Building Communities of Growth & Development

Transitioning to helping people with their psychological growth & development in RealLife.

Ever since I was a kid playing role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, I’ve loved creating characters and building worlds for them to explore. This was only emphasized all the more so when I started playing MMORPGs online like World of Warcraft, as I found I could develop characters all day.

However, during this same time though, while developing characters within these video games, my own character as a person was being challenged by some of the negative communities I was encountering and I decided to create my own community which was more culturally positive. In time, I realized I was creating an environment outside of these games that developed the character of the people who were playing with their imaginary characters within the game.

Today I’m realizing I’m trying to make another big shift. After researching The Future of Work, Social Innovation, Creativity, and Vertical Development over the past two decades, I want to step beyond playing within imaginary worlds and start imagining a “world of play.” What I mean by that is that I want to help reimagine our world so that people aren’t limited by outdated beliefs and the status quo but instead have the freedom and autonomy to reimagine themselves, their identity, in a larger sense.

My primary problem though is that I feel like I have no idea how best to do this. In effect, I’m just winging it. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. All I know is what I’ve learnt and can do.

“I have no idea what I’m supposed to do. I only know what I can do.”

James Tiberius Kirk, Star Trek: Into Darkness

What my intuition (or soul if you will) is telling me to do is to do what I’ve always done throughout my life…but within a larger context. In effect, it’s telling me to build a guild-like community and help people with their growth and development…but instead of doing it around an imaginary video game, do it around a larger sense of life which could be described as The Game of Life.

Based upon my research over the past two decades, one can metaphorically understand The Game of Life as not one unchanging game but rather as a psychological metagame comprised of changing games that change as one “levels up” within the overall game. That’s because each stage of development that a person levels up within (representing their vertical development), dramatically changes their perception and worldview of life, making it exhilaratingly feel like a completely new “game changing” experience full of wonderful new possibilities.

Of course though, while building a community and helping people to level up within a video game is pretty familiar to me, building a community to help people “level up” psychologically in RealLife seems scary as hell to me. I mean I know I have the knowledge to help people see a large perspective of life but I just don’t feel “qualified” to do so. So there is definitely this inherit need to show what I’ve learnt to others to help them with The Game of Life, yet at the same time an essential need to relay that I’m not an expert at it but still learning as well.

By far my greatest obstacle in trying to achieve this though is how best to structure what I know into a sort of “Player’s Handbook” for The Game of Life that will make sense and be meaningful to people in a relatable way. Without a doubt though, obviously the tribe I’m trying to target, who will relate to it the most, will be other gamers.

But not just any gamer though. It has to be a gamer who is familiar with the language of MMORPGs but also familiar with the increasing frustrations in their RealLife work as well, so much so that they are beginning to question their belief of the way that work works and thus are already questing for a new way of working in their life.

All said and done though, what I’m trying to do here is simply make psychological development accessible and understandable to the average person by wrapping it within a MMORPG metaphor that hopefully simplifies the complexities of it and makes it seem much more familiar to them. Why I believe this is so essential today is because we all need to “level up” to be able to live effectively within the increasingly complex world that is emerging before us.

By Nollind Whachell

Questing to translate Joseph Campbell's Hero’s Journey into The Player’s Handbook for the roleplaying game called Life, thus making vertical (leadership) development an accessible, epic framework for everyone.

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