Analytical 7: Winning

4 December, 2016


Winning or losing are concepts taken from games. When you think you’ve won or lost an opportunity, is it really winning or losing?

Transcript available
[Music] Everything can be improved, iterated and refined. If you don't think that's true, maybe you haven't analysed it enough. Calculated choices, carefully considered. Absolutely analytical. Analytical is part of the Engineered Network. Network to support our shows including this one head over to our Patreon page and for other great shows visit today Today I want to talk about winning and losing it's something that's come up recently and I felt like It's one of those things that people just they lay latch on to because they think that they understand the whole idea of what? constitutes a win and what constitutes a loss And I feel like it's not necessarily applied fairly. So we're going to start with a definition because well, you know, the definition of winning is to be successful or victorious in a contest or a conflict. So therefore, you know, losing is the opposite of that state. If you focus on the normal intent of the word losing, then it comes back to winning is to be victorious in a contest. So, at work, we were talking about the best ways to accomplish a certain task and the idea came up of helplessness, a feeling of helplessness that this individual had because no matter what this individual was trying, it felt like they couldn't win, that they couldn't succeed in their endeavor, what they were trying to achieve. It just, it was, they felt like they couldn't win and the whole situation was set up in such a way that he couldn't win A slightly negative individual that I've worked with in a previous company once said to me, rather depressingly, that life was a game, that you couldn't win And something really, really bothered me with that comment and I suppose in part, there was a long time ago in my own life for a brief period I sort of, you know, shared that sentiment for a time not anymore, but the problem with that extension is that the whole idea of winning and losing at certain things of which life is a big one, the whole idea of it is just plain wrong. Because as I see it, winning, winning is actually based on a set of artificial criteria. And it more relates to a game, the setting of a game or there's a series of specific rules, and those rules are very well documented. Those rules are, they have to be specific so they cannot be misinterpreted. Sometimes we'll have judges or umpires that are there to interpret those rules to ensure that they are equally applied. And there's usually someone somewhere or some people somewhere that are keeping track of a score. And that score can help track who wins and who loses based on the rules of the game. So, when it comes to considering things like life as a game, I find that obviously there's some similarities there. I mean, we're all born, you know, we live and we die. So, whilst it's like a game insofar as it has a beginning, a middle and an end, I guess so does a novel. But in life, there's actually, there's no real judge taking a fixed score and there's no truly well-defined set of rules to evaluate any supposed score against If you look at things from a religious standpoint, I mean, religiously speaking, some believe that there's a loose score of a sort being kept to decide where your soul goes after you die but it seems generally flexible or perhaps not so much like a game insofar as that the rules aren't exactly clear or in some cases contradictory. No matter how I go through that thought process, I end up in the same place that it's not possible that life can't actually be a game at all and hence there is no winning or losing scenario. And these issues that we were facing in the business context, in the work environment context, weren't really that different either. They had the same problem. It wasn't a game either. So if an individual sets out to achieve something in life or in business, let's say, and they don't achieve it, that individual there, they're still there, they're still alive, whether they succeed or fail, they're still going to be there. Now, you could say, well, if it was something that was particularly bad, maybe they'll lose their job as a result of what they failed to accomplish, what they set out to do. And maybe that's a bad outcome potentially, but they could find another job. On an individual level, from an accomplishment point of view, let's say, if someone would have failed at, I don't know, let's say trying to swim across the Pacific Ocean in less than a day, well, you know, they should probably slap themselves, wake up and realize it was a stupid idea and try something achievable next time, you know, instead. But you know, they're still there. They didn't drown, they're still alive. And they're still able to take advantage of the next opportunity and all future opportunities. So if your success criteria is centered around the concept that failure means you've lost, And I challenge that and I would ask, does failure happen only when there are no more opportunities left? Because if an opportunity comes your way and you can't or won't take advantage of it, that's what I see as failure. But even so, that's technically not a loss because it's not a loss scenario because it's not a gain. So there's always going to be more opportunities, so long as you're here and you're still in the game that really isn't a game, and you can affect the outcome of whether or not you, by your own criteria, succeed or fail. The reality is it still isn't a win or a loss. It's funny how many people lose so much sleep and get so worried about succeeding and failing and winning and losing when it really misses the point. And the next time you're stuck on whether you've won or lost something and doesn't really have a defined set of rules, then I think you should really ask yourself, is this thing that I think I've won or lost, is it actually a game or isn't it? Because I think you'll find that almost every time, not every time, but almost every time, It isn't a game. And you didn't lose at all. You didn't win either. And that's just fine. Just look for the next opportunity to make something better and focus on that instead. If you're enjoying Analytical and want to support the show, you can, like one of our backers, Chris Stone. He and many others are patrons of the show via Patreon, and you can find it at, all one word. So if you'd like to contribute something, anything at all, it's all very much appreciated. Accept nothing, question everything. It's always a good time to analyze something. I'm John Cicci. Thanks for listening. (upbeat music) [Music]
Duration 8 minutes and 22 seconds Direct Download

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John Chidgey

John Chidgey

John is an Electrical, Instrumentation and Control Systems Engineer, software developer, podcaster, vocal actor and runs TechDistortion and the Engineered Network. John is a Chartered Professional Engineer in both Electrical Engineering and Information, Telecommunications and Electronics Engineering (ITEE) and a semi-regular conference speaker.

John has produced and appeared on many podcasts including Pragmatic and Causality and is available for hire for Vocal Acting or advertising. He has experience and interest in HMI Design, Alarm Management, Cyber-security and Root Cause Analysis.

You can find him on the Fediverse and on Twitter.