Chapter #14: Simon Sinek
Infinite Games vs Finite Games and more.
Another brilliant man named Simon Sinek, expanding the concepts put forward by James Carse, is an expert in Finite Games and Infinite Games. Here is a summary of some of his work.
Finite Games have known players, fixed rules and agreed upon objectives, think Football. The Game is played, we agree on a winner and then we go home.
Infinite Games have known and unknown players, the rules change and the objective is to perpetuate the game, to keep the game in play.
When you pit a Finite player vs a Finite Player, the system is stable.
When you pit an Infinite player vs an Infinite Player, the system is also stable.
The Cold War, unlike most of the Wars of the past, was an Infinite Game. The weapons are now too powerful to have winners and losers, so the game had to change. The goal of the Cold War game was to simply stay in the game.
There is no such thing as winning or losing an Infinite Game, but if players lose the will to play or do not have the resources to continue they drop out, while the Infinite Game carries on.
The real problems occur when you pit an Infinite Player vs Finite Player. The Finite player is playing to win and the Infinite Player is playing to play and they make very different strategic decisions.
An example is Wars in the Middle East, both Russia and the United States have fought wars with them, with far better technology and while Russia and the US played to win, parts of the Middle East fought to stay alive. They were playing two different games.
These games also play out in society. Large corporations play the Infinite Games while the common man plays the Finite Games. Over the years the Corporations amass more and more resources and more and more wealth and take over the vast majority of business, while the common man drops out of the Game to become employees. The Game of Employment is a Finite Game, with known players, agreed upon objectives and fixed rules.
More problems arise when there is really no one left except infinite players and they start to engage in internal self-importance. They don’t even realize it, but they begin to play the Finite Game, they want to win. At the same time, the Common Man, now starts to fight for their mere survival and they begin playing the Infinite Game. This is how you get the Pharmaceutical Industry amassing enough power and resources to influence Government and begin to enforce their expensive vaccinations on everyone. These corporations ceased being content merely being the Game and decided they needed Win. In response to this use of over reach of force created a situation where the Common man was forced to start playing the infinite.
Infinite Games play out all over our lives and we generally don’t even realize it. The Game of Marriage is an Infinite Game, Business is an Infinite Game, Friendships are Infinite Game.
When we play with a Finite mindset in the Infinite Game there is very little trust, very little cooperation and very little innovation. Which means we need to completely rethink how we play the game.
The Infinite Player understands that sometimes they have the better product and sometimes someone else has the better product. There is no winning or being the best there is only being ahead or behind. The only true competitor in an Infinite Game is yourself. The only Goal is to make a better product this year than last year, that everything is constant improvement.
- Just Cause: is a purpose or cause that is so just that you would be willing to sacrifice to be a part of it. For instance, the emerging Decentralized World, De-Finance, Dis-Intermediation, Exclusion-less, Permission-less, Gatekeeper-less, Non-Custodial, My Keys, My Coins, My Information, My Data. People first +profit as byproduct = abundance. I’m not your Product by default, I’m not your battery, I’m not your energy source. I no longer have to prove to you that I’m worthy to be on your platform, instead you can prove to me that your Platform is worthy of me. Just Cause is what gives our lives and our work meaning.
- Trusting Teams: means that someone can admit to making a mistake or ask for training or I’m having family issues and need help and they can trust that others will offer to help sincerely. With Untrusting teams you cannot admit to a mistake or the others will pounce and you cannot admit you are having problems at home causing productivity issues at work. With Trusting teams the members feel like they have agency and that the Company trusts them to make the right decisions.
- Worthy Adversary: these are adversaries you respect, they have decorum, do their job well and have most of the characteristics of someone you respect. In this case, you are not really competing with them, you are competing with yourself, yet you still have a worthy adversary, someone who is great at what they do.
- Existential Flexibility: With the Finite, games come and go, but the Players remain but with the Infinite, games stay around all the time and Players come and go. The willingness for a dramatic shift in strategy because you have found a better way based on Just Cause.
- The Courage to Lead: When everything out there and most everyone giving you advice puts profit before people, focuses on short term gains, advises abandoning just cause for profit, etc. etc. yet you are still willing to use Courage to do the right thing, to put it all on the line, takes immense courage and is an indicator of a leader.
Clearly, each of our lives is Finite, but ultimately our collective lives, our children, our grand children, they are Infinite. By playing the Infinite Game, you are showing your dedication to the ongoing long term benevolence of society over long periods of times.
Also, Start with Why.
With genuine appreciation