Substack and the Infinite Game
Tuesday Thoughts #66
As part of my efforts to be more consistent with getting you a worthy newsletter each week, I've switched to Substack.
It's a little lower friction and should enable me to build this learning community a little faster. Please mark firstname.lastname@example.org as safe to prevent it from ending up in your spam folder.
As an added benefit, the archive is significantly improved.
If you've got comments, feedback is a gift. Any and all feedback. If you enjoy this newsletter, I'd love to know what you like so I serve up more of it. And, thanks for reading. You fuel my learning journey.
I recently read Simon Sinek's Infinite Game.
A finite game is rocking, cradling, or getting a baby totally milk drunk to get her to sleep. The rules, players, and ending are all clear. And, there's usually a clear winner.
Unfortunately, the cost of that victory is the need for a repeat performance the following day and my baby forming terrible life skills. Like a football game or a business whose sole focus is the bottom line, the glory will not last long.
Approach an infinite game with a finite mindset and you end up with a disaster like Afghanistan.
We often do this in our own lives when we engage in transactional relationships, a win-at-all-costs mindset, and a dismissal of the long-term consequences.
This week, I've shifted to the infinite game. I’m sleep training the baby to fall asleep on her own.
Infinite games are ones where the rules, length, or other players are often unknown -- the goal is to play for as long as possible. Life, education, and marriage are a few examples of infinite games. Long-term thinking and positive actions are the keys that will keep you in the game.
It's important to know which one you're playing -- and play accordingly.
The following are keys to playing a good infinite game:
Find a game worth playing; one that inspires you to be better every day and leave a better world behind. Be like MLK or the teacher that changed your life.
Act with integrity; the longer the game, the more important it is that you generate trust and meaningful relationships. More Oprah, less Matt Lauer.
Embrace uncertainty -- if you're not evolving, you're making it more likely that you're becoming irrelevant. More Netflix, less Blockbuster.
Which game are you playing?
Introducing Book Notes.
This has been a longtime to-do for my site. Each page will provide a quick overview of a book I’ve read, the best takeaways, and all the raw highlights captured during my readthrough.
The goal is twofold:
More contact = more opportunities for learning.
Increasing my site's value as a learning resource on a specific topic or book.
The following is an example from my just-published page on Simon Sinek's The Infinite Game.
The Infinite Game
Author: Simon Sinek
Year Read: 2021
Overall Satisfaction (1-5): 5
🚀 Tweet-Sized Summary
To escape the rat race, a fixed system of winners and losers, we need to play the Infinite Game.
How do you survive a game without rules or without end? @simonsinek says to seek a just cause where we place people first, pursue better over best, and embrace uncertainty.
☘️ How the Book Changed Me
Thinking about life, work, and relationships as never-ending games. This provides a masterclass for how to lead others and build organizations: people first. To remain relevant, impactful, and in the game, I need to constantly strive to be better and approach change as an opportunity rather than a danger.
✍️ 3-5 Takeaways
Infinite games have no beginning, middle, or end. The objective is only to keep playing and perpetuate the game.
Leaders are not responsible for the results, leaders are responsible for the people who are responsible for the results.
Infinite-minded leaders understand that “best” is not a permanent state. Instead, they strive to be “better.” “Better” suggests a journey of constant improvement and makes us feel like we are being invited to contribute our talents and energies to make progress in that journey.
The responsibility of an organization is to use its will and resources to advance a cause greater than itself, protect the people and places in which it operates and generate more resources so that it can continue doing all those things for as long as possible.
To infinite-minded players staying on the current path is the bigger risk. They embrace the uncertainty. Failure to flex, they believe, will significantly restrict their ability to advance the Cause.
To see the rest of the notes, click here.
How can I make the notes more useful to you?
Thinking in Systems:
This is the current evolution of my note-taking process/Progressive Summarization:
Highlight notes while reading in Kindle (books) or Instapaper (articles/emails)
I recently switched from Evernote to Obsidian for storing my notes and writing. More powerful and it's FREE.
Bold/highlight interesting ideas
Summarize key ideas at the top of the note
Write related blog post/create an interpretive product
My end goal and processes are slightly more developed than South Park's underappreciated underwear gnomes:
Phase 1: Collect Notes
Phase 2: Mix/Match/Write
Phase 3: Learning (And, if it were eventually led to profit, that would be okay, too.)
Playing the infinite game, I'm confident continued efforts will yield results.