and describe it from an Octalysis lense.


The next component is that we feel a sense of autonomy over our actions. This relates to Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback. We feel we have many choices, you know, our choices matter which is what we’re engaged in making those choices and figure out what works and of course that feedback directly makes you adjust and then potentially you’re overcoming the difficult challenges. 

Focus on Yourself (and Others)

Another aspect that’s very interesting is that when we are in Flow our focus isn’t on ourselves. So if you’re so focused on yourself, what you’re doing, or how do you look, you are having something like an extrinsic motivation mindset. It’s also harder, because we’re not immersed in the task itself, we are thinking about ourselves, what other people think and how the task is and so that makes the task a little hard. 


When an experience is timeless it might lean towards a Flow state,   which is very interesting component right because it’s a little bit different from what a lot of other things are some timeless experience which means that you will enjoy this when you’re fine you enjoy this when you’re 20 you joined this when you’re at, and also people 500years ago. Enjoy. But youstill enjoy today so that experience is timeless Hence, it just really brings you into that flow state. Finally, the experiences auto telic, which is a unique word but in a quick summary my interpretation is that all talent just means that you’re not focusing on yourself you’re alsofocusing outside of yourself which is again,kind of like the one for your folks herself, you caring about others you’re, you’re being unaware of your, your own present

How to Reach Flow within the Octalysis Framework, Part 1 of 3

Let’s put the Octalysis Framework in the context of Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow Theory.

What follows is a rough transcription of the above video. Yu-kai speaks quickly, so fast that even artificial intelligence can’t always keep up!

Hello Octalysis Primers, today we’re going to talk about another psychological fundamentals video. The Flow Theory.

So, as we are learning about the Octalysis framework and and how to apply that to our daily lives and gamification design we also go upstream and learn about different motivational psychology concepts and one of the most iconic that I haven’t talked much about, besides in the brief Udemy course, is the Flow Theory. And the Flow Theory is created by a famous psychologist, called Mikalyi Csikszentmihalyi.
One of the more challenging task and my job is to know how to pronounce his name. I’m still not confident that I spell his name really well without Google correcting my typing, but it is very influential for inspiring so I wanted to spend more time on it. I just want to talk about how the Flow Theory came about.

So Mikalyi Czikscentmihalyi wants to understand how people are feeling and how happy they’re related to 20 or 30 years ago, gave a lot of students beepers, and basically they’ll just go about doing the things in their daily lives, and every once while the beeper will ring, and then they’ll be typing in what did they do, and how do they feel about it.
He realized that people are actually happier when they seem to be too challenging tasks, and they seem to be doing creative things. So he started writing about this concept called flow. Basically, flow state became one of the staples of psychology. And so basically, when a person enters the flow state, they lose a sense of time, they lose the sense of self. They’re so focused, and they feel happy, and they don’t like to be interrupted. That’s why a lot of times people say gamers are grumpy.

Grumpy gamer

When people are in the flow state get interupted, they could get grumpy. By the way, of the beeper is called the Experience Sampling Method for your knowledge, but then even in this flow theory and talks about that there’s nine ways that we can achieve flow, at least in the original.
So first of all, through our bodies, which is dancing, self expression, but then later on 2008 he wants to make it very clear that there’s actually kind of a difference between something being pleasurable and enjoyable. Pleasurable sometimes involves things like sex or eating good food or whatnot and those tend to not bring you into the flow state per se.

But then there’s things that are enjoyable.

Which make you go ah ha! I’m feeling challenged, creativity, and those actually make me feel in the flow state.

So actually later on, he mentions that in terms of body it could be more on the pleasurable side and it may not necessarily lead to flow. But then he talked about how the mind gets into flow which is solving hard problems, we’re solving a problem that’s very difficult. We’re just really engaged, we haven’t given up yet we really think we have a chance.
Also, through our memories. He mentions that sometimes we are thinking about good memories in the past reliving that experience that can put you in a flow state too.

Also contemplating philosophical questions, so if you go to some of the Purpose videos in the Purpose Life Field.

Some are deep, or there’s no real answer but the exploration and the journey is the thing that is engaging part. A lot of times people end up being the flow state.

He always talks about sometimes communication can lead people into the flow state. I don’t know if you experienced before where you startlingly spend time with a friend that you haven’t seen for a long time. You can talk for hours and three four or five hours go by. Sometimes I have a stay over with a friend. And we’ll just talk we’re just talking, talking, I’m tired and then it’s like five or six am and the sun is coming up.

You feel really engaged in conversation with someone else.

Writing is another one, you’re expressing yourself, your thoughts, and you also reach some type of flow state I would say when I write, I am pretty engaged and I’m in the flow state, all times right these days in the meeting a lot of videos but when I write, I actually enjoyed it immensely.
Lifelong learning can put you in flow, which I thought is very interesting right because other things are like short bursts lifelong learning is a long term thing but basically if you are learning throughout your life, every day you’re growing you’re learning, you actually are living in flow. And so, you feel happier you’re growing more and I think that’s what you guys are doing here in Octalysis Prime.

It’s definitely here for the sake of lifelong learning application, Neil deGrasse Tyson, the famous astrophysicist he actually said that the way he sees purpose in his life, is that every day to learn something. And every one or two weeks, he tries to get his mind blown. So, That’s kind of achieving flow state.

Next, Csikszentmihalyi talks about how potentially a job can be so satisfying, that if you believe the flow state especially if it is gamified, we talk about the components of that, how the job, bring you into the flow state. I think it does connect to some of the things earlier like solving for problems, things like that but as a separate thing.

And then finally solitude would be the final way to achieve flow, being by yourself contemplating thinking, for me, maybe it’s designing that, actually, which is going to flow and meditating is for me just quiet meditating is painful and time goes by very very slowly so I’m definitely not in flow. What I’m just trying to have simple, but when I am seeking original thoughts, right just contemplating by myself, so many things.
So those are the ways that we can achieve flow.

Now, how do we know when flow has been achieved?

They don’t all have to be there but he says number one is that the task is just a we believe that we can like I said something difficult right it is. It’s like, maybe not as hard. He talks about, we are able to focus all of our effort attention on the task so what’s going on here that it’s very very difficult to achieve that flow state. Remember I said when you are interrupted from flow, you actually feel grumpy so that means you are fully in attention, concentrating, you haven’t been interrupted. Right.
Number three is very interesting our goals are clearly defined, we know we’re trying to go for, and that pushing slow. The fourth is we received immediate feedback, which includes course correction so we know the goal, and we have direction we see feedback and we’re adjusting right. Obviously, that’s a lot of time how games are designed.

That’s the way a lot of games put people in the flow state. Now, I feel like some of it may not connect to some of the things we mentioned above, which is like sometimes we get philosophical questions you can say you’re trying to figure it out.

I don’t know if it’s feedback or say so I feel like, not all these things have a clear goal, even reliving memories I would say that isn’t a clear goal. These are not describing some of these experiences. And this is where we understand this intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation. Having a goal is a bit more Development and Accomplishment, dealing challenges is also Development/Accomplishment, having autonomy, giving people a sense of choice, that’s more intrinsic, right but that doesn’t necessarily mean we have flow.

So I think, with a goal of, you can achieve flow state but that’s not necessarily like all these components. They’re just identifying there’s patterns, and other components that are time spent on the task seem effortless to us, it’s not like grinding. It just flows right that’s what’s called the flow state. It just flows, feels natural if this harmonious. There’s no resistance to it we just feel like one with the universe and our tasks. And it’s just poetry even in a lot of the ancient Chinese martial art novels or whatnot, you know there’s a swordsman that he’s learning all these sorts of techniques, and then at one point, he just becomes one with a sword he doesn’t recognize that He exists in the sporting environment. He’s just being in this sword, waving poetry.

How Diablo III’s Broken Auction House Defeated Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment

How can you balance an economy?

In the early 2000s when Diablo II came out, the internet was not so connected.

People would farm items and sell them on eBay for real money (the black market). This was against Blizzard’s terms of use.

We know why people spend money to buy virtual goods.

Say someone spent 500 hours for a virtual good. And you want it. What would you be tempted to do? You take your savings (labor from the past) and exchange it for those 500 hours. Spend money to save time.

In Diablo III, the developers tried to go behind the players’ back to benefit from this player activity. They designed a real-money auction house and made Blizzard the middleman.

Of course! People will love this!

Yu-kai actually knew people who worked to make hundreds or low thousands of dollars each month as a side business. Essentially, they were mining Diablo III for virtual goods.

Biggest Fail in Blizzard’s History?

But this was one of the biggest fails in Blizzard history.

Apparently, the real money auction house was destroying the game.

How could this be?

The failure of the real money auction house resulted because of CD2, the LACK of CD2.

If you can buy something, it takes away from the struggle and strategy to attain it, and actually detracts from its value.

Better to be Awesome at One Game Than Mediocre at Many

Yu-kai recently provided an update to his famous Real Life RPG series, which is a system he discovered as a student to treat life as a game.

Yu-kai’s lifestyle gamification system has evolved from Real Life RPG to the 10KHP system (10,000 Hours of Play).

This approach lets you see opportunities as part of the game of life. With this philosophy, Yu-kai was able to choose his own game and make progress within it.

The problem with society today

One problem with society is that increasingly young people don’t know what to do.

As a result, older people don’t like their jobs.

Teenagers, as they approach adulthood, end up doing what their parents want them to do. There are just too many choices.

Whereas in a game, actions are more directed and manageable. If I’m level 37, I need to plan a path toward level 38, and so on.

Progress is just a matter of choosing how to get there within the constraints of the game.

In real life, too many people don’t appreciate their jobs or like their work, and people are less happy and living for the weekend.

But don’t we make money to increase our quality of life?

Instead, we spend so much time working that our quality of life is very intertwined with our work.

How to avoid becoming an NPC

One danger in life is becoming an NPC, or a non-player character.

NPCs generally have an explicit and static function within a game.

They sell potions, weapons, or divulge information at key moments to the hero.

A lot of people are becoming NPCs, meeting a basic functionality instead of pursuing their potential.

You can tell someone is in danger of becoming an NPC when you ask, “What’s new?” and they respond:

I’m still working the same old boring job.

While NPCs are reliable and consistent, they never change locations until the plot requires it.

Meanwhile, the HERO is always going out, taking on new quests, learning and growing.

Never stagnant, rarely passive, the hero is on a journey.

Would you rather life become meaningless?

You might argue that NPCs aren’t in danger, they don’t have to worry. But I think life as an NPC is not as exciting, adventurous, or meaningful.

The first step is to pick your game.