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🤯Unknown Unknowns #64 - Convincing Yourself You Won
Two weekends ago, I entered my first SUP (StandUp Paddleboard) race. I won! I also came in third. I came in first in my age group and third overall. The results depend on how I frame it. I also had a moral victory, because the winner drafted behind me for almost the entire race.
I've talked about metagames before (here, here, here, here, here, and here) and this is a great example. At one level, I won. At another level, I got third. At yet another level, I worked the hardest (drafting is when you go right behind someone to reduce drag, saving up to 30% of the energy), and only lost because the winner didn't have sportsmanship.
But at what point does choosing the metagame that makes you look the best become a self-indulgent exercise?
I don't think there are any definitive answers to how to approach the metagame.
I'm sharing three essays this week, two on being conscious and intentional about the metagame and a third on the psychology. How do you choose which level of the metagame you play? How much of it is protecting your ego by framing the game as a moral victory or sour grapes?
Nick Maggiulli writes about how status is dependent on context. It's relative, but it's also a choice. And you'll be influenced by your status in one way or another, so it's important to understand the gears and levers.
This is why you have to choose your status game wisely. Because whatever status game you choose in life ultimately determines what you optimize for. Choose money and you’ll end up working all the time. Choose beauty and you’ll always want to look better. Choose fame and you’ll constantly be seeking attention.
Graham Duncan writes about the different mindsets of investors at different levels of ability. He quotes Kwame Anthony Appiah:
“In life the challenge is not so much to figure out how best to play the game; the challenge is to figure out what game you’re playing.”
I found Isaiah Berlin yesterday and his idea of "Positive Liberty" sounds like the ideas about giving yourself permission that I've been wrestling with recently. Positive Liberty is the ability to fulfill one's purposes, distinguished from Negative Liberty, which is freedom from the constraints of others.
Isaiah Berlin says that everyone is subject to:
The doctrine that maintains that what I cannot have I must teach myself not to desire, that a desire eliminated, or successfully resisted, is as good as a desire satisfied, is a sublime, but, it seems to me, unmistakable, form of the doctrine of sour grapes: what I cannot be sure of, I cannot truly want.
In other words, since we subconsciously convince ourselves to be happy with what we have, it's not good enough to be free from other people's constraints - we are actively (yet subconsciously) constraining ourselves. We must seek Positive Liberty.
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Leaving you in peace,