Goal setting amplifies the pulls

Goal setting creates the strongest pulls.

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5 Goal setting amplifies the pulls

We will cover the various forms of goal setting in the next chapter, but in this section, I want to focus just on the very nature of goal setting by using these two scenarios:

  • Reading a novel
  • Playing a Souls game

Imagine: Let's say you bought a novel called The Hobbit. You heard that it was written by Tolkien and was the basis of the successful film.

What goals have you formed?

  • Goal to complete the novel - overarching goal
    • This goal is very easy to delay and procrastinate.
    • It can easily be beaten by other media with a strong Pull to Begin or Return.
    • Result is a weak Pull to Return.
  • Goal to complete a chapter
    • The strength of this goal is affected by the length of the chapter (you can easily just watch the first Hobbit movie, around 2 hours!)
    • The engagement you have in your current location in the book. If you are not enjoying your current sentence or current paragraph, or current page, forget about the chapter. The reader will give up if he gets bored in his current location, so finishing that chapter is becoming more of a dream now.
    • Result is a weak Pull to Return.

Now, let's move to the other scenario.

Imagine: Let's say you are playing a game called Bloodborne.

What goals have you formed?

  • You need to get out of the clinic to begin the adventure, but there is a werewolf just outside the clinic that keeps on killing you.
  • You need to pass through an enemy just before that ladder, and he keeps on killing you.
  • You don't know where to go, and at almost every turn, something wants to kill you.
  • And so on...
  • Until you meet Father Gascoigne, who will certainly kill you after meeting him the first time.

Which among the two (The Hobbit vs. Bloodborne) will create stronger and more varied forms of goal setting inside you? Note that these goals are not inherent in the game; they are formed within you. What goals you make are known only to you; hence, they are personal. Nobody will know if you procrastinate on them, but one thing you are sure of is that the adventure will not move on until you face these goals.

It is in the very nature of video games that they can create the strongest forms of goal setting: they are interactive. They are very strong, and yet they are varied from each other. Consider these games that are known to be among the most addictive games:

  • Pokemon
  • Monster Hunter
  • Diablo 2

What you do in those three games is very different from each other, but they share one thing in common: players spend thousands of hours playing them and yet still feel engaged.

Now consider the other forms of media again. What kinds of goal setting do they form for the consumer? Only weak forms of goal setting, and yet they are not very varied. This is because they are inherently consumed passively.

  • Books - the goal is to read a chapter and complete it passively.
  • Audiobooks - the goal is to listen for some hours passively.
  • Movies - the goal is to watch it for two hours passively.

By considering goal setting alone and excluding the music, the story, the gameplay, the visuals, etc., video games create the strongest Pull to Begin, Pull to Continue, and Pull to Return. Yes, you would definitely want to watch for the first time Avengers: Infinity Wars versus playing for the first time Sekiro, but we know for sure that after three hours, it is Sekiro you would keep coming back to every day.