Tag Archives: Jane McGonigal

Lessons Learned, Do-Over Wishes: Regrets in Life, Career

Daniel Gulati

Daniel Gulati

Daniel Gulati, founder of FashionStake and Harvard Business School graduate, asked 30 professionals between ages 28 and 58 what they regretted most about their careers.
Most frequently mentioned “do-over” wishes were:

Frederick Herzberg

Frederick Herzberg

1.    Avoiding the temptation to accept a job for the money, confirming Frederick Herzberg assertion that “hygiene” factors, like salary, do not result in motivation or “engagement” in work.
In contrast, most people search for meaningful work in addition to an equitable wage.

Related Post:
Finding Work You Love, Measuring Your Life

Deloitte Shift Index 20122.    Leaving a bad job situation sooner. Gulati asserted that large corporations provide a “variable reinforcement schedule” in which the timing, frequency, and size of rewards is unpredictable, leading people to stay in roles they may not like on the hope of maximizing gains.
As a result, many people feel bound to large organizations by “golden handcuffs,” despite findings by Deloitte’s Shift Index survey the 80% of those surveyed are dissatisfied with their jobs.

Lara Buchak

Lara Buchak

In addition, people may tend toward risk-averseness in the workplace because most are more bothered by threat of losses than they are pleased by gains, according to findings by MIT’s Lara Buchak.

This risk-averseness may lead to “premature optimization,” rather than innovative and exploratory risks to uncover strengths, career options, and technical solutions to work challenges.

3.  Not starting a business, compounded by the same risk-averseness, variable schedules of reinforcement, premature optimization, and perceived golden handcuffs dynamics.

John Coleman

John Coleman

4. Not using time in school settings more productively, meaningfully, insightfully, mentioned by survey participants in Gulati’s collaboration with fellow Harvard Business School grads, John Coleman

W. Oliver Segovia

W. Oliver Segovia

and  W. Oliver Segovia featured in Passion & Purpose, and HBR Guide to Getting the Right Job.

Passion and Purpose5. Not following unanticipated career opportunities, again due to risk-averseness and premature optimization.

Gulati expanded his investigations to 100 younger HBR Guide to Getting the Right Jobpeople, between 25 and 35, and found both existential and specific regrets and do-over wishes:

1.    Not doing something “useful”, also mentioned by Daniel Pink and Martin Seligman, who found that Purpose, Mastery, and Control are top motivators.

Martin Seligman

Martin Seligman

Related Post: Career Navigation by Embracing Uncertainty

2.    Not living in the moment, due to over-scheduling and lack of training or discipline to focus mindfully on the present moment

3.    “Wasting time” earlier in life, such as not taking full advantage of school years

4.    Not travelling more, again limited by risk-averseness, premature optimization leading to financial commitments and family responsibilities

5.    Not developing physically fitness, partly attributed to “after-work drinks” instead of exercise.

Neal Roese

Neal Roese

Northwestern’s Neal Roese, Mike Morrison of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Kai Epstude of University of Groningen asked 370 adults in the United States to describe one memorable regret.

Kai Epstude

Kai Epstude

Influenced by gender, age and education level, most-frequently cited regrets were:

  • Missed romantic connection (~20%), with women more than twice as likely (44%) to men (19%). Those not in a relationship were the most likely to cite a romantic regret.
  • Family issues (arguments, unkindness-16%)
  • Education (13 percent)
  •  Career (12 percent)
    • Money (10 percent)
    • Parenting mistakes (9 percent)
    • Health regrets (6 percent)

Participants expressed equal regret for things they had done as those who felt regret for something they had not done, but these missed-opportunity regrets were more likely to persist over time.

Jane McGonigal

Jane McGonigal

Jane McGonigal considered the other end of the age spectrum when she reported on “do-over” wishes of hospice patients:

• Work less hard
• Stay in touch with friends
• Let myself be happier
• Have the courage to express my true self
• Live a life true to my dreams

Related Post: How Gaming Can Help You Live Better and Longer

Isabelle Bauer

Isabelle Bauer

Isabelle Bauer, then at Concordia University, explored the impact of regrets on emotional and physical well-being, and found that people cope with regret by:

  • Undoing regrets, often through rationalization
  • Changing internal appraisals of regret

These findings of Lessons Learned in the School of Experience suggest the importance of:

  • Finding meaningful and worthwhile work
  • Taking considered risks to connect with others, explore interests and the world
  • Balancing work and interpersonal priorities
  • Investing time in high priority endeavors
  • Finding ways to reprioritize activities based on Lessons Learned from perceived regrets.

-*What are your Lessons Learned as you plan your New Year?

-*How do you manage your “Do-Over” thoughts?

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: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary
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How Gaming Can Help You Live Better and Longer

Jane McGonigal

Jane McGonigal

Game designer Jane McGonigal’s TED Talk that gaming fulfills the basic human wishes expressed by dying hospice patients:

• Work less hard
• Stay in touch with friends
• Let myself be happier
• Have the courage to express my true self
• Live a life true to my dreams

She discussed a practical game, Superbetter, she developed following her own experience of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), which left her bedridden, in persistent pain, and suicidal for more than a year.

Based on her love of “Special Missions and Secret Objectives”, she developed four research-based challenges to increase her resilience and capabilities:

• Physical
• Mental
• Emotional
• Social

She asserts that these tasks help players strengthen abilities to remain motivated and optimistic even in the face of difficulty challenge, and boost physical and emotional well-being.
McGonigal links these capabilities to strengthening social support, increasing stamina and willpower.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that McGonigal’s twin sister and fellow Ph.D., Kelly McGonigal, conducts research at Stanford University on methods to increase willpower and compassion, and to reduce stress and pain.

Her recent book is The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It

Jane McGonigal seems to triumph in this Jane vs. Colbert face-off …though he may have tried to distract her by mentioning that she is “a girl, and an attractive one at that…with that Big Hair…”

Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert

Six-time Stephen Colbert guest, Hayden Planetarium astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s commented that “you’re lucky to come away with your skin when you appear on Colbert’s show.”  Jane seemed to come away with her skin intact.

-*How have you seen gaming improve lives?
-*To what extent do you concur with the hospice patients’ wishes – and implied advice to younger people?

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Two Approaches to Following-Through on Plans, Adapting to Changes

Kelly McGonigal

Kelly McGonigal

Stanford University lecturer Kelly McGonigal integrates cognitive psychology and neuroscience in her book, The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It

She argues that willpower can be developed by:

• Paying attention to situations that undermine willpower
• Managing stress and mood, maintaining exercise, sleep, and healthy eating habits to maintain willpower
• Practice small willpower challenges to build the willpower “muscle”
• Expect willpower “slips” and plan for alternate responses
• Associating with others who have strong willpower habits
• Recognizing that willpower is not easier in the future, and now is the time to begin practicing
• Disputing thoughts of shame and guilt, and re-interpreting them more optimistically, hopefully, and forgivingly

M.J. Ryan

M.J. Ryan

Several years before McGonigal, M.J. Ryan wrote simply and compassionately about life’s challenges, including responding to unplanned changes and following through on commitments and plans.
Her books include self-assessments, succinct notes of encouragement and de-stigmatization, and practical suggestions and resources.
Several are self-published and though out-of-print, remain available online:

This Year I Will…: How to Finally Change a Habit, Keep a Resolution, or Make a Dream Come True

Another of her books deals with managing unplanned changes:
AdaptAbility: How to Survive Change You Didn’t Ask For

See related post on McGonigal’s twin sister, gamer Jane McGonigal, whose TED talk discusses the value to games to improve the quality, duration, and experience of life.

-*What practices have helped you develop and exercise “willpower” to change behaviors and thoughts?

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