[e-book] Debunking the Gamification myths – part 6/10

Learn how gamification can really help you engage and motivate your audience.

– Part 6 : Competition can be the best motivator –


Competition is a strong force in this world and it dictates a lots of our actions. It is often seen as something brutal and ruthless that should be avoided in our daily lives. Well, as any force it can be used for good or evil. Let’s see why competition can be a good thing.


Don’t be mistaken, we are not saying you should engage your users into some sort of pit fight. There are two kind of competitions: the ones you engage in with others and the one you engage in with yourself. To be more accurate, while talking about competition with others, we should say that: “competitive cooperation” can be good. What we mean by that, is that, as intrinsically social creatures, we like to engage into friendly competitions with others. It is natural for most to want to come on top. That is why we want to show others our achievements, especially if we were the first ones in the group to get it and we can gloat about it. Everybody like to go up (even a little) in the leaderboard, nobody likes to lose a social position (like a “mayor” position on Foursquare).

But it does not mean we want others to fail. Empathy, compassion are very powerful forces too, and most of us like to help others, to feel like we are making a positive difference. Therefore it is not because people like to win, that they do not want to cooperate with others. Actually, winning with others can even be a stronger source of motivation.

Then comes the competition with ourselves. In this case, users don’t need to signal their value to others but rather to themselves. They want to keep track of their own progress and feel like they are becoming a better version of themselves, just for the sake of it.

It can be about anything: sports, school, saving money, losing weight, etc… No matter what we are trying to achieve, we always appreciate a good tap on the back and some “attagirl”. If your goal is to help your users reach theirs, it is important that you keep track of their progress and materialize their success in a meaningful way.

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