No one wins if the game ends

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"There are at least two kinds of games. One could be called finite, the other, infinite.

A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play." - James P Carse

I'm often feeling trapped by this ever so common notion (myth) of "making it".

It's perpetrated by tv talent shows and the illusion of thinking "when (insert huge goal or accomplishment) happens, I'll feel like I've made it.. then I'll be happy."

Carse would call this a finite game.

The game will be over when I reach my goal. I'll be the winner.

Winning is great, but for there to be a winner, there must be a loser. A finite game (a game with a clear and defined ending) must have a winner and a loser.

Sure, we can start a new game when one ends by making new goals and a new set of rules, but this will simply lead to more endings, more winners, yes.. but also more losers.

If I change my mindset to think of this 'game' as infinite, my goal is not to 'make it', not to win, not to beat anyone else. My only goal is to allow the game to continue. Simply keep playing.

In an infinite game, there are rules, but they are fluid. We can change the rules, we can change the boundaries. As we evolve, the game evolves with us to allow it to continue forever. If we incorporate the allowance of these adaptations into the rules of the game, no one loses.

Losing means the game ends. In this way of thinking, EVEN THE WINNER LOSES.

My challenge to myself is to think of every 'game' I play (business, friendships, everything) as an infinite game.

There is no end.

There is no winner.

There is no loser.

You can't lose.

You WILL win...

All you have to do is keep playing.


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