The Bregman Leadership Podcast
Episode 225

Simon Sinek

The Infinite Game

IMPORTANT NOTE: this episode was recorded in February 2020.

How can we change the way we think about our workplace or business? This week we have Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why and most recently The Infinite Game. He proposes focussing on what will benefit your business (and by extension, your industry) in the long-term, versus focusing on short-term gains. Discover what the infinite mindset and the finite mindset are, his journey from falling out of love with his work to finding joy in his movement, and making decisions for a movement versus a company.

About

Get the book, The Infinite Game from Amazon here:

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Video

https://youtu.be/5epewmNTO3Q

Transcript

This transcript is unedited.

Peter:

With us today is Simon Sinek. We’re really lucky. We’re both in New York, we’re both on the upper West side. So we decided to do this. One is one of our live podcasts. Simon, I love, I love your bio, right? The, the first line of Simon’s bio is an unshakeable optimist who believes in a bright future and our ability to build it together. And I think everything that you do follows that why, in a sense like follows that purpose that you have and assignments publicized and, and popularize this idea of knowing your why, and finding your why in a 2009 Ted talk that got millions and millions of views, how many views, 40 million views subtitled in 47 languages. He’s written most recently the book, the infinite game, which I really loved. And we’re going to talk about some today, and I’m very happy to have you on the podcast. Welcome to the Bregman leadership podcast.

Simon:

Thanks for having me.

Peter:

So you know, let’s actually start, let’s not start at the infinite game. Let’s start at what brought you, you know, this, this the why, and like, what is your, why became this seminal turning point in, in both your career? And also like in the way that a lot of people think about the work that they do, what brought you to that idea.

Simon:

Pain. it wasn’t supposed to be what it became. It was it came at a time in my life where I had lost my passion for my own work. What was your work at the time? I had a strategic marketing consultancy and, you know, we did good work and I was living the American dream. I own my own little business. Right. We had great clients. And we, you had partners in and but I fell out of love and I didn’t want to wake up and do it again. Right. You know, people get stupid advice, do what you love. I’m doing the same thing. I don’t live it anymore. Now, what am I supposed to do? Find your bliss. Thank you.

Peter:

You know your bliss changes cause you change.

Simon:

Well, I mean –

Peter:

Was it your bliss at the beginning?

Simon:

Who knows? You know, but the point is it’s not actionable advice. Right. and you know, only do work. You’re passionate for it. It’s not, it’s not, it’s true. It’s just not helpful. And so it was a kind of dark period and I, because I was embarrassed because things were superficially good. Did you hate it where you just out of love with it, but you kind of enjoyed it. What was your experience of it? How bad was it? It was dark. I mean, he was tall. He was, he really didn’t really didn’t want to do it. And I hadn’t, I didn’t know. I didn’t, I feel trapped. I felt like I was trapped and I had no options. And and it wasn’t, and I was lying, hiding and faking every day. You know, all of my energy went into pretending That I was happier, more successful and more in control than I felt. Right. and a dear friend came to me and said, I’m worried about you. And it gave me a safe space to, to come clean.

Peter:

And what did your friend notice that he or she was worried about? Like, how did they notice, Hey, I’m worried about you, you know?

Simon:

What makes a good friend, a good friend they noticed, right. They, they noticed what everybody else is that I was able to fake, you know?

Peter:

So many people, by the way, in the work that we do, and I think are in that place where they are pretending to be more successful than they are, or pretending to like, you know, like putting on that good face.

Simon:

I mean, for many reasons, some it’s because they are going through what I went through and some they full tactical strategy falsely believe that by pretending they’re more successful, it makes them more in demand. Yeah. It’s like anybody that has, you know, you know, Peter Bergman consulting international, usually if it’s international needs, it’s probably out of your basement. You know…

Peter:

Global is different. [Laughter] [Crosstalk]

Simon:

Um but I, you know, and I was very grateful because it gave me the safe space and all of that energy that went into lying, hiding and faking, faking, went into finding a solution. And the solution I found was an idea that had been tinkering with called the Y, but it was only designed to help companies understand how to better market them spell. It sells out a bit of talk about themselves, right. And I started to learn about the biology of human decision making and recognize that this idea that I had about marketing and the biology of human decision making, the reason it worked in marketing is because it’s, cause it was real. It wasn’t my opinion. Right. It was actually grounded in something. And so I recognized that I knew what I did and I knew how I did it, but I didn’t know why. So I became obsessed. I was able to figure out my why ask somebody for help to do that. We don’t have objectivity about ourselves. Right. and it, it restored my passion to levels that really never, never experienced before. Shared it with my friends. My friends started making crazy life changes themselves, and they invited me to their homes to share it with their friends. And I would literally stand in someone’s living room in New York city and talk about this thing called the why and help people find their why for a hundred bucks on the side.

Peter:

And in some ways it’s not totally different than strategy work with an organization because an organization strategy work should come out of there.

Simon:

Should is the operative word.

Peter:

But that wasn’t the way you were doing strategy work or most people doing strategy work.

Simon:

I just didn’t understand what, what was so profound was understanding the biological component and recognizing that the reason good marketing or good communications worked was because it literally tapped into how people make decisions and how people, how people think and feel. And so it, it has a, it has a very personal, and if you think about it makes perfect sense. I mean, organization, you know, I love it when people IBM today announced I didn’t didn’t announce anything. Somebody made a decision and told the PR department to whip something up, somebody approved it today. IBM announced, you know, right. It’s human beings, right. It’s always human beings. Right. You know, we, we put these sort of facades on human beings and they become these corporations that announced –

Peter:

I was thinking about this recently that I just, just reading it yet. Another statement by senior leader saying our employees, our most important asset. And, and my question was, who’s saying this that’s not also an employee, right? Like our employees are like, who’s this, who’s putting this out?

Simon:

And who’s saying it, and are you actually, you know.

Peter:

Almost never.

Simon:

You know, that’s the thing that drives me nuts, which is I’ve never met a CEO who doesn’t believe their people are important. The question is where on the list, are they right? You know, number one, you know growth, number two, shareholder value, number three, our customer number four our employee. See, I told you why our people are really important.

Peter:

Even if they’re the top of the list, the real question of what our values are, is the choices that we make when our values are in contradiction, of course, right. Are in conflict. Right. Of course. And so like are, you know, are they making, are, are people are like, you know, who did that was that I cannot remember his name. You might know his name, the CEO of Alcoa. When he, I love the story of when he came in and it was turned around and he said, you may know the story better than I do, but he came around. And he said, you know, that the only thing I’m concerned about is employee safety. And like, you know, people that the financial analysts were in the room, couldn’t get out of the room fast enough to put a sell order on the stock, you know, three years later it was worth, you know, multiples of laurels.

Simon:

Yeah, of course. But that remember the whole financial analyst community, their entire bonus structure is based on, on the short term, you know, longterm investors don’t pay any attention to what Citi Corp analysts think they have their own analysts. Warren buffet has his own analyst. Right. the entire industry, you know, CNBC, all of it is, is for the short game. Right. And so we shouldn’t be taking advice from people who literally aren’t interested in the success of our own organization.

Peter:

Let me ask you about the moment when you make this decision. Cause this is, I think a moment that is very scary for a lot of people. And, and it’s full of sort of promise, but also doubt this moment when you decide, okay, I’m going to leave this thing that I’m faking. That doesn’t feel me that, but it’s successful. Right? I’m doing well by it. Like it could continue to be successful. I’m going to leave that. And I’m going to do this thing that I’m making a hundred bucks a session. Right. Which I’m assuming was not the, as much as you were making it, your strategy consulting firm. Right.

Simon:

So, so I was doing it on the side, right?

Peter:

So you’re doing this thing on the side and you make this decision and it might have been an easy decision because you got 40 million views on this.

Simon:

This was years before that. Everybody thinks, you know, I showed up with the Ted talk in a book, right. I was giving that talk for three years.

Peter:

So, so tell me, what was going on for you emotionally to have, like, because that’s a really hard choice to make, to go. I’m going to this there in those profitable, I’ve done fit in order for this, which I’m passionate about. And I’m connected to, and make me feel alive, but I’m making a hundred bucks.

Simon:

It’s more, it was even worse than that, which is closed. The company got out of my lease. You know, I had a business lease at an office, got out of my lease and started from scratch. And a lot of my friends were very worried about me. They thought I went out of business, the same friends who were like, I’m worried about you beforehand. They’re like, not really, no, no, actually I think different friends it was actually the easiest decision I’ve ever made because when you have focus and passion for something and you, you know, it was, it was, it seems like a gut wrenching decision. If you can’t see what I can see. Right. But that’s what vision is. Right. You know, when you can see something with so, so much clarity and the path it’s hard work, but you can see a path. It may not be THE path. But you can see a path. It was actually a really surprisingly simple decision a path to, because I think this is an important piece. Like you see a path too well. So, so the analogy, here’s the analogy, you know, you’re married, right. You know, you’re spending time with a human being. And at some point in that relationship, it becomes absolutely obvious to both of you, that this is going to be forever. Right. And you make a decision to legally unite your relationship, right. Where it comes with a whole host of legal requirements. Right. You know when you get married, but when people say, Oh, you really want to do this. I mean, and you go, of course, it’s simplest decision we ever made. It’s just a, it’s a formality. Like we love each other. Of course, of course we want to do this. It’s the same thing. You know, it’s, it’s in the vision you have is a life together in a family and they cations together and partnership. And it’s not crystal clear, but you can, you can see it Hazely in the future. Right. It’s the same thing. Like I think anyone that has, has any kind of vision of the future for their life, whether it’s professional or personal, the clearer that is, and it’s not a, it’s not a sit down decision. You’re not, you don’t sit and go, well, this person makes a good wife because X, Y, and Z.

Peter:

And you’re talking to somebody who I knew Eleanor, my wife, 11 years before we got married, we did five years of counseling to like really, you know, like, so I’m not really like, like let’s just jump and do this thing after knowing each other for a couple of years, but, but you did it, but we did it. Right. Exactly. Exactly. And, and, and like, we couldn’t have imagined actually the road that we’re on for the past 20 years.

Simon:

You think I imagined anything that I’m doing right now?

Peter:

No, but you know, this is where I want to spend-

Simon:

What I knew was I believed in this thing enough, right. That I wanted other people to experience what I experienced. Right. You know, we treat loving our work, like a luxury. Right. you know, you go out with a bunch of your friends and somebody at the table says, I love my job. And everybody else goes, Oh my God, you’re so lucky. Like they won something. Right. And because I was able to turn around, not loving my work, into loving my work. Right. And it wasn’t the work. It’s not like I got a new job at a different company selling a different thing. And I’m like, Oh my God, I love this. Right. It was the same thing. I love these people. Exactly. Because it was the same thing I made the, I came to the conclusion that this thing called loving work was a right and not a privilege. Right. And it’s not just for the lucky few who get to say, I love my work. Everyone gets to say it. And because I had figured out how I could do it for myself, I wanted other people to have that same experience. Right. Because it was so much better to wake up in the morning, inspired to go to work right. Then dreading going to work. Right. And so though, I didn’t know how I was going to get there. I knew that I wanted more people to, to have this experience. Right. And so for me, the fun part, this is the entrepreneurial journey. Right. Which is, Oh, I’ll figure it out, you know? Right. Like, and I started off doing consulting. I don’t really do any consulting anymore. That wasn’t the path and I’ve refined and figured out a model. And I’ve made certain decisions that are right for me, but, you know right. For the movement. Right. so I didn’t know the details. I just knew a sense of destination. Right. You know and you think of it as a movement, it feels, it’s a movement. It’s like, Oh, it’s a movement. We don’t talk about when we make decisions in the company, we don’t say, is this right for the company? We say, this is right for the movement. Right. It’s how we make decisions. Right. we think of ourselves as messengers, you know, carrying a powerful message. We try and provide tools to help advance that message and help people grasp that message. But Oh, make no mistake of it it is a movement. And we want to move people from here to there, right?

Peter:

So you want to move them from-?

Simon:

We want to create a world in which the vast majority of people wake up every single morning, inspired, feel safe at work and return home fulfilled. At the end of the day, that could meet someone who works in a corporation. It could be an entrepreneur. It could be someone who’s a home builder, right? Why shouldn’t every person wake up in the morning, aspire to raise their family, feel safe in doing so from the other family members and go to bed at night fulfilled. I mean, that is, that is a right. And not a privilege.

Peter:

Are there moments, even in this journey that is exciting and inspiring to you where you feel like, you know what, today I’m not totally inspired.

Simon:

So this is what people confuse about. Joy and happiness. Happiness is fleeting, winning a client, happy, right. Hitting a financial goal, happy, you know, it goes away, right? Joy is, is, is like, love. Joy is a, is an ongoing thing. Right. And, and, you know, you love your kids every day. You don’t like your kids every day. Right. You can love your work everyday, but you don’t have to like it every day. Right. There are plenty of days. I do not like, right. But I still love it.

Peter:

And you have the sense I’m in, I’m in the right place doing the right thing with the right people.

Simon:

And I make mistakes. Right. And I correct. And sometimes it hurts. Right. And sometimes it’s certain and it’s uncertain. I mean, It’s the difference is I, I make these things with the, with, and this is what the Y does for anybody, which is, it helps you make these decisions while looking up rather than looking down. Right. You know, I see the forest for the trees. Right. Always right. And I’m not navigating, but based on the rocks and the stumps in front of me.

Peter:

Did you have any moments as you were building this where you felt like where you, where you were worried, this might not work. I mean, right now you’re very successful. You’ve written a bunch of books. They’re bestsellers. You know, you, you are leading a movement and there’s a lot of people joining you and working on this. And it’s inspiring. Were there moments on this where you had that doubt?

Simon:

Or of course, of course.

Peter:

And how do you keep yourself going in this way?

Simon:

I have people who believe in me and who, people who believe in the, in, in that this is the right work to do. Right. And you know, courage is not internal fortitude, right? Courage is, is fear and acting anyway, right? It’s not the absence of fear and courage. Doesn’t come from digging down. Deep courage comes from somebody who says to you, I got your back, right. I believe in you. Right. You gotta do this. It’s the right thing to do. And then we act right. But without another human being, No single human being can do this thing called life. When you’re alone, it’s mad.

Peter:

It’s really powerful. And, and I think people forget that a lot. [Crosstalk]

Simon:

There’s not a single, successful, inspired and happy person on the planet who did it alone.

Peter:

Zero. So I know leaders who have the same kind of inspired mission that you do, but they also have egos that make it very difficult to bring in other people and empower them and say, go run with this. Like, what I care about more is the mission than my own success. I’m not threatened at all by you. And that, like, what do you say to somebody? Like, do, do you bother with somebody like that? And if you do, what do you say to them to help them sort of soften the part of them that needs to be the center of it and brings in the, the inspiration. And as, as the center of it.

Simon:

I simply asked them if they can pass the school bus test.

Peter:

What’s the school bus test?

Simon:

If you get hit by a school bus, what happens to the organization or the people continue without you or where they all be like, ah, that sucks. They’ll go find jobs somewhere else.

Peter:

So let me ask you a question about that.

Simon:

Most people fail the full test. So most and most, most people with those kinds of command and control instincts. Right? If you present it like that, they know that.

Peter:

Here’s a question that I, that I’ve really been struggling with myself. So Alan Malali right. CEO of Boeing CEO for – Good guy. I know him. He’s, he’s like, he’s good. Like both he’s one of the good ones. Right. Um so he turns around Boeing, right? He turns around forward for it. And he turns around forward with all of the original players who were failing all the beforehand, Holbrook, all the brokenness, all the brokenness, he turned it around. Right. so on the one hand, you look at that and you say amazing leadership. Like here’s someone who stepped in as a leader, but failed the school bus test. Right. Because when he left for fell off and when he left Boeing, Boeing fell off. So his leadership was essential to keeping the bus going.

Simon:

I blame the board.

Peter:

So say more about that.

Simon:

I think boards get off easy. They hire and fire CEOs, but they also create incentive structures for their CEOs. Right. And you and I both know that what’s going on with Boeing right now that wasn’t that CEO acting alone. Right. Absolutely. That board set a set of targets for him.

Peter:

Right. Same thing with Volkswagen –

Simon:

Or is that a set of targets for him based on the price of the equity. And they drove him very, very hard. And he succumbed to the pressures of the short term animals community, right? Every CEO, every C level executive of every public company on the planet behind closed doors knows that wall street is a joke. Right? Like they all talk about it, right. Not out loud. Right. But behind the, behind the closed doors, Oh my God. It’s just, everybody knows it. They know that they’re forced to make decisions that are bad for their company. Right. I mean, if a company announces mass layoffs, the stock price goes up. Right. And if they announced that they’re reinvesting in R and D the stock price goes down, right. Like that’s screwed up, very screwed up, you know, And they will know it. Right. All roll their eyes. They all know the analyst community. Yeah. Cares nothing about their businesses and only about themselves. Right. And yet they play the game. Right. And so I, I blame the board for not supporting or putting in a CEO with vision and the willingness to stand up to the analyst community. And there’s a lot of blame to go around. The problem is no one will go to jail. There was real negligence here. People have died. People died, two plane loads worth of human beings died because the company

Peter:

Was more worried about fast growth and short term profits –

Simon:

Was more worried about fast growth and cut corners and produce an aircraft that shouldn’t be in the sky. Right. And produced instead of making it an aircraft, that should be this guy that produced it, a safety mechanism to help it stay in the sky with computers. And then wouldn’t teach everybody how to use that safety mechanism unless you paid to learn it. So, which of course a smaller, smaller, airlines and, and developing nations, aren’t going to do right. I mean, like on what planet is this highly ethical behavior, right. In Wolf street land. So yeah, I think the board, the board bears some responsibility. I think people need to go to jail. Right. And including that CEO, he got a $65 million, sorry, this didn’t work out, you know, right.

Peter:

The, this theme that is also a part of human nature, right. Like it’s a part of human nature to be inspired and to, and it’s a part of human nature to like greed and like this dark side, right. It’s like, it’s all part of humans in the package. So, so what have you in your path of inspiring people and getting them to, to prioritize, to bias towards the inspiring, passionate part of their nature versus the sort of greed short Terminus of it, anything that you’ve learned that helps people, you know, like I, I assume that there’s people watching here who, and listening who feel the tug of both of those things and want to move in this direction of, of kind of inspiring and longterm and, and yet act in ways that don’t always reflect that. What can you say to them? Or how can you help people, you know, prioritize this one over the other.

Simon:

So a, you have to have a sense of where you come from. You need to know why you do what you do. You know, you need to know where you come from. You need to know the foundation, the, the inspirational underpinnings, right? You need to have a sense of just cause a sense of vision of where you’re going to write. You need to know that your work is all the work that we do is, should be to advance something bigger than ourselves. And you need to ensure that the relationships you build around you are trusted and trusting, right. That we are trusted and we are trusting, right. And this sort of infinite mindset is an insurance policy against the kind of ethical fading you’re talking about, right. A finite mindset, which is waking up every day to win be number one, be the best and drive short term results increases the likelihood that that ethics fail. So we’re all susceptible and even good companies and good people have individual ethical lapses, right. But this doesn’t necessarily translate into ethical fading, which is systemic where an entire company acts on ethically, you know, Wells Fargo, right. You know, opening 3.5 million fake bank accounts to meet them. Right.

Peter:

What’s, what’s sad. And shameful is, there’s plenty of examples. Yeah. Of course. There’s plenty of examples.

Simon:

They don’t all end up in scandal, but it’s not systemic. The scandal is it’s, it’s uncomfortably common. Right. and, and we say the same things to rationalize our unethical. Everybody’s doing it, everybody’s doing it. I got to put food on the table. Right. And I got mouths to feed. That’s what my boss wants. Or my personal favorite one is it’s, it’s, it’s the industry standard. Right. So what? You know, right. It’s the systems. I mean, it’s the industry standard.

Peter:

So tell us what the infinite game is.

Simon:

So the infinite game is a philosophy that was first put forward by a wonderful human being named James Carse in the 1980s that that proposes that there are these two kinds of games, finite games, and infinite games, a finite game is defined as known players, fixed rules and an agreed upon objective monopoly, baseball, football, monopoly, right. There’s a beginning, middle and end. And if there’s a winner, there has to be a loser. Right. Right. And then you, You have infinite games,

Peter:

Although soccer, these days in my kids’ things, everybody’s a winner. Yeah.

Simon:

That’s not, yeah. That’s not true. That’s just not true. And then you have infinite games which are defined as known and unknown players, which means anybody can join at any time. Right. you you have changeable rules, which means you can play however you want. And the objective is to perpetuate the game and to stay in the game as long as possible, you play for the good of the game. Right? So we are players in infinite games every day of our lives games that have no finish lines, right? Like there’s no such thing as winning career. Like no one’s declared the winner of careers. Right. You know, there’s no such thing as being number one in your marriage. Right. You know, there’s no such thing as winning global politics. And there’s definitely no such thing as winning business. Right. But if you listen to too many leaders, they talk about being number one, being the best and beating their competition based on what, right. Based on what agreed upon metrics, objectives, or timeframes, right. It’s all made up. And so the problem is, is when we play with a finite mindset, played a win in a game that has no finish line, right? There’s a few very predictable and consistent outcomes. The decline of trust, the decline of cooperation and the decline of innovation, all the things that we said lead to ethical fading, right? So these are, these are, this is not this is not an like this is what happens, right? And so the more finite thinking, the more likelihood there is for not only unethical behavior, but the more likelihood that we create a culture in which people feel like a number rather than a person feel disposable rather than valuable don’t feel they can trust their colleagues. Don’t feel like they can trust leadership and don’t feel like they have agency over their own work on a daily basis. Uh unfortunately this is what too many people feel every day. It’s called stress, right? It’s called stress. That’s what it is. Right. and this is why we have work-life imbalance. No amount of yoga is going to fix that. Right. The imbalance we feel is that I feel safe at home, but I don’t feel safe at work. And the way to fix that is by creating safe and, and purposeful cultures at work.

Peter:

It feels as I’m listening to you, like one of the key moves that we have to make in order to play the infinite game versus the finite game is we have to see our, it’s not about us. It’s about the game, the infinite game, or it’s about the purpose –

Simon:

It’s not about us as individuals. It’s about us as a community,

Peter:

The, the us like we are smaller than the ultimate us that we’re talking.

Simon:

Correct. Right.

Peter:

And and that’s like, the finite game is I’m going to win. Yeah. Right. That the infinite game is that we’re talking ancestors and generations.

Simon:

And you can tell the infinite players, because the infinite players in business want to make business better. You play for the good of the game, right? So you have companies like WD 40 or container store or Patagonia who are innovating new ways to make their businesses healthier and, and more successful. And they’re sharing those ideas. Right. They, you know, all of those CEOs are out giving speeches about how they do it. Right. Zappos, you know, they, they, they, they share everything about how we treat our people and the systems we have. So that it’s good for all business. It makes business healthier. Right. Um finite minded organizations, you know, keep everything closed thinking that, you know, it’s a competitive advantage. Right. We treat our people.

Peter:

What’s interesting because Apple is a company that you talk about a lot in the book. And I can’t think of a more secretive company about their innovation –

Simon:

They’re secretive about their process. They’re secretive about, you know, the, the, you know, and they, they’re famous for keeping sort of, you know, even people inside the company don’t have access to certain rooms because, you know. But, but they’re not secretive about, you know, their special sauce and their vision. They’re very open about it. They’re, they, they’re very public about saying, you know, when we hire smart people and they tell us how great things they did in the past, we’re not interested. We’re interested about what you’re going to do, not what you’ve done. They’re very open about, about the stuff that’s good for the game of business. Right. that’s important. Right.

Peter:

Although they’re not really, like, they’re not trying to help Microsoft. They’re not really trying. I mean, they’re not,

Simon:

I don’t think they’re outside. UI mean, in the old days, right. You know, Microsoft like IBM before them was a great foil. Right. You know, it was, it was, you know, they, it was sort of Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, dark side and the, and the, and the, and the forest. Right. Uyou know, they,uthey, they played against each other. I think, I think Microsoft was trying to beat Apple. Apple was trying to outdo itself. Right. And Microsoft was a great foil. Right. Uit’s great for rallying the people to have to have a common enemy. Right. But, but, and that’s fine to have a worthy rival is important. Someone that pushes you to be a better version of yourself, but I don’t think they actually cared whether Microsoft survived or died.

Peter:

Little bit of a side note is Adam Grant your worthy rival?

Simon:

Oh, I don’t know.

Peter:

I mean, cause he’s talked about, you know, the friendship that’s developed –

Simon:

Adam and I have a deep loving respect for each other that used to be a competitive spirit. Right. And we had a cathartic experience together where we came clean about it. Right. And and the nice thing is that energy has, has been turned into love.

Peter:

Yeah. And I have to say for myself also, like, I, I had this, I felt that with you and I felt that like, I’ve had these sort of con you know, people that I, you know, for myself, I’m like, well, they’re more successful than I am. And, and, and yeah. And it’s totally, I have to say, it’s, it’s, it’s like over the past during this podcast in part, but over the past three years or so has totally changed. And these people who I used to think of as competitors, I’m now literally doing work with, I mean, we’re just collaborating, we’re doing really interesting stuff and it’s so freeing and so much more interesting than –

Simon:

Yeah. And it’s a lot less stressful. You know, if I wake up any day and pick a particular random metric, I can make myself feel bad about anything. Right. Know if I judge my entire career by Ted views. Right. I mean, my, you know, there are other people who are moving ahead beyond me. I used to be number two now I’m number four, you know, like, who cares? I mean, like, I’m like, if that’s all I obsessed about right. Then I would think my career is failing. Right. You know, it depends where you’re looking. Right, right, right. But at the other, at the other side, I can, I can’t just choose the metrics that are comparatively a bigger than other people, because then I’ll think I have, I have nothing to learn. Right. And that’s, that’s equally –

Peter:

Well, and it’s false.

Simon:

Right. Right. And you know, what did Teddy Roosevelt say? You know, comparison is the death of joy. Right. You know?

Peter:

Um but isn’t it a little hard not to, of course we’re human, right? Yeah, of course. So what do you do in those moments when you start comparing?

Simon:

You know, remind myself, right. I remind myself, I’m looking at a metric, right. That I picked in this moment usually by accident. Right. Cause I happened to be on that website. Right. You know? Right. and at the end of the day to remind ourselves that, you know, I mean, I can take you back to the early days, like when, when I was on a stage with some remarkable speakers, right. You know, I mean some of the best in the world and I was sharing a stage with them and I remember feeling incredibly insecure and thinking that I had to give a better speech than them and that I had to get more, a longer ovation than them. Right. And like, and this is the pressure I put on myself now it’s the complete opposite. Now I showed in complete all that. I can’t believe I get to share my ideas with these incredible people that I love and admire and how humbled I am. Right. You know, and may we all get lots of ovation because it means that we’re offering value to the world. Right. You know, and it’s, it, it, it just as if this is what, what is why I was so profoundly moved by dr. Carson’s work, you have this infinite game, right. To understand the concept of the infinite game very quickly, you can change your mindset, right. To just find more peace in the, in the success and the journey that you’re on yourself rather than worrying about what everybody else is doing. Right. because there is no winning this game because there is no finish line. There is no.

Peter:

And also if you really care about what you’re trying to produce, like, I really care about a lot of the same stuff you care about course.

Simon:

And that’s why we get along.

Peter:

And, and it’s like, like how awesome that you’re out there doing it. Right.

Simon:

And how nice of you to invite me on your podcast.

Peter:

Right? Like, like why wouldn’t we help each other? Yeah. And we’re going to have an impact, a grander impact, and then than we would have otherwise, and you have to trust that there’s a trust, there’s a leap of faith, a little bit that you trust that say like, this is going to, I have a practice recently where as soon as I see myself competitive with someone, I realize it’s because there’s something about them that I’m like a little jealous of course, which means that there’s something about them that I really like. Right. And then I try to identify what idea it is. And then I try popularize that idea Through that. Like, let me tell you something, this person has just said that really impacted –

Simon:

This is the idea of where the rivalry that I talked about yeah. Our worthy, rivals their strengths reveal to us, our weaknesses. Right. Right. And we can either combine our powers and sh and so that both those weaknesses are mitigated right. Or we can work to improve. Right. And we take all that uncomfortable energy instead of channeling into competitive energy, we channel it into self-improvement energy. Right? Yeah.

Peter:

What’s next for you?

Simon:

Um well, I have a live tour that we’ve, we’re experimenting with, you know, we’re doing, we’re doing our own events because we came to the realization that we’re out there spreading this message of companionship and, and, and cooperation and, and human sort of that human dynamic and and the kind of conferences that I spoke at, you know, just a lot of people couldn’t go, you couldn’t go, they’d be the private events or they’re these ridiculous, big ticket business events that were, you know, just a prohibitive. And so we decided to do our own tour where we could set the agenda. I could decide what I wanted to talk about. I didn’t have anybody to tell me what they wanted me to talk about or what their theme was. And we could make it at a price point that was accessible to as many people as possible. So we’re doing that, which I’m really excited about.

Peter:

Well, and you must have had to develop an entire arm of the organization cause that’s a very different, it’s a, that’s a very difficult business model to like, I mean, I’m just thinking the model of saying, I’m going to go out to a place and, and really bring in a whole bunch of people to have this conversation. I think that’s hard.

Simon:

Yeah. Not so much. It hasn’t been, so I just work with people who know how to do it. We’re not doing it ourselves. My partner, my partner, like we have no clue how to do live events that scale. Like we have no clue, but turns out the repeat that we built entire businesses around, around, around this stuff. So I could try and reinvent the wheel and make a square thing that doesn’t go very well. Right. Or I can find somebody who knows how to do this and be like, but you know, as long as we share values, right. As long as we have common, cause then I want to work with them. Like, I don’t care if they’re the best based on their own metrics. Right. I want to know what they care about. They care about. And do we both have equal passion to do this together? Right. They’re inspired by my work and I’m inspired by theirs. Right. And it turns out when you find those people and actually it hums. Right. So we have, we have some great partners that we’re working with. They’re helping us do this. Yeah.

Peter:

Which makes the whole thing more fun too. Right. Because you’re not alone.

Simon:

We don’t have to learn somebody else’s we don’t have to relearn a lesson that’s already been learned.

Peter:

Right. We have been talking with Simon Sinek. Simon’s latest book is the infinite game. We didn’t talk a ton about it. We talked about it in general, but there is so much more that we didn’t talk about that.

Simon:

An infinite amount.

Peter:

That, but it’s also very instructional right there. Kind of gives us a sense of like, how do we shift into play this? You know, what are the elements? How do we create an organization that plays us the game?

Simon:

I mean, I was inspired by dr. Carson’s perspective, but, but one of the, one of the opportunities was, well, okay, got it. Now what right. And so that’s what I wrote. I said, okay, if this is a truth, is this is a fundamental truth that these two perspectives, these two games exist. Right. Then if we want to convert our businesses, the way we build our lives, our careers away from a finite minded perspective to an infinite one how do we do that? And that’s what I set out to, to try and write, to try and share.

Peter:

I think he did a great job. It’s a great book. I really enjoyed reading it. I suggest that if you’re listening to this podcast and you’ve found this remotely interesting that you, that you got by the way, book and read it and be part of this conversation and join Simon in like in one of these events and engage in these ideas that I really believe help us, not only to be more effective, but better people, which is ultimately what this is about, ultimately what this is about.

Simon:

Right. Peter, thanks so much. It’s such a pleasure.

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