100 Days of Rejection, Winner's Game vs. Loser's Game, & More
Today at a Glance
- Question: How would my ideal self show up?
- Quote: The power of words.
- Framework: Winner's Game vs. Loser's Game
- Video: 100 days of rejection.
- Article: How to build agency.
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Question to show up consistently:
How would the best version of myself show up in this situation?
There's a lot of context switching that has to happen during the course of a single day.
One person may need to show up as (1) a loving parent, (2) a supportive spouse, (3) a dedicated gym rat, (4) a caring friend, and (5) a focused leader at different windows.
That's a lot to manage—which is the reason we frequently struggle to do so.
I think of this struggle as a "Persona Residue" in the sense that you have a little bit of residue from the prior persona that bleeds into your present persona.
It's hard to turn off work mode and turn on family mode. It's hard to turn off family mode and turn on gym mode. But when we get caught in between, both ends suffer.
A question I ask myself to show up consistently: How would the best version of myself show up in this situation?
By bringing that question to the top of my mind, I can shift my attention and turn on that version of myself more efficiently and effectively.
For example: Let's say I'm headed to a family event. The best version of myself would show up as present, loving, and supportive. By identifying those traits, I can turn them on and show up as that ideal self.
Considering how your ideal persona would show up in a situation is a great way to mitigate the impact of Persona Residue and show up consistently for those you love.
Quote on the power of words:
"Colors fade, temples crumble, empires fall, but wise words endure." - Edward Thorndike
Words create ripples through time and space.
Choose them wisely—for they hold more power than you can possibly imagine.
Framework that applies to everything:
Winner's Game vs. Loser's Game
In the 1999 tennis book, Extraordinary Tennis for the Ordinary Tennis Player, author Simon Ramo broke down the difference between amateur and professional tennis:
- Amateur tennis is a Loser's Game. 80% of points are lost on unforced errors. You win by avoiding errors and waiting for your opponent to make errors.
- Professional tennis is a Winner's Game. 80% of points are won on incredible shots. You win by hitting incredible shots.
I don't play tennis, but this is an idea that extends well beyond the confines of the court into every area of life.
There are two core insights here:
- You have to know what game you're playing: There's no point trying to hit magnificent shots if you're playing a Loser's Game. You're better off keeping it simple and avoiding unforced errors. Similarly, there's no point trying to play conservatively and avoid unforced errors if you're playing a Winner's Game. You're better off trying to hit the elegant shots.
- The game you're playing might change as the levels change: What starts out as a Loser's Game can become a Winner's Game. For example, your early career years may be defined as a Loser's Game. You just need to avoid big mistakes and get the work done. Your later career years may be defined as a Winner's Game. Outsized rewards go to those who hit the magnificent shots.
I can't stop thinking about this mental model. Ever since I came across it, I feel like I'm seeing it everywhere.
The questions I'm asking myself:
- What type of game am I playing? Am I being compensated for avoiding mistakes or for executing beautifully?
- How might the game change as I rise through the levels?
Consider asking yourself these questions more regularly in the weeks and months ahead.
Ted Talk that captivated me:
I don't watch many Ted Talks, but this one was sent to me by a dear friend and definitely passed the test.
Brilliant, authentic, raw delivery on a topic I think about often.
The Fear Paradox: The thing you fear the most is often the thing you most need to do. Fears, when avoided, become limiters on our progress. Make a habit of getting closer to your fears—treat them as magnets for your energy and you'll find growth on the other side.
Essay I can't stop thinking about:
Really good piece from Cate Hall, a writer and former top ranked female poker player in the world.
Her advice for living with more agency:
- Face rejection (see video above).
- Seek real feedback.
- Increase luck surface area.
- Assume everything is learnable.
- Learn to love the embarrassment of being a beginner.
- Don't work too hard.
Worth your time!