Many people would remember the popular board game, the "Game of Life." Following this idea of discovering life, we asked a question: "What would happen if individuals were to simulate living out their lives in an action-packed game instead of a board game?"
After much brainstorming and discussions on creating a program that could effectively engage young people, the Game of Life™ was birthed. In Strengths School™ Singapore, Game of Life™ is a Strengths-based leadership program designed to bring participants to a place of self-examination and grow their self-awareness. There is no board game involved. Rather, it is a structured interactive experience that centers on helping participants discover how they make their choices.
These can include:
• Educational choices
• Career choices
• Social choices
One of the main challenges in engaging young people is that they get restless very easily, especially in a sit-down classroom setting. It was decided that there needs to be a program that is dynamic and interactive to make the program more hands-on and applicable in order to engage young people. The entire concept and the operationalization of this whole engaging student program was the fruit of 3 different individuals from Singapore. This is the power of a Strengths-Based Partnership - the combination of the Futuristic, Activator and Individualization strengths of Chris Ho (Youth Pastor), the combination of Ideation, Strategic, Futuristic, Input, Learner strengths of Hannah Chia (Educator) and the combination of the Activator, Strategic and Maximizer strengths of Victor Seet (Founder of Strengths School™).
WHAT IS THIS PROGRAM ABOUT?
The Game of Life™ program creates opportunities for participants to consider what constitutes responsible decision-making. The game mirrors how life would look for an average person - deciding on their educational pathways, making career choices, stewarding financial resources, managing family relationships and friendships, etc. There are many tasks that participants are required to complete in the game. The tasks are designed to stimulate creative and innovative thinking and draw out participants' communicative skills. The game shows how these abilities manifest differently for different individuals according to their unique talents. Participants are also tested in their ability to persevere and to push forward, especially when they encounter tasks that are challenging to complete.
Many of the participants discovered how their strengths are integrated with the character value system and leadership attitudes that they each possess. It has been shown that it is one thing to have talents, it is another entirely to integrate our values and our talents to live out our lives. The Game of Life™ was designed to help participants gain an awareness of the challenge of integrating these two aspects of strengths and values into their daily decisions.
Using the Strengths Philosophy and the Strengths-Based Leadership approach, this Game aims to utilize and maximize the idea of experiential learning to help participants learn about themselves through debriefing the experience. There isn't any lecture-style teaching and no downloading of theory and knowledge. Instead, we focus on enriching the whole person through a series of interactive challenges (both individual-based and team-based) to enhance self-directed learning. The game is designed such that participants can debrief and review their performance during the game to make mid-course adjustments. There is also a final debrief after the game which encourages an overall reflection of the experience followed by the formulating of new action plans after learning the different lessons of life.
Other than the Strengths-based leadership model, this 'Game of Life™’ program can also be integrated with leadership models such as the The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership, more commonly known as the The Leadership Challenge (TLC). The Game of Life™ can focus solely on value-based learning or solely on Strengths-Based Leadership, or even integrate both aspects.
HOW IS THE PROGRAM RUN?
All the participants are in a single location sizeable enough for them to move around to different stations. The size of the group can range between 50-300 participants. The entire program lasts about an average of 4 hours depending on the size of the group. These 4 hours include a time of reflection and debrief for each participant. Debriefing the experience as part of the program encourages participants to contemplate on what it means to effectively manage and lead oneself.
WHO IS THIS PROGRAM SUITABLE FOR?
The Game of Life™ program is run in Singapore and designed for students and youth groups from Secondary One to Tertiary level. In Secondary schools and Junior Colleges in Singapore, the Game of Life™ has been commonly used with great effect for Time-Out Programs, Student Leadership groups and Cohort-level post-examination activities. A few Singaporean schools have used the Game of Life™ program to supplement the application aspect of the Student-based StrengthsFinder workshops. Specific outcomes can be customized to align with specific goals and objectives for the intended group. The whole program lasts 3-4 hours (inclusive of debrief session). The debrief is done in small groups by trained and certified Game of Life™ facilitators.
TESTIMONIALS FROM PARTICIPANTS:
“I feel that this game made me reflect quite deeply in my life and what I have been pursuing thus far. The game is quite fast-paced and reflects a certain reality where each day passes by in the blink of an eye. Seeing how everyone was pushing hard to achieve something they want in the game reminds me of what everyone in Campus is doing - all trying to outdo one another. In the process, many, including myself, often forget our values. This game is like a wake-up call for me. To be a better leader, I need to rise above the challenges and live out my values in this competitive world.”
Felix, Year 4 student, National University of Singapore
“I experience the feelings and intensity of both study and work, the pressures and consequences faced when different choices are made and the joy of doing something that I have never done before. Overall, I gained many valuable insights about myself and what leadership in life is about.”
Peiyan, Year 4 student, National University of Singapore
“By playing this game, I realized how much I overlooked the values that were important to me and I didn’t focus on them when the pressure was on. The Game of Life really opened up my worldview because I thought I would be able to concentrate on my values but the Game showed me that I did not have the focus. This game was 10/10!"
Giovan, Year 3 student, National University of Singapore
“The Game of Life was a great application after learning about StrengthsFinder. I learnt about how my strengths were in “infancy” when I failed to practise and use my strengths during the Game as a Leader should have done. The Game was really fun and reflected the rat race in a very real way."
Nishanth, Year 4 student, National University of Singapore
"I feel that the Game of Life was so interesting and it reflected life really well. I like the fact that it showed life has so many factors and the game showed me how relationships can be so easily neglected once the pressure to earn money is there."
Xuan Lim, Year 3 student, National University of Singapore
"I felt really proud of meeting new people through the game and graduating from the top level. The StrengthsFinder Game of Life that I played in Singapore showed me that nothing in life is easy, but if you persevere, good things will come in the end. This game benefitted me by teaching me to be hardworking and motivated!"
Jacqueline Leiman, Student, ACS Jakarta (Indonesia)
"The Game of Life taught me to work with complete strangers and helped me to understand that in life, there are people who would offer you help along the way so we cannot give up! It also taught me to appreciate education as it gives us an edge in life. I’d rate the Game of Life program a 10/10!"
Amelia Tan, Student, Dunman High School (Singapore)
"One of the experiences I feel proud of is helping my friends with the stations they weren’t really good at. My friends also helped me in the stations I was weak at. Because of this StrengthsFinder Game, I’ve learned that in life, we should not just focus on the goals and be too focused in achieving in your goals but to help people around you. I’d rate the Game of Life 10/10!"
Goh Hui Ping, Student, Hong Kah Secondary School (Singapore)
"I felt really proud of achieving so much during the StrengthsFinder Game of Life. I benefited a lot from it, because it showed me real life examples of what could happen in future and how I could use my strengths to overcome obstacles. I’d give the Game of Life a 10/10!"
Nor Fazeelah, Student, Hong Kah Secondary School (Singapore)
"Because of the Game of Life, I now feel more confident about my actual career path. I was asked how my strengths could help me, and while reflecting, I realized that I can DO it!"
Jan Agarwal, Student, School of the Arts (Singapore)
"After the StrengthsFinder Game of Life, I feel I have the motivation to push myself to get to greater heights in life. The game painted a simple picture of what life offers, which gives us a good enough experience to prepare for life."
Alisha Natasha Hanafi, Student, Commonwealth Secondary School (Singapore)
"The Game of Life helped me to appreciate all the things I have in a greater measure. It also benefited me a lot because I am now able to understand more examples of the business industry or rather the adult life, like studying and business, and how to proceed to my goals."
Sabrina Lim, Student, Greenview Secondary School (Singapore)
"The Game of Life taught me that in life, you can’t always think about yourself; you should think about others too! Through this game, I became more open and managed to work on and improve one of my StrengthsFinder talents."
Iffah Syakirah, Student, Greenview Secondary School (Singapore)