The metagame approach to life is all about winning and achieving your biggest objectives by:
The metagame approach to life can be used in various different contexts which may include your career, your business, your education and personal development and even your personal relationships.
My personal view is that:
The English word
Meta is derived from its Greek origin and is a prefix meaning "beyond", "more comprehensive" or "transcending".
A Game is an activity or sport usually involving skill, knowledge, or chance, in which you follow fixed rules and try to win - usually against an opponent.
The concept is attributable to John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern's game theory in 1944 and was further developed by political analyst and author Nigel Howard as a term, describing a strategy and an analytical technique for mitigating potential nuclear confrontation during the coldwar of the 1960s and 1970s.
It has also been adopted by professional poker players where the metagame is a psychological game among skilled players who make adjustments to their play based on how they think an opponent is likely to interpret a given set of actions.
In summary we can say that:
The metagame is the game beyond the game.
Single Player Game
There is one further important definition and that is the single player game.
As Naval Ravikant says:
"Life is a single player game. You’re born alone. You’re going to die
alone. All of your interpretations are alone. All your memories are
alone. You’re gone in three generations and no one cares. Before you
showed up nobody cared. It’s all single player."
One of the core themes of this site is how to think more effectively and this matters because, over the long term, the outcomes that you experience, and the quality of your life, is determined by how you respond to the events in your life.
Life is full of random events that are beyond your control, but the one thing you can control is how you choose to respond to these events - and it is a choice that can have a major effect on your health, wealth and happiness.
The metagame approach to life brings together a set of skills and resources that you can apply to not only live well but also to become the best version of yourself.
I have covered this subject from many different angles in a wide range of articles on this site, and in this article I am focusing on 3 key strategies that encompass material in many of those articles, so in a sense, this is a meta-article!
Here are my 3 strategies for applying the metagame approach to life.
Each of these strategies are based entirely on my own life experiences and I am still applying these strategies very proactively in the business area of my life.
I am not interested in shooting the breeze and idle intellectual speculation. This is not about abstract ideas and concepts, this is about actions.
I do not write these articles nor maintain this website to entertain readers. I am only interested in sharing practical information that I have used and proven, and that is transformative.
I write for the one in a thousand readers who will apply these strategies and in so doing transform his or her life.
There is a supporting article for each strategy together with very specific action points illustrated by personal examples and illustrations together with links to a wide range of further resources.
At the end of this article there are links to further recommended reading.
 The Long Game - Delay Gains Now To Get More Later
We just hate to wait. We have a micowave mindset. We want what we want now!
Playing the long game is an instant differentiator because we are all hard wired for quick results and most of the time we are looking for a quick fix and instant gratification.
The long game describes an approach to any area of life that sacrifices short term gains for long-term wins.
It is about being prepared to make a lot of mistakes and errors and being prepared to look an idiot in the short term to look like a genius and make massive gains in the long term.
This is a rough, tough journey but the rewards are huge.
The long game is so hard to play because it involves taking a series of very small steps, that people rarely see, persistently and consistently over a long period of time to reach an enormous and visible outcome.
Ryan Holiday cites Hofstadter’s Law and observes that it always takes longer than you expect:
"Waiting is not the hardest part. It’s the not knowing when the waiting is going to end. But that’s life. That’s how success works.
It takes longer than you want. It takes longer than you expect. It takes longer than you’re willing to wait. In any case, it takes however long it takes."
the long game is doubly difficult when you are traveling on a road less
traveled that is not well defined, where the milestones and metrics are
not known when you start out on this journey.
Examples of the road less traveled are starting a business or any other form of entrepreneurial activity. Other examples could be launching any form of creative or artistic endeavour.
 Exploit The Hidden Margins
This about identitying and benefiting from unrecognised opportunites for potential gain.
I want to introduce you to two concepts that may be unfamiliar:
A margin is the gap or space between 2 things.
the business sense, margin is your profit. Your margin is the difference between what you paid for something and the price you sold it for.
But not all margins are so easy to quantify. That they may be difficult to see or quantify does not mean that they are not valuable. Often these less visible [or intangible] margins represent big opportunites for gain. The key is knowing what to look for and how to turn it into a profit.
Tangible and Intangible Margin
Tangible Margin - refers to things that can be easily seen and quantified.
Examples of tangible margin can include things such as: how much money you can save on your household expenditure measured against a fixed income; or how much time you allow when setting off to catch a flight; or how much time and flexibility you allow in your day between scheduled tasks and activities.
Intangible Margin - refers to things that are not immediately obvious or visible and are hard to quantify.
Our focus is on intangible margin because that's where the big potential gains are to be found.
Primary and Secondary Currency
Currency is how we measure the value of a margin.
Primary currency - is measured in facts, figures and money, and is an objective measure.
Secondary Currency - is anything that has high perceived non-monetary
value and importance to a specific individual or group of individuals, and therefore is subjective.
There is a very interesting and profitable interplay between primary and secondary currency and how one can be leveraged to greatly increase the other.
Our focus is on understanding, identifying and leveraging secondary currency because that's where the big primary currency benefits are to be found.
We will go into this in more depth and I will share some personal illustrations here.
We have to know where to look for these intangible margins, how to position ourselves to find them and how to apply some very simple questions that will help us learn how to benefit from the unseen margins.
The common theme in each of the following tips is to ask questions and be curious.
The following tips are questions that I have found to be useful in my ongoing quest to learn more about how to benefit from the unseen margins and positioning myself to be take advantage of them.
 Focus On The Fat Tail Fractal Factor
We are all familiar with the 80/20 rule [also know as the Pareto Principal]
which basically means that as a general observation 80% of your results
come from 20% of your efforts.
What you may not know, and I certainly didn't, is that that the 80/20 rule can be applied to itself - that's what the fractal factor means.
So 20% of your 20% best efforts [i.e. 4%] will deliver 64% of your best results. This is illustrated in the second line of the graphic above.
And the 80/20 rule can be applied to this 4% so 20% of that 4% [i.e. 0.8%] will deliver 51.2% of your best results. This illustrated in the third line of the graphic above.]
So in very simple terms this means that:
1% of your efforts and resources can deliver over 50% of your results!
The challenge lies in finding that key subset of your productive 20%.
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