A New Game Theory – Stop Playing!

I am not a Gamer, as the term is currently used. I tried my hand at Pong on my home TV, and at PacMan in the arcades, but quickly lost interest. Text based strategy software, role-play and first-person shooters never had much appeal for me. (Although, if you grew up with those pastimes I can highly recommend a novel by Ernest Cline, Ready Player One. It’s a great book.)

arcade gameI play the game of business. Coaching business owners is a daily plethora of puzzles. No two companies are alike, and no two problems have the exact same solution. Like any game, as I gained in experience (over decades) I became better at it.

I must confess, however, to a recent interest in a couple of smart phone based games. One is a variant on the old “match three of a kind” puzzles that go back to Tetris and before. The other (which I was dragged into by my Millennial-age son) involves building villages and defending them against others.

Both games have become enormously popular, and both have a new feature that I believe adds to their success: the automatic time out. Try as you might, you can’t play these games for endless periods (unless you want to fork up real cash – something I haven’t yet embraced.) You run out of lives in the matching game and must wait for new ones to be generated, and it takes a long time to install new structures in the village-building.

I appreciate these structural pauses. They remind me that it’s only a game. Stepping back from fantasy-world competition  puts a perspective on it’s importance, which is none at all. The next level of accomplishment is only going to be followed by more challenges.

That’s why participating in regular peer groups or coaching is so valuable for any business owner. Stepping back from the challenges of building a business helps put things into perspective. Where are you going? What are you trying to accomplish? Will today’s challenge, the task of the moment, really make that much difference in the long run?

We operate peer boards and coaching under the auspices of The Alternative Board®, but there are numerous other organizations and independent coaches. Find one that fits for you, and step back from the game from time to time.

Hunting in a Farmer’s World has been named the National Silver Medal Kindle CoverAward winner by the Independent Publishers Association as one of the year’s best business books by . Thank you!

Ippy Silver



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