This week, continuing the theme of time, we are talking about how good we are at managing resources, yet we suck at managing our time. Turns out you have been playing the game wrong all this time.
Imagine playing a game where the objective is to gather as many “game slips” as possible while lasting as long as you can. The game ends when you run out of “blocks,” and every player is given a slightly different amount at the start.
Now, to earn “game slips,” you have to exchange them for “blocks.” These “game slips” will cost you a fixed amount in every turn. However, you can choose to spend your “blocks” in any way you want, but you have to use them in every turn.
Finally, you have the option to use your “blocks” to decrease the cost of “game slips” slightly, instead of just getting “game slips“, on every turn.
Pretty simple right? What do you think is the best strategy to win?
If you are like me, you would probably say that going for the “cost decrease” route often is the best strategy. Not every turn, but lean heavily on “cost decrease” at the start and then make bank as the game nears its conclusion.
Additionally, you would want to hide how many “blocks” you have from other players and not cooperate so you can trick them into overspending. It’s only rational.
And you would be right. With that strategy, you would probably win that game every time.
But here is the thing. We are rarely rational in real life.
The Game of Life
Read the game description again and just exchange the “blocks” for “time,” “cost decrease” for “education,” and “game slips” for “money” or “success.” The game rules are still straightforward and rational, but we are terrible at playing that game optimally.
Now, don’t blame yourself. We as humans have yet to evolve our primitive brains to be anywhere close to being consistently rational, especially for extended periods.
Our limbic system is still profoundly wired to the evolutionary traits that kept us alive in the savanna thousands of years ago. Moreover, we just recently started being aware of our capacity to see our lives in the future when we look at the progress of human evolution at a grand scale.
Furthermore, we should not see our journey through life as a “finite game.” We shouldn’t feel guilty for not making the best out of our time every day and squeezing out as much potential as we can. Instead, we should try to find balance in our lives and stop comparing our results to others as if we will lose.
Life is a finite game in the sense that it will end at some point, but it should be played as an “infinite game,” where cooperation and contribution should be encouraged and the mindset is to play for as long as we can. The goal is not to end at the top but to play, cooperate, and grow with everyone for as long as we can.
So live your life as you please.
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