The Infinite Game

In Blog, Hustle Podcast by Eric ByrnesLeave a Comment

Recently slaughtered Simon Sinek’s new book called “The Infinite Game.” 

Basically, in life we play 2 types of games:

A finite game which will always end with a win or a loss and an infinite game that has no ending because, well… It’s INFINITE.

Of course, our egos LOVE the immediate gratification of the finite game.

The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat gives us instantaneous feedback quantified by individual statistics and a scoreboard…

Yet the finite game is fleeting.  

Sure, the results may remain, but so long as we maintain a growth mindset, the feeling of accomplishment or dejection doesn’t last and nor do we want it to.

The infinite game on the other hand has far greater sustainability… Why? 

Well, it’s pretty simple actually… The goal of the infinite game is to keep playing. In order to do that,  we must have a grander vision in mind that goes well beyond ourself and our own selfish desires.

We don’t decide when we start playing the infinite game, and we don’t get to decide when it ends, because ideally, it doesn’t. 

The infinite game needs a worthy opponent in order to keep playing and it’s a mutual respect and admiration that ultimately will keep the game going and push all of us to the next level.

Businesses are constantly faced with this moral dilemma of which game to play… 

Do what’s best for the short term gains and bottom line figures to appease ego, investors and stock prices, or do what’s best for the long term sustainability of the company, it’s employees and the consumer.

As an example, Sinek uses the decision by CVS to quit selling tobacco products at all of their stores nationwide as an infinite game strategy to help keep the game going for future generations. CVS reportedly lost 2 billion dollars in sales by making the decision and immediately got blasted on Wall Street… The day the announcement was made, they took a small hit but not nearly what experts had predicted.

Then in an ironic twist of fate, within a short period of time the stock not only came back to full price but it actually increased by 70 percent.

The conscience goodwill decision of a company to stop selling products that kill nearly 500,000 people a year may have lost them the immediate finite game, but they don’t give two f*cks about the finite game because they aren’t playing it… 

CVS was playing the infinite game and the absolute only way to keep the infinite game alive is by making decisions that will make sure the game lasts a lot longer than we will be here.

-EB