At the stall one day, an elderly visitor from Odisha, a retired IAS officer, showed interest in Sabi’s ISRO rocket models. He wondered about using a similar approach to spark interest in science and technology among students in government schools back home. It sounded like a good way to foster national pride. Hence, he inquired about “NariShakti” and the potential to bring such programs to Odisha.
Though he wanted the rocket models, concerns about transporting them safely made him opt for five bookmarks instead.
A few months ago, when two new 4-5 year olds joined the Dojo, Jun Shihan allowed Sabi to mentor them, placing her in a responsible role. Previously, Sabi had mostly focussed on herself. But these opportunities made her empathize others’ needs and take action.
We, like many Indian families, didn’t keep pets. As a result, many people weren’t at ease with animals. Some were even fearful. But we taught Sabi to play with cats and dogs from an early age. She and a dog named Zorian became close buddies over the years. When Zorian moved out of Delhi, we made sure Sabi got to say goodbye.
We returned to our usual park and set up shop in the parking area near to the coconut vendor. Sabi embraced her title as a “street hawker.”
Sabi hadn’t been there in a while, but within minutes of opening, an old man recognized her: “Hey, you’re the Snug Monster girl! My friend bought bookmarks and tea from you. I’ve been on the lookout. Got any left?”
That day, she saw more visitors than usual, many of whom were eager to buy after their workouts. As a result, all of her Basil Tea Boxes were sold out.
After covering costs, Sabi pocketed around ₹2700.
Despite the change, she handled it all smoothly.
In zero-sum games, for someone to win another has to lose.
Why it matters: It is important to identify zero-sum games and avoid them because the resulting drama distract us from what matters strategically.
- It makes us hallucinate opportunities where none exist.
- It takes significant time to play status-games because status needs to be known, signaled, and maintained.
- Those who play zero-sum games don’t attract opportunities from long-term players.
- In zero-sum industries, prestige is given much higher weightage than merit.
In contrast: Be on the look out for and play Positive-sum Games.
What causes it: Zero-sum games are triggered by scarcity, conformity, and status-seeking.
- Competition happens when it isn’t feasible to create net-new things and there is isn’t enough money (store of value) to go around. This happens in industries like real-estate, etc.
- In some industries, success is rewarded with status instead of money (store of value), for example, in academia, news and media, identity politics, managers in a dysfunctional organization, etc. In such situations, signaling becomes a better means for advancement than actually doing the work. In contrast, incumbents play the role of gate-keepers.
- A rookie in a cricket team doesn’t resent a pro. However, when hierarchies are built without any meaningful criteria and merit, it degenerates into a zero-sum game. For a number 2 to be number 1, the number 1 must be brought down.
To break free from zero-sum games:
- Think and act independently. Don’t conform.
- Think in Building Blocks
- Build on what you’ve got.
Even after you Buy your way in, always give more than you take from a Owned Network.
- Be present: It could be something as simple as not carrying on a conversation with yourself in your head. Instead, be there fully, listen, and care about the people you are speaking to and focus on their interests.
- Provide value to the conversation by teaching, giving a compliment, making a funny comment, or telling a story.
- Finally, be high status and don’t seek approval.
The myth-making around journalism, much like the myth making with entrepreneurship, social work, professional sports, politics, etc. is destructive.
It surrounds young professionals with stories of others doing the same thing as them, a few successfully but all with a good degree of swagger, so much so that they tend to ignore the risks of their undertaking.
If there was any honesty among those who teach and promote journalism, they would tear down the inspiring quotes and hand out posters saying “You wrote that ground breaking story to challenge that powers that be — and all you got was few Likes on Facebook from your peers, a bunch of anger from trolls and a lousy eviction notice.”
But they don’t because there is a countervailing force at work. There is a profound psychological need which journalism can satisfy. To succeed as an investigative reporter is a form of heroic achievement in any political climate, but particularly in one that your cult deems hostile.
To hold billionaires and powerful politicians accountable affords you fawning respect, fan following and invitations to speak at prestigious universities.
Independent Journalism accelerates this process. It allows individuals a shot at the even deeper pleasure of doing work that they cannot do while working for others.