What’s the most significant predictor of success? Is it social intelligence, good looks, physical health, IQ, talent?
Surprisingly, it’s something called grit.
Playing Pokémon GO can help your child become successful by building grit along with the resilience of a growth mindset.
According to psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth, “Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. … Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
Psychologist Carol Dweck states, “The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.”
In this world of fast-paced technology, instant gratification, and trophies for everyone, how do we teach the solid work ethic of grit? How do we encourage a growth mindset, so when children encounter defeat, they will be able to summon the courage to try again with new strategies, to understand their abilities can develop, can grow – all in a low-risk, safe setting?
Play Pokémon GO with your child.
Win or lose, the game rewards consistent long-term effort as you gain a few points every time for trying.
In short, the game is like a treasure hunt combined with stamp collecting meets martial arts strategizing. To start, you go outdoors to find animated critters called Pokémon – short for “pocket monsters.” Once you find a Pokémon, you throw a ball to capture it. Even when you throw the perfect shot and think you’ve captured it, it can break out, escape, and you lose that catch. Sometimes you can throw your worst and surprisingly keep that catch. Skill can be established but it’s no guarantee and luck is present yet elusive. The game can be very challenging at times.
Pokémon GO gives the chance to realize failure is just temporary, to give up on being perfect, and begin the work of becoming yourself. It teaches to look at what you’ve gained for trying and to practice gratitude which also leads to joy.
An October 2016 study by Stanford University and Microsoft “showed that the game leads to signiﬁcant increases in physical activity over a period of 30 days, with particularly engaged users increasing their average activity by 1,473 steps a day or 26 percent. … We see great promise for public health in designing geocentric games like Pokémon GO and in working to sustain users’ engagement with them.”
Yes, it’s true, the game delivers an opportunity for improved health and well-being as the study goes on to point out, “People who are physically active tend to live longer, have lower risk for heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, depression, and some cancers, and are more likely to maintain a healthy weight.”
According to a September 7, 2017 scientific report on Nature.com, “improvement in psychological distress was significantly greater among Pokémon GO players than among non-players. . . . Pokémon GO may be effective for improving psychological distress among workers. Although its effect size is small, the game could have positive effects on the mental health of the adult working population.”
Connection with each other is a basic human need. Psychologist Brene Brown wrote, “A deep sense of love and belonging is an irresistible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don't function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.”
This behavior is exactly what playing Pokémon GO encourages as the more folks who play together, the greater the reward for everyone in attracting a chance to catch a rare Pokémon or a chance to defeat what’s called the “Raid Boss” Pokémon on a gym.
In fact, the process of catching a coveted Level Five “Raid Boss” in the game requires a group of eight or more to work together to overcome the strength of the raid boss to get the chance to try and catch it. Folks must tap their phones together to make their Pokémon win against the “raid boss.”
Studies by psychology professors, Piercarlo Valdesolo and David DeSteno, have shown that the simple act of tapping together, clapping together, or even wearing the same wristbands, or colors can influence folks to be more compassionate to one another.
To learn how to play Pokémon GO for free, visit our community table at Gallery X, 139 William Street, New Bedford, Massachusetts on AHA Night, Thursday, Oct. 12, from 5 to 9 p.m.