Motivated Through Frog Eggs

When one wants to leap into an area of interest, but feels overwhelmed and unmotivated what can one do? Creative Gamification to the rescue!

For awhile, I have wanted to grow my skill set in several new areas. However, the areas felt vague and thus I wasn’t strongly motivated to leap in without being able to identify and measure my progress. Puzzled how to proceed, I created a document titled “Skills Progress Puzzle.” It has about twenty-five specific items that fall into six themes.

The trick now is to turn this into a motivational tool. A traditional skills percentages approach could work. For each skill, I could assign a percentage and then the overall theme percentage would reflect how the specific skills are rated.

Although that approach is a good foundation that helps things feel real, the downside is that it’s not visual and thus non-motivating.


Although graph bars might work, I am leaning towards a filling-in-the-bubbles approach. Baby bubbles would work together to fill bigger bubbles. In a more organic way, I am filling myself up with the knowledge and experience I need to succeed.

So, bubbles it is. Now, I need a way to express the bubbles.

Items to Consider

  • Must be digital
  • Must be visually displayed as bubbles
  • Must be accessible

After seeking amongst the tool options, excel seems the best choice for this data / visual approach. This leads me to using a circle within a circle approach. The inner circle represents what percentage has been learned so far for a theme and the outer circle is the end goal. Acronyms are used to keep things manageable. Looking at the result, each circle pair kind of reminds me of a frog egg.

Circle in a Circle


So, there we have it! The circles help me know where to grow-in at a glance. The narrative theme of frog eggs helps along the natural good feeling that learning gives me in life. The percentages provide the data to support the intuitive gut feels about each theme. All that’s left to do now is to grow, grow, grow in knowledge and wisdom!

Update: A wise friend by the name of Dr. Wayne Buckhanan pointed out something. Once I conquer a theme, I have eaten the frog, Brian Tracy style. Clever!

(Unofficial) Mindful Minecraft Meditation

One day, my son looks up at me and says “Dad, I want to meditate too!”

How did my son get an interest in meditation? Through my example and having acquired a taste of meditation, the benefits of meditation had resonated. So, he asked for help.

Given his experience with games and exposure to Gamification, my son loves to “level up” in whatever he does. For those who don’t know, leveling up is achieving a related series of measurable goals and giving that achievement a name. It’s best done as part of a fun or adventurous narrative.

Unless made quite fun, being still and focusing on ones breath for any period of time can be torture for a child. It was time to cook up an appealing solution.

Combining his love of Minecraft, his desire to achieve, and the idea of “leveling up”, I made the following achievement levels for my little player:

  • Level 1 – Bow and Arrow – One understands the initial thoughts about meditation
  • Level 2 – Wooden Sword – Meditated one time
  • Level 3 – Stone Sword – Meditated for any amount of time 3 days in a row
  • Level 4 – Iron Sword – Meditated 5 days in a row. Diamond Sword level requirements were secret and are revealed at this time.
  • Level 5 – Diamond Sword – Number of days in a row required to meditate: 1 + (6 sided dice roll) for a chance to win the diamond sword. (In this case, 5 days since he rolled a 4.)

To get the diamond sword, he rolls a 6 sided dice after 5 days and he has a 1 in 6 chance of winning. If he doesn’t win, he does another 5 days but he will have a 2 / 6 chance of winning. If he doesn’t win, another 5 days go by and he’ll have a 3 / 6 chance of winning and so on.

Figuring out this Diamond Sword level required me to reach out to the wonderful Gamification Hub community for ideas. Which brought up some good questions such as “Is any of this tangible? Is this a Minecraft modification to the game?”

Simply, he does not receive anything tangible. There is no Minecraft game modification created for him. He simply knows what level he is at with respect to meditation. Although getting a sword is all in his mind, he’s quite happy knowing that he has achieved a certain level of recognized status.

Has meditation and this approach helped? Yes, it has helped. No matter where he is, it provides an escape hatch where he can reflect on what’s going on. In the long run, meditation yields a better brain. So, he is experiencing short term wins and also long term gains.

How long will such an approach last? For him, it lasted about two to three months. When someone pointed out that they don’t need levels, he declared he doesn’t need levels either. Yet, yesterday he was concerned that he lost some levels since he hasn’t meditated in awhile. Through future technology such as the Muse headband, I think meditation could be made more real to him. Until then, we can make the intangible tangible through a Mindful Minecraft Meditation.

Castle In Twilight

Authors note: The term “Unofficial” is used here in this post in order to comply with the Mojang brand guidelines.