Creativity & Innovation Secrets

External Validation, Facebook, & the Game of Life

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A multi-billion dollar company has been created and has flourished on our inherent need for validation, approval and reassurances. Facilitating that “Game of Life” is Facebook. Those happy gentle validation points of ‘like’ or the smaller points categories of — those ‘comments’, ‘share’ or even the number of friends; so much so that now we don’t even mind sacrificing our privacy for those — willingly informing the world of our minute to minute activities and having conversations in-front of 500+ friends/acquaintances, friends of friends and others. 

The principles and strategies, that Facebook uses are not new, but their application is. Game designers have used these principles and so have businesses in various forms, for motivating and engaging their respective audiences, customers and employees. 

The key game design principles include: 

1.Validation and acknowledgement: earning points, ‘likes’, recognition, 

2. Reward: getting more powers (in video games), promotion, prizes, 

3. Comparison: through multi-player ranks, peer review system, comparison with your neighbor/colleague/fellow student (grading system), number of Facebook ‘likes’. 

You can incorporate these principles consciously and deliberately when creating a product or art for wider acceptance and success. However, as a creator, you have to shield yourself from those very game-design traps of external validation and approval, and instant gratification & reward.iness you create and the direction it takes.

“…karmanaye vaadhi karaste, ma phaleshu kadachana…” (
translation: do your work/karma, without thinking/worrying about the rewards
— Bhagavad Gita
Only If I Get the Approval…

The big creativity killer? It is self-doubt, lack of self-belief, and that analysis-paralysis. It is that long wait for validation and approval of your idea, and that ongoing laborious exercise of seeking indirect/direct validation and approval of every decision and choice from that friend/family-member/guru/the masses. It kills your originality and that motivation to create. 

By the time you get the validation (and if you get it), you would have already spent that energy, that motivation, and that positive emotion.



Learn more in the book ‘Creativity Secrets’: “CREATIVITY SECRETS: Creativity & Innovation Secrets for Design | Business | Art”, 2018, by Abhay Bhargava (Wharton grad, artist, entrepreneur).


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