Why you should focus on participation, not winning

Weekend Life 26/05/2018

Often we feel like life is like a game or a constant competition to strive for status, wealth or attention.

Niki Harre, associate professor of psychology at the University of Auckland, joined Carly Flynn on Weekend Life to talk about her book called The Infinite Game: How to Live Well Together.

The book, along with Ms Harre, challenges us to imagine a world where playing the game, or participating, matters more than winning.

The book’s concept was inspired by philosophe James Cast’s podcast, who discussed the idea of ‘The Infinite Game’.

He defined the purpose of the infinite game was “to keep what we value in play, and invite everyone in”.

Ms Harre says that although we want to strive in everyday activities, we should also strive to connect with other people.

As an academic, Ms Harre’s book compiles all the research that shows that material things and stresses in the finite game are not what are going to make us happy.

Whether a person wants a promotion or to buy a larger house, Ms Harre believes such habits of seeking to win will only continue in a spiral that doesn’t actually produce joy. 

Listen to the full interview with Niki Harré above.

Weekend Life with Carly Flynn,10am - 2pm on Saturday and streaming live on 'rova' channel 9 - available on Android and iPhone.