Mindset: Adopting an Infinite One

Who’s the greatest of all time: Michael Jordan or LeBron James?

For those that believe MJ is the greatest, their arguments will include 6 NBA championships, multiple Defensive Player of the Year awards, and scoring titles.

For those that believe LeBron is the greatest, they’ll argue that he’s won a championship with three different franchises, beat tougher competition, and passed Jordan on the all-time assists and points lists.

Neither of these groups of critics are wrong. Jordan clearly has James beat in certain categories, while LeBron edges out MJ in others.

So who is the greatest of all time? What metrics should we use to determine this? And how does all of this relate to your health?

Finite vs Infinite Games

There are finite games and there are infinite games.

Finite games are like basketball, chess, or even a workout for time. They have known players, fixed rules, and a clear endpoint. The winners and losers are easily identified.

In infinite games (i.e. business, politics, or health), the players come and go, the rules are changeable, and there is no defined endpoint. There are no winners or losers in an infinite game, there is only ahead and behind.

If you and I are, at various times, players in infinite games, then it is in our interest to learn how to recognize the game we are in.

Put differently, you can adopt a “growth mindset” but never recognize that you’re actually participating in an infinite game. This is similar to the Jordan/James debate: we’re trying to crown a winner of an infinite game by using finite metrics.

Daily Directive

The goal of the “greatest of all time” should not be to claim the most KPI’s. Instead, it should be to simply perpetuate the game. Therefore, the greatest of all-time is he whose legacy lives on forever. But how do you measure that?

According to Simon Sinek, it takes five practices in order to adopt an infinite mindset, and thus judge whose on course to leaving a lasting legacy:

  • Just Cause
  • Trusting Teams
  • Worthy Rivals
  • Existential Flexibility
  • Courage to Lead

I will define and give examples of each of these in the coming days, but for now, classify the goals you are pursuing by placing them in finite and infinite buckets.

Recognize that health, and even life itself, are infinite games which mean you are our own best competition. The goal then should be to be better next year than you are this year.

Finally, rewrite (where you need to) new goals or metrics that will help you adopt an infinite mindset.


Other articles in this series:
Mindset:Advancing a Just Cause
Mindset: Trusting Teams
Mindset: Worthy Rival
Mindset: Existential Flexibility
Mindset: Courage to Lead

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