Yang Gang is treatment for depression

“Joining the Yang Gang literally ended my depression”.
There are many similar stories of people who become much happier when they join the Yang Gang. But why is it that simply becoming part of a presidential campaign can affect your mental state?

Yang gang cured depression
Reddit post on r/YangForPresidentHQ on Nov 30 2019

The answer is that the Yang Gang is using “White Hat” motivation which makes you happier. Many other things in your daily life use “Black Hat” motivation instead, making you dissatisfied.

Knowing this, we can also figure out which mental health effects that the Freedom Dividend (UBI) will have.

Agents of depression – Black Hat motivation

We get the answer from the Octalysis Framework of human motivation. More specifically the Octagon, a model of the 8 Core Drives which are the sources of all motivation.
This model states that not all sources of motivation are healthy, in fact an overexposure to Black Hat Core Drives will first cause stress, then eventually burnout (which can result in mild or severe depression).

The octagon – 8 Core Drives

There are many things in our everyday lives which motivate us by Black Hat Core Drives – those in the bottom of the octagon shape.

The Core Drive (CD) called Scarcity and Impatience is used by shops to make you buy their products. If there are only a few items for sale (often the case for hotel rooms, airplane tickets), then there is a scarcity of items, and you think twice before rejection the offer.

In the same way, every time limited offer trigger your impatience. You don’t want to wait until the offer come around next time (especially if it’s a once in a year offer).

Another Black Hat CD called Unpredictability and Curiosity. Curiosity is constantly driving us to use social media, or watch TV series, or even check news sites compulsively.
It’s unpredictability that makes gambling fun – and addictive.

Finally, the “blackest” of the CD’s is Fear of Loss and Avoidance. Got a deadline at work? That’s fear of loss. Not speaking up in class because of potential humiliation? Also fear of loss. Spending several minutes waiting in line to the elevator instead of taking the stairs a few floors up? That’s probably avoidance.

Remember that it isn’t the things we DO that are black hat. We get stress and burnout because of WHY we do those things.

White Hat – the Power of Games


Fortunately, not all motivation is Black Hat. The other kind is White Hat Core drives. And they REDUCE our stress and anxiety levels.

You can think of this as eating, white hat CD’s are the healthy fruits and vegetables, while black hat is overly processed food, poor in nutrients and full of fat and sugar.

There healthy CD’s has been discovered through gamification – looking at the power games has to make us motivated, engaged and happy. And sometimes reality is as good as a game.

Epic Meaning of the Yang Gang

The first White Hat CD is called Epic Meaning and Calling. So the point about Epic Meaning is that you contribute to something that is greater than yourself.

So let me explain why joining the Yang Gang has proved such a healing experience for some.

  1. The vision of making the United States a better place is a meaningful cause – beyond the individual.
  2. Ambitious goals like eliminating poverty makes the vision more epic.
  3. As Andrew Yang trusts the Yang Gang to win the presidency – you don’t just cheer for a campaign, you ARE the campaign.

Being in a place where your actions contribute to an epic goal, that would transform the lives of ordinary people for the better – that’s the experience that every game tries to create. Because it ensure people that their lives and actions matter – and gives them a purpose.

Just in case you forgot how important purpose is, I put Agent Smith is here to remind you


While Epic Meaning is by far the most powerful White Hat motivation of the Yang Gang, it’s not the only one.
Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback has the same power to provide happiness.

You get a small dose of creativity each time you write a Twitter message. And you get a small dose of Feedback when watching the the likes, retweets and replies to the message.

However, to unlock the true power of Creativity, you have to be a content creator. Make memes, record YouTube videos, do infographics or write blogs.
Take a great effort in creating something, and you will be rewarded with happiness.
Especially if people engage with your creations, and provide positive feedback for your next project.

Take care of yourself

In conclusion, being Yang Gang is a positive thing. However, the Black Hat motivations are still present.

Obsessively monitoring Twitter and other social media sites from Curiosity can bring you down. Especially if you keep engaging in unwinnable discussions with stubborn users (there are a lot of those on the internet…)

The most dangerous thing is fear of loosing. If you ever find yourself acting out of fear that Yang would lose – take a step back and relax. Then think of all the positive effects that the policies of Yang will have.

Finally, if anyone post on social media about “how Yang will lose” if you don’t act right now – you have to tell them off!
Humanity first of cause. They probably mean well, they just have zero knowledge of how motivation works. You give them the data.

Interested in Yang Gang? Maybe you would like to read What a dynamic movement looks like

Bo Paivinen is a certified gamification designer, as well as a danish Yang2020 supporter.