Finite and Infinite Games

According to James P. Carse, there are at least two types of games: Finite games and infinite games. Finite games have a clear beginning and end, a distinct set of rules and boundaries, and we play them for one purpose: to win. Take any match of chess, tennis, football, or Scrabble as an example. Infinite games are different. We don’t play them to win, because they don’t have an end. We play them for the joy of playing in itself and with the purpose of continuing the play. Life itself is such an infinite game, but so are businesses, relationships, careers, or the Web.

Looking at your life, or any endeavor, as an infinite game completely changes your perspective. As you want to keep playing the game, you start to look to the future, think about practical solutions to problems, constantly look around for opportunities, and invest in learning to be prepared for the unknown. But most importantly, you realize that the struggle, the process of creation and growth, is not only an essential part of the game, it is actually the reward for playing it.


This is the 48th post of my 100 days of writing series. You can find a list of all posts here.


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