games

A team of excellent players who play in isolation will always lose to a team of good players who play united.

When players play for themselves, their ability is additive; when they play in unison, for eachother and for the team, their abilities mulitply.

A captain’s role is to eking out the best performance from every player through motivation and example.

The coach’s role is create harmony between them, through insightful, strategic planning and elegant design.

Teams which synergise and shine are always greater than the sum of their parts. The job of a leader is to realise that potential.

Laws are the things that govern what we are and aren’t allowed to do.

They’re not voluntary.

Rules are conditions we agree to abide by when we opt into a game.

They are voluntary.

Sometimes, the rules we sign up for aren’t explained to us explicitly.

Some kids, for example, feel as though they must go to university once they finish high school. They’ve opted into this belief to such an extent that no other options feel valid.

Where there are rules, there are penalties for breaking them.

But unlike laws, we get to choose which rules we want to be governed by.

If the games you’re playing involve rules that don’t suit you, play another game.

The games we play always offer opportinites to grow and learn. The degree to which we embrace those opportunities and implement the lessons we learn is another story.

Usually, meaningful growth which has lifetime value is burried under a lot of hard work.

This work is hard because it tends to involve a lot of losing. Losing feels like crap, but it’s a necessary prerequisite to succeeding – to a point.

If the player’s experience involves too much losing, they stop playing altogether.

The trick then, is how do we play these games in a way which helps us enjoy the process of trying and failing?

I believe the answer is by reframing failure into feedback.

Feedback is information gathered from a negative source which offers positive change.

By taking the raw data in our losses, we can find ways to look at them which track the incremental steps we can take towards more frequent victory.

If you suck at tennis and you’re really focused on trying to win every match, you’re going to have a rough time.

But if you suck at tennis and you’re really focussed on returning more serves than you were able to last week, you might enjoy a victory even if you get crushed.

The match is no longer played just between you and your opponent; there’s a separate game being played between you and yourself, in which you have much greater chance at victory.

These micro victories compound on one another.

For one month your focus is on returning serves, the next it’s on your forehand, then you backhand, then all of a sudden you’re not so bad at tennis – which is a whole lot better than losing four out of five matches and then selling your racket on Gumtree.

When failure equals feedback, losing equals winning.

Finite games (winnable games with agreed constraints) and infinite games (games which surpass time and are played for the purpose of continuing to play) share only one thing;

Neither can be played by a party unwilling.

A game of chess is will never be played between two people uninterested in learning the rules, and nobody accidentally leads a healthy and active life throughout their 80’s.

Both games require active, willing participation.