Seligman espouses that the crucial elements for increased well-being in one’s life are:
Positive accomplishment, and
Seems like sound advice.
When a child in your class is sad or you yourself get down in the dumps, perhaps it’s because of some neglected friendships with people who are important to you, or you don’t have enough in your life that truly engages you, or makes you feel like you’re lighting the way for others.
Maybe your inner monologue needs an upheaval. (For more on this, read my post on self-talk here)
But, you see, when I read these life elements, I also couldn’t help but think of a computer game that I was addicted to in my teenage years (and perhaps later…), “The Sims”.
For those of you who may not have heard of this game before, it is basically a life simulation game that gives you the power to create and control people.
You design your own little town full of little people who you dress, accommodate, buy pets for, and entertain.
There is a certain allure in its escapism; the opportunity it provides to freely be the architect of lives, as similar or different to your own as you so choose.
As the characteristics and destiny of your characters, as well as the extent to which you interact with other players of the game, is completely in your control, the game is a distinct breath of fresh air in comparison to the sexism and bullying that has become a feature of far too many of the video games available today.
Now the part of this game that Seligman’s well-being principles remind me of is how you make your Sims happy.
In order for them to be “in the green”; performing well at work, making friends with ease, and effectively being a popular and contributory citizen of your town, there are certain aspects of their life that must be in balance.
In order to attain the positive emotion that is first on Seligman’s list, you have to balance your Sims’ time each day between
- Hobbies- gardening, cooking, martial arts and swimming, just to name a few.
- Their job- candle, real estate agent, musician, Scientist, chef, athlete etc. For kids, this would be their career aspirations and plans for the future.
- Fun, such as reading, playing with a pet, and dancing, as well as game challenges/ missions such as searching for clues to unlock a castle. And, lastly,
- Social activities- calling your Grandma, emailing an acquaintance, even dating, “woohoo”ing, getting engaged and getting married.
Of course, you need to also feed them, bathe them, poop them and allow them to sleep (or give them lots of coffee) but let’s not get into Maslow’s hierarchy of needs while we’re so focused on Seligman and flourishing.
Am I the only one who sees the remarkable parallels? Who said that pop culture and games never taught us anything worth learning!?
Ladley, P. (2015). games-based-learning and g-Learning blog. Games-based-learning.com. Retrieved 19 October 2015, from http://www.games-based-learning.com
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