Don’t Rely on Information Dominance

Suppose I wanted to play a cooperative game with you.  If I wanted us to succeed, I would teach you all that I know about the rules of the game.  I would not withhold information about the rules from you, for our success would depend on both of us understanding how the game works.

Now suppose I wanted to play a competitive game against you.  If I wanted to beat you, would I teach you all of the rules of the game? Would I teach you the same as if we were playing a cooperative game?

I think so.  In fact, I think I should focus even more on teaching you in the competitive environment than in the cooperative environment.  I would probably beat you at chess if you didn’t know that knights move in an “L” shape or that pawns can take pieces diagonally in front of them.  But why would I be proud of that?

If I have more information about the rules of the game than you do, then why would I feel like I have accomplished anything special after beating you?  I can teach you all the rules of a game, but I can have the confidence that I will still be able to compete with you.  Shouldn’t I be proud if I were to teach you everything that I know about a game before we start playing, and then still beat you?

I should not have to rely on information dominance to win.

There are games where information is obtainable during playing of the game (e.g. Bridge: how many cards of a suit are left at a certain turn, Poker: what cards you hold in your hand), and it’s not this type of information I am referring to that should be divulged (although it would still be impressive to win while giving out all this information).  It’s the rules of the game, the mechanics of how the game works even before we start playing, that should be shared and discussed.  Shouldn’t we both have more fun competing if we know that we are starting with the same set of information about the game?

In the long run, it’s not the state of information dominance that truly differentiates you winning from you losing.  It’s the skills you use to collect, analyze, and act based on information that makes you a winner.  The internal thought processes and methods you use happen to be applied to a particular game at a particular time, but it’s those skills that would enhance your ability to beat someone else in a different game, even when they have information dominance over you.

And you should be proud of that.


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