Gameful Strengths Inventory

In SuperBetter on January 13, 2015 at 8:50 am

SNEAK PREVIEW! This inventory will appear in my new book, SuperBetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver and More Resilient—Powered by the Science of Games by Jane McGonigal (Penguin Press, September 15, 2015).

Gameful Strengths Inventory

Give yourself 0 – to 5 points for each question. 0 points for “No way!” (you completely disagree with the statement), 5 points for “heck, yeah!” (you completely, whole-heartedly agree with it), or something in between if you agree a lit bit, somewhat, or a lot.

  1. I’m optimistic about my future.
  2. I frequently look for new things to learn, or new experiences to try.
  3. Every challenge I face is an opportunity to learn or to grow.
  4. I can think of at least one thing I could do in the next hour to feel happy, strong or productive.
  5. I do what matters most to me, even if it’s hard, painful, or scary.
  6. I can do things in a new way. I’m not limited to the way things have always been done.
  7. I have faith in my ability to accomplish whatever I set my heart to.
  8. I feel grateful to many different people.
  9. This week, I was able to overcome an obstacle.
  10. Setbacks don’t discourage me.
  11. I feel a strong bond with other people who are going through the same challenge I face, or who have already been through it.
  12. When I face a problem, I can usually find a way to solve it.
  13. I can think of at least one goal I would like to accomplish tomorrow.
  14. If I’m not sure whether or not I can do something successfully, I feel motivated to try – and find out.
  15. I have something specific to look forward to.
  16. If I don’t like how I feel, I can change it.
  17. I often lose track of time, because I get so immersed in an activity I enjoy.
  18. I enjoy coming up with new, creative strategies.
  19. I can think of at least one other person who really wants me to succeed.
  20. I have the courage to face life, and whatever challenges and complications it brings.

Add up your points for a gameful score that should fall somewhere between 0 and 100. Keep reading to find out what your gameful score means!

Your Gameful Strengths Inventory score is a way for you to compare how your mindset is changing from time to time. There’s no score that means “gameful enough” or “not gameful enough.” Instead of focusing on the specific number, focus on whether your number goes up or down over time – and keep trying to set a new high score.

If your score goes up, it means that right now, you’re able to draw on your natural, gameful strengths quite effectively. You should feel a sense of confidence in your growing gameful abilities, and satisfaction that you’ve successfully cultivated such powerful ways of thinking.

If your score goes down, it means your gameful strengths may need a bit of bolstering, or just re-awakening. If so, there are two things you can do to re-engage a gameful mindset.

First, make it a point to spend more time in the next few weeks playing games. This is the fastest and surest way to boost your gameful strengths – just play. It sounds obvious, but it is a too often-overlooked strategy. Why? Because we’re culturally biased against games to think about them as “time wasters” instead of as “strengths builders.” Basketball, Sudoku, Super Mario, Settlers of Catan, crossword puzzles, The Sims, hide and go seek, bridge – really, any game at all will do. If you normally spend no time at all playing games, spend 30 minutes this week playing. If you normally spend ten hours a week playing games, play with a bit more purpose this week: Play something that is particularly challenging, and if possible, spend more time on multi-player games.

If you want to be even more strategic about upping your score, you have a second option. Identify the questions that you have the lowest scores for, or any questions that you scored lower on this time than the last time you took the inventory. Then, use this information as reminder to practice the gameful rules that will help you exactly where you need it most. Here’s how:

     If you have a lower score for question 3 or 12: Your challenge mindset needs strengthening. Revisit the quests and advice in Chapter 5 (“Choose your challenge.”)

     If you have a lower score for questions 4, 16, or 17: Focus on collecting and activating new power-ups over the next week.

     If you have a lower score for questions 6, 9, 10, 12, or 18: Take a look at your list of bad guys, and spend time this week coming up with and testing as many new strategies and battle plans as you can.

     If you have a lower score for questions 2, 5, or 13: Focus on completing quests this week. As many as you can!

     If you have a lower score for questions 7 or 20: It’s a good time to pay extra attention to your secret identity. Try using your strengths in a new way this week, or telling a new heroic story about yourself.

     If you have a lower score for questions 8, 11 or 19: Make an effort this week to connect with at least one ally, or to recruit a new ally.

     If you have a lower score for questions 1, 14, or 15: Spend some time thinking about your epic win this week. If the win you’re aiming for doesn’t feel realistic any more, come up with a new one. Or, if it just doesn’t inspire and energize you right now, replace it with one that does.

Download a printable PDF of the Gameful Strengths Inventory

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