It’s Christmas, and as we all know, one good way to destroy the happy family atmosphere is with a friendly game of Monopoly!
It’s a game with a long history, but what I hadn’t realised until recently was that the original game was designed to warn players about the dangers of a monopoly. Unfortunately, over time the game changed into the ‘winner takes all’ format that we now know.
It’s easy to dismiss all this – “oh, it’s just a game, it doesn’t really matter…” – and maybe that’s true. But what if – as Seth Godin talks about on this episode of his podcast – we are always playing games? Does that mean that our behaviour when playing Monopoly actually reveals more about us than we would like?
Gary Vaynerchuk often makes a similar point about social media: we are quick to blame Facebook, Instagram and so on for damaging our social interactions … but maybe social media is just exposing us? It’s a symptom of fundamental underlying issues, rather that the cause of our woes?
I have nothing against healthy competition – I believe that an important part of life is learning about winning and losing … and when we are able to learn from our losses – to improve as a result of them – they can be incredibly valuable. [An often overlooked point here – and one that is brilliantly made in the book ‘Rework’ by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier-Hansson – is that we also need to learn from our wins and successes, too]. But is the ‘winner takes all’ result really the best thing we can aspire to?
Is there a better game we could be playing?