yukai chou gamification

Why Anti Core Drives Often Derail Progress on Your Goals

In Octalysis Prime, we often get member questions during our weekly  Town Halls. While we can’t share all member-discovered insights, here is an important introductory concept to understanding the Core Drives…the Anti Core Drives. For more on Anti Core Drives, read this article or this one about Loss & Avoidance specifically related to building ecosystems.

Student: Can anyone share examples of anti-core drives? I read they cause the player to not complete the Desired Action but I still don’t quite understand…

Yu-kai Chou: Yes! That’s what these Town Hall meetings are about!

Let’s say Leo loves music, and playing music is the Desired Action.

Then the Core Drives that motivate towards the Desired Action might be Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback and even Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning & Calling.

However, when he doesn’t do the Desired Action (like working on his programmer job), that would be an “Undesired Actions” in this context.

So anything that motivated him towards the Undesired Action is an Anti Core Drive.

For instance, if he did it because of financial stability, the anti Core Drive is CD4. If he did it for the prestige, it is CD2. If he did it because people around him influenced him, then CD5

But all those CDs are motivating him away from the actual “Desired Actions”

Student: Ohhh ok! wow very cool go it thank you so much!!!

Yu-kai Chou: But now he wants to get back to it, because he suddenly experienced more CD68 that reinforces 1 and 3 (and that motivation is working to overpower the anti Core Drives. CD68 is basically a reminder that life is short and he has a very limited time to fulfill his CD1 purpose and CD3 drive to create.

Student 2: Wow that’s very interesting, there is a lot to be said around Core Drives vs Anti Core Drives especially when it comes to mental health and addiction which is the gamification project I am working on. Sometimes people do what they know they should not, or what they know is self-harming and know that they will feel guilty about it afterwards, but still act on bad behavior. It’s almost like the Core and Anti Core Drive are constantly clashing. At a certain point, it’s almost as if the core and Anti Core Drive cancel each other out and the person could find him or herself in a state of inertia not knowing what to do? I’m wondering if this could ever be possible or I guess the real question is, how to increase the influence of the core drive and lessen the influence of the Anti Core Drive with effective gamification techniques so that the person does not act on unwanted or self-harming behavior…

Yu-kai Chou: The issue is that, Black Hat usually takes priority over White Hat, unless the person is very wise or had been burnt out by too much Black Hat

So in the shorter run, Black Hat wins the tug of war

Also, extrinsic tends to win with coal oriented people. Intrinsic tends to win with people who like to enjoy the moment but strive less towards the future

You can design appropriately according to these high level principles

Student 2: OK I love this!!!! Thanks so much this is very helpful @thechou

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