How Game Theory Helps You Have Better Conversations

Cultural, moral, and policy debates are important.

Offering an opinion is good, sometimes necessary.

But if expressing your opinions and showing how you’re right triumphs all, including being kind, what have you won?

A zero sum games is a fascinating topic introduced by game theory.

For one side to win another must lose.

Status is a great example of a zero sum game.

In order for your status to go up, someone else must be under you.

Non zero sum, and positive games, can be found in business or relationships.

I think often we forget this.

We approach situations with the mindset that: “I need to prove I’m right and that you’re wrong.”

When the actual goal should be to progress human understanding, learn something, and come away with the best conclusion.

That might mean that you still disagree at the end, but at least you’re coming to the table with an attitude that’s trying to understand instead of trying to prove a point.

When I’m most resistant to listen it’s because I’m viewing the conversation through the perspective of a zero sum game.

In order for me to win you must lose.

But what will I have won?

Certainly not your respect, attention, or friendship.

Photo by Dan Farrell on Unsplash.

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