Mark Blasini


Playing the game vs. playing games


A few posts back, I talked aboutthe game of life, which encompasses the area of things over which you have some control, but not total control. I wrote that effective life strategists concentrate on this realm because this is the realm where they can increase their sense of control (and thus enjoyment of life), influence the world (even if just a little), and develop as an individual.

While it is essential to know how to play the game of life, and to do so strategically, there is an important difference between playing the game and playing games.

Playing the game means maximizing control in whatever situation you're in. Since everyone has their own interests, their own agendas, their own priorities, playing the game entails strategy - selectively choosing your words and actions in such a way that you're able to promote your own interests, agendas, objectives.

Playing games, on the other hand, is something different. It involves actively trying to frustrate people so as to tip the balance of power in your favor. Playing games with people might work in the short-term, but you'll quickly lose allies. And in the network economy, allies are how you gain power.

By all means, learn how to play the game. Don't be anyone's fool. Learn how to push your unique vision out into the world. But beware trying to play games with people.