How to Play your own Bliss Game
- Step 1. Pick the area of life or experience you want to concentrate on.
I chose BLISS because I thought it would be fun to see what would happen if I were consciously promoting more BLISS in my life. Let me tell you it is working! Ben Franklin picked virtues he thought would make him a better person and chose to play his version of this game with the same 13 virtues for his entire life. While I think a repeated focus on a set of virtues provides a great deal, I personally like to try too many different things, I am a self proclaimed tourist (Check out this post for more detail on that concept) after all, so sticking to one group of 13 things for an entire lifetime seems way too constricting for me. I did want the benefit of repetition so I've decided that repeating my cycle 4 times in one year is the way to go.
After this year is complete I am pondering where to go next. I have thought about an Everyday Green game, here I will choose 13 environmental virtues. Everyday Mommy, Everyday Creative, and Everyday Romance are also contenders. A friend of mine told me that when she thought about it Everyday Adventures was her choice... how fun is that? I just might have to steal that one! The choices are truly endless! My only coaching, if you will is that you pick something you are really excited about. Picking something "because it would be good for you" in my case, that would be something like Everyday Healthy, and it would backfire before I even got started. You can always make a virtue or two "good for you" but a whole game with that kind of focus is destined to fail!
- Step 2. Pick "virtues" that if attained will contribute to the experience you are seeking.
This is a really fun part of the game. I took several weeks combing dictionaries and musing on what the thirteen virtues of bliss might be. Because of my personal obsession with Ben Franklin I used his Autobiography as a great resource. In it he explains how he chooses his virtues and I even ended up keeping a couple of his for my game. I also decided that thirteen virtues was a good number because my complete cycle could be completed 4 times in one year.
In my post The Distinctions of Bliss you can read all about about my process for choosing the virtues I now use. If happiness is your game then Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project might be a good resource for you. I was floored to read in her book, which I read after I was six months into my own game, that she also is a big Ben Franklin fan and designed her own project with his virtues in mind too.
My 13 bliss virtues are joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility and surprise.
- Step 3. Create games and concentrate on each of the virtues for one week.
I believe that coming up with games to play is the lynch pin of the whole thing. A game is a very human distinction. Animals don't play games, plants don't play games. Only humans can play games. Games excite us, they can bring out the best in us but also important, for this project, they give us a way to measure things. Ben Franklin played his game with a simple yes or no scoring system. Each night he looked over his virtue list and gave himself a "mark" if he didn't live up to his virtues. His lifelong game was to live a blemish free (no marks) life.
The way I play Everyday Bliss is by coming up with weekly Bliss Initiatives which are concrete things anyone can do to increase their experience of the particular virtue. Some examples of initiatives:
For the virtue Joy - Smile at three strangers today
For virtue Romance - Kiss for 30 seconds upon hello and goodbye
For virtue Gratitude - send an unexpected Thank You note for good service
I share these initiatives in this blog to hold myself accountable and invite you to play along. I report back to you at the end of each week and I also give myself a 1-1o gut check score on how I think I did for the week. Lately I've also been giving myself a score of "bliss boosts" to indicate how much I think the week actually increased my experience of everyday bliss. I like statistics so I'm actually working on a more sophisticated scoring system but that is just me don't be scared away because I keep score. An effective game gets you out there having fun. It doesn't require a score unless you want one!
Everyday Games do not have to be elaborate. I come up with several initiatives so I can pick and choose. The key is doing something and games provide a nice framework.
Everyday Games are not about winning. If you played a game to see how many smiles you could get in a day who loses?
Everyday Games are more fun if other people play along. For this reason I try to come up with initiatives other people might like to try too. Maybe you don't have time to put a whole 13 virtue game together but you are always welcome to join in on a virtue or two of mine.
Looking for more Creativity check out
. Looking for more Passion check out . I'm sure there is a virtue of interest for everyone!
Not ready for a whole game? Try a mini game and pick one virtue (of anything that interests you) and come up with one or two initiatives which will help you experience more of what ever it is. Play for one week and see how much fun you can have!
- Step 4. Repeat as often as you wish!
As I said earlier, I believe repetition is important. Ben Franklin chose to repeat his 13 week of study for his entire life. I have decided 4 times in one year constitutes a game for me. I may decide to continue in the Everyday Bliss Game longer or I may decide to play a different game next year. I do know that I will be playing some Everyday Game for the rest of my life.
If you are playing an Everyday Game I'd love to know!
If you've written a blog post about it let us know here! Link your game posts here. Blogging multiple times about it? Feel free to leave multiple links!