Infinite mindset

Posted on 
April 13, 2021

I'm a fan of a long-term approach to business. It offers a calmer, less reactive, more satisfying, more sustainable way to work.

The challenge with "long-term" is that it can feel arbitrary. When people say long-term, it can mean very different things. Is it a year, 10, 100? And what it so different about two arbitrary numbers?

Perhaps a better mental model is a finite versus an infinite mindset.

With finite mindset, business is a finite game. You play to win.

With infinite mindset, business is an infinite game. You play to keep playing.

Finite mindset is about status and power. Infinite mindset is about meaning and strength.

With finite mindset, you fear surprises. With inifinite mindset you cherish them.

Finite mindset fosters paranoia. Inifinite mindset fosters creativity.

Finite mindset is serious. Inifinite mindset is playful.

Finite games have boundaries. The infinite game has but a horizon.

Finite games are zero sum. The inifinite game is positive sum.

The concept of the infinite game was first coined by James P. Carse in Finite and Infinite Games. It's a sort of book that I both love and hate. But there's no denying that it changed how I view the world.