In game theory and economic theory, a zero-sum game is a mathematical representation of a situation in which each participant’s gain (or loss) of utility is exactly balanced by the losses (or gains) of the utility of
the other participant(s).

If the total gains of the participants are added up and the total losses are subtracted, they will sum to zero. Thus cutting a cake , where taking a larger piece reduces the amount of cake available for others, is a zero-sum game if all participants value each unit of cake equally.

A zero-sum game is a strictly competitive game so if one gains, another loses.

Payoff in a ZERO-SUM game gives rise to a generalized relative selfish rationality standard, the punishing-the-opponent standard, where both players always seek to minimize the opponent’s payoff at a favorable cost to himself rather to prefer more than less.

A lot of people and in fact most develop the basic paradigm that life is a big game, a zero sum game where some win and some lose. “Winning” is “beating” and essentially winners always create losers.

Reach a high enough level of success, skill or happiness and you’ll find a lot of little green monsters around you, many you used to call friends.

This mentality leaves you unfulfilled and destroys your self-esteem. Instead, you should be trying to build a mindset of abundance.


When I was 12 I learnt an important lesson from my Mother which has guided me into adulthood. We weren’t rich or anything but my Mom gave me a decent upbringing by any body’s standards. The one thing that always pained me as a kid is that She didn’t have a car, I always felt something was missing in comparison to other families. At that time we had moved to a new house and a friend of hers had come to see the new place. Her friend was in lovely new car that I admired with envy. As we were waving goodbye with my Mom smiling from ear to ear I asked her why she was so happy for someone who had something we wanted but couldn’t afford.

We went back into the house and she sat down with me and said, regardless of how bad your situation is , always be happy for other people’s success. Their progress does not stand in the way of your ambitions and ability. Jealousy will never get you anywhere in life. If somebody wins that doesn’t mean you’re losing.

Years later that lesson has shaped my approach to life. I don’t have a competitive bone in my body. I’m comfortable with myself and my abilities because I am not worried about what everyone else is doing. If anything I’m competing with myself to better my previous performance. When you’re not bitter about other people’s successes or envious you give yourself the freedom to bloom and grow.

I do not harbour secret desires to see other people fail nor do judge I hold grudges with people who have wronged me. My conscience is relatively clear.

Like everyone else I love the finer spoils of life. I love to splurge and spoil myself but whether I have it or I don’t at any given time that does not form the basis of my self worth. You cannot tell the difference when I have a dollar or a thousand dollars in my pocket. I maintain a healthy level of indifference.

I never do things to get a reaction from other people, good or otherwise. My personal breakthroughs come in stages.

There are plenty of opportunities in life. More so, that I am worthy of those opportunities. I am in
the position to choose.

I have chosen a career in the volatile business world characterised by a lot of valleys and peaks. The drop is inevitable from time to time and strength of character is essential for progress so my indifference to everything and focus on myself keep my head above water.

The weird thing is I have people jealously competing with me everywhere. Because you judge people the way you judge yourself at times I fail to see it. Business associates young and old have tried to sabotage me, steal my ideas and employees to better themselves. I have very few genuine friends left from childhood and school. In most new interactions people start out warm and giving as they have put me in a box or category they are comfortable with and the moment they sense my drive and potential they either embrace me or start acting weird and I always walk away from those types. Some people think I’m a conceited show off and the worst is cold competition from people old enough to be my parents. I have an ex who confessed she got married and had a child just to spite me and make me jealous and would like to rekindle the old thing which makes no sense to me at all. It’s remarkable what people will do for competition.

But most of life is not a competition. We don’t have to live each day competing with our spouse, our children, our co-workers, our neighbors, and our friends

Most of life is an interdependent, not an independent, reality.

Most results you want depend on cooperation between you and others. The win-lose mentality is dysfunctional to that cooperation.

Win-win is the best approach to life. An exchange that is free on both sides, in which no one is forced or tricked into participating, is a win-win game.

You don’t have to go through life looking over your shoulder worrying about what everyone is doing.

At the end of the day you don’t even choose the outfit you’ll be buried in.

We are essentially passing through this world taking nothing with us but our memories and experiences. The better way is to run your own race with pride.

All of us are created in God’s image. Our equal value and dignity as persons doesn’t vary with material wealth.

You may be standing in your own way by focusing on what is not important.

The only constant in life is yourself.

You have to set standards and want more for yourself. And not just more, but the best for
yourself. Don’t envy what other people have.

There’s no such thing as a life that’s better than yours.

Love Yours…

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