Somewhere back in the 90s, I lost the only competitive tournament I’ve ever entered – Magic the Gathering ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. My friends and I had entered on an ironic whim but I still wanted the $50 first-place prize.
Every other tournament entrant was in their teens and 20s, except my first-round opponent – the very adorable 6-year-old daughter of the tournament organizer.
I took an early and dominant lead over the 6-year old.
But then she began to cry.
I felt horrible – that I’d even considered winning. What was I thinking? So I began to throw the match.
But as I started to deliberately lose my lead, the little girl began also began to blatantly cheat. Maybe she had been crying because she was so competitive? She slipped very powerful cards from a pile on her chair into her hand, gleefully accelerating my defeat. I was soon the first to be eliminated from that 90-person tournament. I wondered for a moment whether I should have told her dad she cheated but now I am glad I didn’t. Who cares, it’s just a game.
And anyway, I got something out of it. I didn’t get a prize-sum but I didn’t get a zero-sum either – I got a story I’ve told a dozen times over the past 20 years. And it even gets a laugh, at least if my audience has been imbibing. Well worth the $10 entrance fee.
Jonathan Stark told a similar tournament story the other day, though he was vanquished by a man named Tony who plays Karate, not a cheating 1st grader.
Like Jonathan, I don’t think there have to be winners and losers to every aspect of life – and as you and I both know, there can be many winners from business activities. And many ways to win.
One color of people in the US will not get less because another color gets more – it’s the exact contrary, in fact. All lives don’t cease to matter because of the crucial principle that black lives do matter.
The next time you write a story about delivering your products and services to a happy effect (call it a case study if you want), I’d consider talking about how everybody who played won – even you.
Have a great week ahead,