Saturday, May 14, 2011

Measuring Happiness part 1 of 3

In the game of Real Life, players must track their Happiness status all the time. This is of utmost importance because one of the most common encounter with other characters is the "How Are You?" Daily Quest. When done properly, this quest can be a good source of regular Experience Points (XP). Proper handling of the encounter has the potential of increasing all 6 aspects of happiness.

But, first, let us look into these aspects. What exactly does CHARM+ stand for?

C for Challenge & Curiosity over Choice & Control
Challenge is one of the factors that determines Flow. This is a term coined by M. Csikszentmihalyi. It is a state where you are completely engaged in an activity. The main factors being perceived level of skill and perceived difficulty or challenge of the task. So, the player must check to see if his level of Challenge for a quest matches his level of Skill. All players must always strive to increase their skill levels and look for greater Challenges as they gain experience.

Humans need time & space to exercise their freedom. Control over your own life is an important factor in determining your satisfaction in a given task. Choice as a good thing is mostly perceptual. This means that choice could also be a hindrance to happiness. Overall, if choice or control are focused on outcomes rather than the process then you're better off in making sure there's an exciting Challenge for you.

Curiosity, on the other hand, is a natural instinct for humans. Feeding our own curiosity is an "autotelic" activity. It means that they activity itself is the goal and there is no other agenda.

H for Health
CHARM+ is based on Positive Psychology's PERMA. But, PERMA lacks the physical component of Health. I believe this is because positive psychology starts with the well individual. In the game of real life, you need to track your Health in everything that you do. This is particularly important when you are trying to stop or replace bad habits like smoking, drinking, overeating, and promoting good habits like exercise and drinking water.

A for Accomplishment & Autonomy
Success is one of the most popular forms of Happiness. A lot of people think that they will be happy once they become successful. On the contrary, players should know that Happiness is the best way to achieve success. More importantly, the player's perceived capacity to reach success is enough to boost this component. If you are working towards a goal, and you think, feel and believe that you will reach this goal in time, you can place a high mark on this aspect.

R for Relationship
Humanity is deeply rooted in our sense of community. In the game, players must strive to have good relations with each and every human being. The minimum level should be at least at civility. Citizens who have lingering shadows of fear or hate for another person cannot play the full version of the game. A good relationship will foster symbiosis and synergy towards transformation and transcendence.

M for Meaning
Another game master, Jane McGonigal, qualifies this as Epic Meaning. Players must find their own niche and corners of the sky to be an important part of something great, something awe-inspiring, of something bigger than themselves.

+ for Positive Emotions
This aspect needs no elaboration. Simply, this is the good stuff you feel when you are happy. This part is a bit problematic as there is what I call the Hedonistic Threshold. Once we crave for something, say food, once we fulfill that desire, another craving is created. At some point, we go past our threshold for that pleasure and we tend to want more in something akin to addictive tolerance. Basically, the more we want, the more we want.

So, in everything that you do, try to keep every aspect of happiness in balance.

Going back to our example, a "How are you?" encounter done right immediately increases your + H R and also increases C A M in the long run depending on the bond you form with the other character. That is why it is always good to know how you are actually feeling at the moment. Using CHARM+ you can never be insincere when answering the most basic of questions, "How are you?" Game on!

Click here for a more practical application of the Happy Hex.

Side Quest: Ask 3 people "How are you?" and really mean it. Ask a follow-up question to let them know you really want to know how they are doing. Find out how life is treating them at that point and use your emerging power of Empathy to build a stronger bond. Then, visualize your Happiness Hex improve.

No comments:

Post a Comment