Gamification Expert &

Behavioral Designer

yukai chou gamification

Lifestyle Gamification: Having a Strong Core is your most Valuable Asset

Gamification Strong Core

Your Core determines your Life

It all starts here. Your Core. Without your core, you are easily swayed by others, you become a product of conformity, and you cannot be a leader. Your Core is what stops you from being an NPC (Non-playable character) and allows you to become the Hero. (Here’s my hero btw)

Have you ever talked to someone and you instantly felt that there was something about the person that made him/her respectable or even intimidating? And that person may not be very physically large, particularly good looking, and he hasn’t said enough things for you to truly conclude that he is highly intelligent. Nevertheless, it seems like he is really smart, knows what he is talking about, and you can really rely on him. That is usually because he has a strong Core. He believes and trusts in himself, and that conviction spreads to others.

My own story on Lifestyle Gamification and Discovering the Core

When I was little, I moved a lot (I still do). Whenever I get into a new environment, it’s usually an uphill battle in all aspects of my life. I don’t speak the language, I’m behind in school, and there were cultural shocks so people thought I was a jerk or a joke. And after I worked really hard and finally got caught up to everyone on everything, I would be moved to an entire new environment where I sucked again.

Now this process wasn’t fun growing up, but I learned a lot of things. I think it taught me a lot of useful lessons in becoming an entrepreneur, but in this post I specifically want to share what I learned about the Core and how it affects everything.

In the earlier days of my childhood, I’ve always been trying to be like others, always trying to fit in. I was coreless, and wanted to be accepted by the kids in that new environment. I soon learned that what’s polite and correct in what place could be offensive and rude in another. In my past attempts to become accepted, I’ve played the roll of the clown that everyone laughs at,  or the kid who doesn’t mind being bullied. It was not ideal, but at least I was accepted and played a part in that social community.

At one point in life (though a bit late), an epiphany hit me: “why should I try so hard just to be like others? They’re not necessarily better. Why don’t I just think up an ideal person I want to be, and just be that person?”

From that point on, I decided to live my life and behave not as how others would accept me as, but what I think is right. I wanted to be someone who is sociable, helpful, confident, direct, has compassion towards others, and someone with integrity.

Having a strong core helps you obtain trust and respect from others

After I made that big decision in life, something changed. I noticed that all these people that I tried so hard to be like in the past started to lean on me instead. It turns out that most people in society are not sure of themselves and do not know what to believe in. They are swaying within their own core, and once they see that you are solid and firm, they believe in you instead.

So things started to change for me. Once I started to really believe in myself, I noticed that more and more people began to trust me and respected me (how much of that is deserved is another topic). For most of the years, I didn’t understand this dynamic with the Core. I just thought, “Maybe I just look trustworthy or I look smarter than I really am…”

This is until I met other people with extremely strong cores. There are times when I meet “cool people who are confident about themselves”, which usually are pretty popular folks. But then in rare occasions, I simply meet some “impressive” people who for some reason pounds my chest with a lot of pressure when I talk to them.

When I tried to figure out what they do to have this effect on me, I realized that it’s a very subtle thing, but just the way they hold themselves and speak instantly creates an aura that I have no choice but to acknowledge and react to.

After those experiences, I started to notice the strength of everyone’s core. Some people, when they talk, you know they are trying to get your approval, and their core is really a bit external of their bodies. While others you can tell that they are confident with their core inside of them, but it’s not particularly strong, so a person with a stronger core could easily influence them.

After a while, being able to pay attention to everyone’s core allows you to make decisions in how you want to interact with others. But most importantly, it allows you to discover, understand, and build your own core.

The Core is not just for show, but for essence.

Up to this point, I keep talking about how having a strong core can influence how others treat you, but in reality it’s something that gives you internal strength, instead of external benefits.

Having a strong core allows you to be more emotionally stable. Because you have full trust in yourself and are firm within, you won’t freak out and act irrationally to uncontrollable situations. You’re able to just take in information, process, analyze, and decide on the best action.

Also, having a strong core prevents you from feeling jealous of others or fall from peer pressure. You know your value, and you know there are things you can’t do. None of that should affect you as you continue to live on your life with value and dignity.

Having a strong core also allows you to pursue your goals, since you will be affected by less external obstacles like peer pressure and internal obstacles like fear and self-doubt. To be successful, it is very important to build that strong core.

How to develop a strong core?

So the question is really, how do you develop a strong core? Everyone can agree that having a strong core is good, and everyone wants to hold firm and believe in themselves, but when it comes down to it, how do you develop that core when you don’t think you do things better than those around you?

Having a strong core is an attitude, which means it is one of the easiest things to do, and one of the hardest things to do. Easy because it doesn’t require any “talent”. You just change your attitude. Hardest because most people don’t believe they can control their mentalities. After all, it takes good attitude to change your attitude.

The truth is that having a strong core doesn’t mean you have to be the best at anything. It doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. It simply means you are happy with who you are. If you are completely content with yourself without any insecurities, you will be able to develop a strong core.

And having a strong core is displayed not by what you say, but how you say it (or handle situations). Both people with strong and weak cores can say, “I am completely ignorant on this topic so whatever you say counts”, but the person with a strong core will say it in a manner that does not show insecurity nor helplessness, but as a best-strategy solution, whereas the person with a weak core will be very unsettled. This dynamic is subtle in body languages and tones, and is pretty hard to convey through text on a blog, but hopefully you’re able to see what I’m talking about.

A Strong Core starts with Integrity

It’s really important to have integrity if you want to develop a strong core. In order for you to be happy about yourself, you need to make sure you don’t do anything you think is shameful. Essentially, integrity is important here because there’s always going to be people that are smarter and dumber than you, but you can be confident because you are able to say that, during tough times when difficult decisions need to be made, you can make the right decisions that other people won’t be able to make.

Similarly, the majority of the people around you don’t need to trust your abilities, but they do need to trust your character all the time. That’s why your character is ultimately what allows people to respect you, and what enables you to respect yourself.

Focus on good character, and you will have a stronger core.

Having a strong core is one of the fundamental principles of Octalysis Prime, and I will continue to elaborate more on that within the OP Community. For now, just make sure you maintain a strong character that you can be proud of.

What about you?

Do you have experience with slowly building up a strong core, or have met someone with a such a strong core that you wanted to follow them or were intimidated? I look forward to learning from your experiences!

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5 Responses

  1. Tks for this post Yu-Kai. After posting Day 3 of the Octalysis course, I am now trying out to figure out what my Core is … hmmmm

  2. One piece of advice I can offer is that the older you get, the easier it is to understand and live your core. Some people just need to live long enough to get there. 😉

  3. I am surrounded by people with strong-core. I am not intimidated, but instead inspired by them.  Thanks for sharing YuKai. 🙂

  4. I like the authenticity of this story and post. That’s one of the reasons I find myself reading you and Jun’s blog’s.

    I first learned about having strong character-or a core-in college. It was a series of things that led to this.

    Like you, I was seeking the approval of people. But one of my main concerns was becoming a man. Since I never considered my father one of the best men, and he never taught me anything about being a man, I always wanted to become a great man. Though I never defined what it meant; consequently,I let others define it for me. That was definitely not working. I thought the indicator of how great a man was, was women. I thought women flocked to great men.Boy, did that do me in. My high school sweetheart must of drove me crazy. All my relationships did, if a relationship with a woman didn’t last, I felt weak as a man. It always made me feel like less of a man.

    A guy a met in high school handed me “the 7 habits of highly effective people.” I didn’t read it immediately, but when I did, everything was put into the clear for me. Things like principles, character and integrity were explained to me. Stephen Covey called it being centered on true-north principles. It was definitely eye-opening.

    Since then, I have always placed more focus and concern on my character. Sure, outer images and personality make an impression, but your core is stronger and communicates so much stronger. And at the end of the day, you’ve got to like yourself.

    I remember my first roommate had a strong core to him. He was really confident and social. This attracted many people, especially women to him. He wasn’t trustworthy,he was lazy and highly manipulative, but the social and confident part of his core overshadowed his bad parts most of the time. I had to sit down and think about it for a moment. He would never brush his hair, wash his face, and there wasn’t anything special about him; but his body language and confidence did wonders for him. He attracted people like a natural born leader and it was because at his core, he was highly social ready and willing to talk to anyone, and he was confident.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experiences Robert! You’ve always been a great leader!

      Hope you have been keeping your core strong 🙂


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