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Finite or Infinite Game – Which One Are You Playing?

It matters – big time.

If you intend to be successful at a game knowing the rules of the game your playing would be an important first step. Notice I used the term be successful and not the term win? That was on purpose.

Imagine trying to play the game of American Football, only knowing the rules for Soccer. Despite both sports being commonly referred to as Football, no matter how much more appropriate Handegg would have been, playing American Football with only an understanding of European Football would present a challenge.

The same is true if you a playing an infinite game but are using finite rules. Playing by the wrong set of rules is a recipe for disaster.

This is part of why so many struggle with the game of life.  They are applying the wrong set of rules.

There are two types of games – infinite and finite. While there are similarities between the two, the differences are drastic. Depending on the type of game your playing, the goals are completely different and therefore your approach needs to be too.

Finite vs. Infinite Games

First, let’s look at finite games, it is what people are most familiar with. In a finite game the goal is to win.

In a finite game there is a clear start and finish. All the players are known, and everyone knows the rules. At the end of the agreed time there is clear winner and loser that will never change once the game is complete.  

Infinite games are very different. Unlike finite games, there is no end. You may know some of the players but not necessarily all the players. The rules can change, and the objective isn’t to win, it’s to continue to play as long as possible.

Health and fitness is an infinite game. There isn’t a level of health you can achieve that allows you to ‘retire’ and remain the winner. If you stop doing the things that led to achieving a level of health your health will decline.   

The reward for achieving a high level of health? As much time playing the game as possible.

Even better, an elevated level of fitness not only allows you to stay in the game, it allows you to fully participate in the game and enjoy all the amazing experiences the game has to offer.

The Rep Room Approach to Infinite Games

As we have shifted from a finite to an infinite approach with our programs, we have eliminated challenges and short-term focused programs. These programs are based on a finite mentality and while it may financially benefit the organization promoting it, more often than not it leads to frustration by those who come to realize there is no way to ‘win’ at fitness.

With a finite mentality you are willing to take actions and behaviours that are simply not sustainable and potentially come at a cost. For a professional athlete playing in their final championship game of their career it may make sense to ‘freeze’ something to play at the risk of injury. In a finite game there is no tomorrow all that matters is now. In an infinite game all there is, is tomorrow.

When it comes to health and fitness, approaching with an infinite mindset, a goal to keep as healthy and as active as possible for as long as possible will be sure to set you up for long term success.

Next up, we will take a look at Strain. The balance of Strain is what’s important. Not enough strain and nothing will change, you will never develop. Too much strain and you’ll burn out or get injured. Find the sweet spot and that is where the magic happens. But there is a lot more contributing to strain then you may realize.

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