This post is inspired by me getting 299 out of 300 minutes of exercise for a Strava badge. I contemplated starting another activity, or even changing my last saved activity to include another minute. But I could withhold myself in the moment and tell myself that it did not matter. But it did cost a lot of effort to do that. In fact holding myself accountable costs a lot of effort.
Activities are not worth doing unless being tracked/noted/gamified
Not doing things just to do things
Wanting to create stuff just to show instead of doing it just to do things
Misusing the social aspect to force yourself to do things
Constant comparison to others
Always listening to something or consuming others thoughts instead of your own And yes you are doing it right now by reading this. There is no escape.
It started with Xbox 360 achievements. It was fun to do something outside of regular gameplay to earn a achievement. To do something you would otherwise not think about doing to earn something. But then it was also something which you could show and compare with friends and others. This caused me to buy or play games just for the sake of getting easy achievements and boosting my score. I remember re buying need for speed most wanted as it gave almost 1000G(full 100%) just for beating the game. Never mind the fact that I had already beaten it on the Playstation 2.
It became less about the game, the activity and more about the numbers.
When I think about it, it was always about the numbers. The amount of things you could do, own or how much something cost. All number, numbers which are easy to compare and relate.
Hours of playtime that could be used to play something new instead get consumed with monotonous task-managing, all in the name of increasing a number that has no actual value. Hours of finite time, spent on something which was not give enjoyment in the moment or gives enjoyment now.
I find myself creating lists of goals and tasks to do. And tying achievements to them, just to get myself to do them. I would put off buying something I want just to set it as a reward for something I wanted to do. But this just makes me dread the things even more. The item I want because is have to do something for it and the task it self because it is getting in the way of my reward.
Everything I do or want to do breaks down to a list. Number it 1 to 10, because 10 is better than 9. And run through it to react he end goal. Then pick another point and do it again.
They exist for the same reason video games exist: to provide an illusory challenge which satisfies the desire for accomplishment.