In the game of life, are you playing a finite game or an infinite game?
James Carse's short book about this is worth tracking down and reading.
The Finite Game Approach to Life
A finite game has clear rules and ends with clear winners and clear losers.
Winning a finite game of life means following the rules. Do as you're told, get schooled, get a job, get promoted, get married, have kids, get a big house, buy a lot of stuff, etc. This game ends in fortune and status.
That is if you win.
But in order for you and your "team" to win, others and their team must lose.
You know people who are playing the finite game of life. Are they the happiest, healthiest, and most human folks you know?
A finite game isn't very satisfying because it's out of alignment with our natural impulse to present, grateful, and serve others.
A Different Approach - The Infinite Game of Life
An infinite game has a different intent, to be able to keep playing. This can only happen if those you are playing with can keep playing too.
In the infinite game approach to life, the point is for all to thrive and prosper. To do that means everyone playing has a vested interest in helping the other players thrive and prosper as well.
The object isn’t “winning” or “getting it right.” All you need to do is get it right enough to be able to play again tomorrow. If you're intentional and play with integrity, you'll do so and be both wiser and more skilled.
You enhance your life by enhancing the lives of others. Aligning your interests with those of others leads to greater fulfillment and happiness. Everyone wins.
Conclusion and a Question
You're already a player in the game of life. Which game are you playing?
Keep flying higher!
"PHENOMENAL job, Scott. Thank you for your continued contribution and valuable work."
"Scott, do you know the reach of your work? You are bending our perspectives and it is appreciated!"
"Scott is one of the most generous people I've ever met.....sharing his time and knowledge to make everyone's journey better."
"Scott is a great motivator, driver of change in every environment."
“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” ― Marcus Aurelius
In an age that seems to reward certainty and confidence, it's tempting to look for a map. The shortest, fastest, and easiest way to get where you want to go (or worse, where others think you should want to go).
The problem with maps is they can only take you where others have already been. They can't reveal the best course for you. Only a compass can do that.
Maps require obedience. Compasses cultivate empowerment.
Employing a compass over a map requires curiosity and courage. A willingness to learn as you go. It allows for course correction and tacking. The compass invites adventure and fellow travelers.
Are you trying to find your way or follow someone else's? Do you need a map or a compass?
Keep flying higher!
I run at the cemetery as a daily memento mori. A reflection on mortality. "Remember you die." It's an opportunity to contemplate the journey from "womb to tomb" into which Cornel West reminds us we are born.
My cemetery run ritual reminds me of the transience of earthly things and the futility of ego attachments.
It's a call to return to the hic et nunc (here and now), and do the work I was born for. The work of being a human being. Cultivating character. Enhancing the lives of others.
What do you think? Is it possible that contemplating your death might inspire you to start living well?
I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Keep flying higher!
I had the privilege of speaking with Seth Godin again on the Creative On Purpose Broadcast. A profound moment was about the perils of creative attachment. Here are some "aha moments."
We control our perception of people, situations, and circumstances and what we decide to do next. We do not control the outcomes of those actions.
We can influence results through the thoughtful use of strategy and tactics. Generosity, storytelling, tension, positioning, remarkability, etc. must be employed ethically and with empathy, if we are to be creative marketers, and not hackers, spammers, tricksters, and selfish advertisers.
The motivation, intention, and aspiration of our work matter. It matters a lot. At least as much as how we employ the tools listed above. But, once we put our work in the world, all bets are off.
The mindset of “this might not work” can help give us the courage to adopt the posture to ship and fail, but acting “as if” means we must be prepared for the even scarier proposition that it may well work!
“We have a right to our labor, but not to the fruits of our labor.” - Krishna
Getting the results we seek is nice, but rarely happens exactly the way we wish. Attaching the value of our work (or ourselves), to results is a path to suffering. If we focus on the reasons for our work (What’s it for? Who’s it for? What change are we trying to make?), we create not only the best chance to influence the results we seek but, far more important, the best chance to flourish, even when we fail.
An additional "revelation" that came after further reflection. Attachment doesn't only lead to suffering when we project ourselves into the future. It happens to when we cling to the past. Here's what I wrote down during a recent morning journaling routine:
Attachment to past relationships, situations, and circumstances is at least as debilitating as our attachment to desired future outcomes.
Be here now. Trust the process. Emotions often come uninvited, but feelings are things you decide to embrace or shun. You already possess everything you need to thrive and prosper. You have the capacity for reason, a creative instinct, and are surrounded by people want to help you and be helped by you.
Go, do that. Do it now.
"Love the humble art you have learned and take rest in it." - Marcus Aurelius
Keep flying higher!