In the past few years, the science of happiness – AKA Positive Psychology – has gained momentum and credibility. The Greater Good center at UC Berkeley now offers a free EdX MOOC class to teach everyone – everywhere – the basics. And fast-growing services like Happify are translating well-established research findings into a convenient, personalized digital package that’s making inroads into traditional healthcare settings (disclosure: I’m an advisor to Happify).
This article summarizes some of these recent trends, and lays out a powerful, neuroplasticity-based argument for gratitude, appreciation and learning from mistakes as the key to a longer, healthier, happier life.
If you are mindful to the lessons of the failures, there is no reason that you can’t make the default of every day better than the one before it. Do something new everyday, learn its lesson, choose love over fear, and make every day better than the last. The more you do this, the more you will see and appreciate the beauty of this existence, and the happier you’ll be.
It turns out that happiness science and game design have a lot in common – as Jane McGonigal eloquently explains. Well-designed games let you try things, fail, and learn from your mistakes. That’s part of what makes them so much fun to play – what makes them pleasurable learning machines.
DESIGN TIP: To build something that’s game-like – NOT gamified – create a simple feedback system that helps your customers try things, learn from their mistakes, and experience the thrill of skill-building. And viola! You’ve just built a mini-version of a pleasurable learning machine.