Dear friend,

Life is not a zero sum game, meaning there are no winners or losers in life. We can all be winners and we are all on the same team.

What does zero-sum mean?

The reason they call it “zero sum” is that if you assume that life is about winners or losers, a win (+1) combined with a loss (-1) will equal 0.

1. SPARTANS didn’t allow their kids to play games

The ancient Spartans didn’t allow their youth to play games. Why? In games there are winners and losers. But in real life, this isn’t the case.

I think games were invented to make non-heroes to have the illusion of progress or “winning” in life. This is why people who hate their jobs and lives are addicted to video games. Video games give you instant response, a clear trajectory of progress, you can upgrade yourself, gain experience points, get new weapons go on adventures and win battles.

Why not take that video game analogy to real life? We can level up our hit points by hitting the gym and doing deadlifts. We can add mana and wizard points by studying philosophy books. We can add more gold to our coffers by studying business, entrepreneurship, and trying to hustle and make money on the side.

2. My economic theory

So I have a theory: the world is not a zero sum game. In economics, there is an unlimited pie for everyone.

This is because planet earth is not a closed system. We get heat and energy from the sun and outside forces. Therefore, the same with starting our own businesses. We ain’t competing with nobody else, but ourselves.

Let me give you a real life example. When I started to teach street photography workshops, many people saw me as a threat. They were afraid that if I taught workshops, everyone would only go to my workshops, and not their workshops. But that is a false fallacy. The truth is, a student can go to more than one workshop. And they generally do. I’ve had a lot of students who have done many workshops before.

So the first fallacy we must overcome is to think that there is a limited economic pie. Rather, this pie is unlimited, and we can expand it.

For example, you can expand the economic pie by creating your own niche. Elon Musk expanded the economic pie by making electric cars sexy and an option to purchase. Steve Jobs introduced new products to the world like the iPhone and iPad, which consumers didn’t even know they wanted. Henry Ford made the first modern automobile (Model T) in an era where people just wanted a “faster horse.”

Let’s say you’re a wedding photographer. You ain’t competing with any other wedding photographer so don’t feel threatened. What you can do is create your unique style (like how my friend Neil Ta combines architecture and wedding photography) to create a new genre of wedding or engagement photography. He expands the pie. Also another thing to consider: a couple can hire more than one wedding photographer for a wedding. Or perhaps you can be a videographer, and shoot video for weddings (and make more money).

3. We are all in the same party

If you assume we are all playing an RPG (role playing video game), consider we we are all on the same party.

You are a wizard, I am a paladin, we also have an amazon, a necromancer, a barbarian, and a healer. Some of our jobs are to absorb damage (tanks) while some of us stand in the back and deal massive damage. Some of us heal the party. Some of us cast spells. We all have strengths and weaknesses, but when we work together as one party or team, we are stronger.

Consider that we are all on the same team and party. We are like the power rangers. We are like the same League of legends clan. We are the same Diablo II party. We are the same Counterstrike scrim team.

So friend, never see others as your competition or enemies. Remember, all of humanity is on your team.

Be strong,

Life is an RPG >