Game over - play again?

Books like Got Game? and Everything Bad is Good For You suggest that gamers are learning to see life as a game. This is a good thing. What wild gamers learn to accomplish inside a game -- gets redeployed in their real life. One of those "meta-skills" is the ability to start over, no problem! Successful serial entrepreneurs, free-lancers and frequent job changers --all exhibit this skill-set and worldview. Letting go and moving on comes easily to gamers.

Brent's response to the LCB Big Question for February is a wonderful example of thinking through the possibility of starting over.
"Do we still add value to the new learning equation?"
"Does your company really need you (me, us) any more?"
"..where's the added value from ISD?"
"What is it that we actually bring to the party?"
I spent most of yesterday with a home repair/remodeling entrepreneur I'm mentoring. He is also considering the possibility of "game over - play again?" The kind of learning occurs when we are questioning our basic assumptions. The learning is deep, emergent and free ranging. Marc Oehlert revealed how anthropologists learn this way with a culture whose rituals and humor appear opaquely incomprehensible.

This worldview and skill set is not an innovation of gamers. What's new is learning all this without being taught or formally trained this way. As Brent said playfully:

People learn just [fine] without us. And not only that, the web is making it possible for people to...GASP...learn from each other...WITHOUT us! Holy career crashers, Batman!

3000 years ago, this kind of "letting go" was called "emptiness". It serves as the basis for "winning without a battle" in Chapter 6 of Sun Tzu's The Art of War". It's a common facet to every enlightenment tradition that speaks of awakening from an illusion, entering a new life, transforming consciousness or becoming reborn.

Our contemporary culture speaks of this as starting from scratch, greenfields, tabla rasa or blank slates. This is the premise of sunset laws that expire on a predetermined date and zero base budgeting that eliminates programs on a schedule. Instead of assuming the law or budget is still needed and useful, it's assumed it's no longer useful. The burden of proof is put on the proponents of continuity. The value must be established on a new basis and with new reasons.

The only way to keep playing is to start again - game over!

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