Saturday, August 6, 2011 - 10:37
Holding two Sorry! game cards.

I screamed “DO A GOOGLE SEARCH!” in a german accent while pounding my fist on the table. My wife and our friends Emily and Ben roared with laughter (of course you had to be there). We were playing Mad Gab, but not with any care of who won the game. Our goal was to have a great time with some friends. And by the my wife blurted out “Dead man walking!” in a british accent, we were all in tears from laughing so hard.

Fun was had; Mission accomplished.

Sorry! I win, you lose

Board games, sporting events, the rat race of life: almost all of us fall in the trap of pitting ourselves against each other for the ONE trophy/title/medal/etc. Now I have nothing wrong with people taking their skills, talents, and achievements to the highest levels humanly possible. But in the winner takes all mindset, there are a whole lot of losers and everyone is fighting to be that ONE person at the top.

Taken to the extreme, this win-at-all-cost mindset can actually make us all lose. I once saw a news poll that asked the following type of question: would you rather make $100,000 if you’re neighbors were making $200,000 OR would you rather make $50,000 if your neighbors were making $25,000. Shockingly, more people voted that they would rather have less money as long as they had more than everyone else.

In the game of Sorry!, I can only win if you lose.

Everyone can win in the game of life

I’m a believer that:

  • 1+1=7
  • Everyone can win in life.
  • Our only competition is ourselves.

Will everyone win a gold medal at the olympics? No. Only one person can win an event every 4 years and there are millions of athletes around the world competing in each sport. But if you reframe your competition to yourself, it changes the game around completely. It’s no longer whether or not you beat your opponent, it’s whether or not you take your ability to the highest level you can. It’s not fighting to get a larger piece of a smaller pie. It’s working with others to make the pie bigger.

It’s all on how you redefine the lines.

Can you change the paradigm?

So the question we all must face:

  • Do you approach life with a Sorry! mindset? (I win by pushing you back)
  • Can you change your focus to what is truly important in life? (love, joy, and happiness) 
  • Can you make it win-win? (1+1=7!)
  • Can you change the goal of the competition? (developing a skill versus scoring more 'points')
  • Can you work with your competition to achieve more? (make the pie bigger)

And if you’re having trouble figuring out how to change the game, “DO A GOOGLE SEARCH!” (in whatever accent you deem appropriate).

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About Rick Manelius

Quick Stats: CTO of Contact Mapping. Author of Winning the Lottery Within. Graduated from MIT in '03 (BS) and '09 (PhD). Life hacker and peak performance enthusiast. This blog is my experiment in creative writing, self-expression, and sharing what I've learned along my journey. For more information, read my full bio here or contact me.