Time for Some Game Theory

| Leadership

Life is made up of two kinds of games: finite and infinite.

Finite games are those with an objective to win: there are known players, set rules, and there is a defined beginning and end. These games are serious, and your objective as a player is to crush the competition. Debates, sport, and war are amongst the greatest examples of this.

Conversely, infinite games are designed to keep going: there are both known and unknown players, known and unknown rules, and there is no end. The objective as a player is to keep the game going; to outperform oneself in the process. Life, for example, is an infinite game.

We often play the game of business, politics, or leadership in general as a finite game. We draft our plans according to all the variables we can see, with an end goal in mind, often forgetting reality isn’t conducive to our strategies. The opposite, however, is true. These are areas designed to be played indefinitely, against ourselves, and with a number of unknown variables.

When we begin playing these “games” the way they’re intended to be played, we can start focusing on beating ourselves over beating some sort of competition. We can move forward and advance our mission because we are no longer intently stressed over reaching some fast-approaching conclusion.