Cheating as a losing game

When we're already defeated by submitting to other's domineering behavior, cheating looks like a major improvement in our situation. Never mind that we're making enemies and tarnishing our reputation. When we already experiencing senseless defeats, it appears we have nothing to lose and everything to gain. We opt for cheating as our best option in a bad situation.

People in positions of authority inadvertently create these situations relentlessly. They see no need to let other's win when the others need to be instructed, managed or corrected. Both are entangled in a world that deals strictly with tangible evidence and extrinsic rewards. There is no sense of a common need for meaning, significance and depth in the midst of trying to control each other.

When we realize that something is missing in those situations where we get to be powerful and in control, we often opt for making a noble sacrifice. We bend over backwards to accommodate others. We let them take advantage of the situation to come to their own realizations, sense of accomplishment and self respect. We function as a nurturer, mentor or coach. We're the "guide on the side" instead of the "sage on stage". We're facilitating the other's growth process and erratic work-in-progress.

Being so kind, caring and considerate does not eliminate cheating. Setting an example of losing so others can win -- does not stop others from taking advantage of our apparent weakness, vulnerability or flexibility. It's only when we combine tangible and intangible evidence that the cheating comes to a halt. When we create a win/win situation, the cheaters can join in and change their tune. They are invited to take a different stand and see their cheating differently than before.

From a standpoint of sensible winning for everyone involved, it amounts to "cheating oneself" to take advantage of others. The prior victories now look illusory. The costs are long-lasting in the context of relating, reciprocating and receiving in kind. The side effects of previous arrogance are troublesome. Cheating misses out on successes that feel rich with meaning, value and purpose. The move to sensible winning is a real "game changer".


  1. It is worth noting how much of what is called 'management' consists of exploiting others' "noble sacrifice" in order to produce an "illusion of dominance" for oneself.

    Such behaviour is celebrated in the media and rewarded as the pinnacle of business acumen. When really, it is theft and deceit.

  2. Yes indeed Stephen! Four examples come to mind besides the backlash from "managed cheaters" that I'm implicating here:

    -- Managed communities where the subtle introduction of group norms has the insidious effects of exclusivity, elitism and loss of equal rights
    -- Managed learning where personal explorations, motivations and utilization of new content gets framed as compliant behaviors to be evaluated objectively
    -- Managed networks where firewalls effectively protect the insiders from the vast resources on the outside
    -- Managed employment where top-down hierarchies suppress bottom-up innovations via command & control rhetoric, policies and cultural norms.

    When these "illusions of dominance" get practiced, celebrated and rewarded, nothing is getting learned from what's really happening (theft & deceit as you said). The perpetrators are merely sticking to their own kind, congratulating themselves on their consistency and replicating their forms of captivity.