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A Life Coaches Lesson: What Makes a Game Effective?

In order to become a skilled game thinker, the key to sustained success and happiness,  it is important to understand what makes a game effective or ineffective, entertaining, motivating and even inspiring.

Let’s integrate some of the game thinking ideas I have already presented into a more formal structure. As I mentioned earlier, in order to play effectively in a game, the players need to have strategies and plans for action.  Just as the rules need to have consistency, each player of the game is likely to adopt a strategy that he or she thinks is most effective. This player is unlikely to change that strategy.  The ability of a player to create an effective consistent strategy will be defined, in part, by their understanding of the rules and of the perceived strategies of a rival or opponent.

The most effective games have rules that exist for a reasonable period of time. In sports, this would be the nine innings in baseball, the four quarters of football etc. These time frames and other specific factors in a game are important, for if the rules of a game are always changing, then it becomes difficult for the players to develop effective strategies that will allow them to excel.

As you can see, creating a game either for recreation or as a system for living can initially be difficult since the understanding of the rules within a group in relation to a particular action may change organically and intuitively without any active discussion or agreement about these changes within the group.

Let me simplify what I just said. Some people cheat during a game or change the rules and neglect to tell you that they have changed the rules. Anyone who is married will understand this. In the “game of Marriage”, partners will often accidentally forget things or intentionally act in ways that break the rules of marriage. This can be expressed in small ways: being a slob, forgetting to take out the garbage, or saying “I have a headache,” when sex is desired by one partner even though the other partner doesn’t actually have a headache. Some people cheat so blatantly that they threaten the very existence of the game itself.  These individuals may be ejected from the game. In the game we call marriage, this is called divorce.

Remember, in order to play a game, there must be players; a time frame for the length of the game; defined and enforced rules; accountability among the players when the rules are broken; and there must be a general understanding among the players that consistently breaking the rules may lead to the weakening or destruction of the game.



Lewis Harrison is the director of the professional Coaching Training Program at the International Association of Healing Professionals. – HealingAssociation.com

He is  founder of the RealUGuru Project Think Tank is a is a life coach, peak performance expert, writer, mentor, content-rich, motivational speaker, and an entrepreneur specializing in problem solving and strategizing  based on game thinking, applied game theory and Game Thinking.

He is the author of over twenty-two books published in five languages.

Don’t forget to tune to the RealUGuru Radio show every Thursday 4-6 PM EST at WIOX 91.3 FM or on your smart device at WIOXRadio.org.

WIOX is a diverse station that broadcasts original programming including presentation from NPR, the BBC, Democracy Now etc.

If you are interested in business success in the 21st Century in the arts or in any other endeavor you need to study with Lewis Harrison. Begin by reading Lewis’ books.

If you are an entrepreneur you will want to begin with his books on game theory and business success.  Here are two basic ones to start with:

To learn more about game theory and game-based thinking you may want to begin with Lewis’ e-book.

Winning the Game of Life



The offerings on RealUGuru.com focus on the application of applied game thinking, gamification, decision science, positive psychology, happiness, and visionary thinking to solve basic, complex and extreme problems. He is the creator of a free course on business success and human potential.

Lewis Harrison makes wellness and success career coaching accessible for everyone. He provides motivation, inspiration, information and support across many domains. He focuses on his client’s most important goals in a measurable, scalable, and measurable manner and offer coaching services for all levels of experience for consumers and business people. Lewis offers hard and soft tips, techniques, tools and strategies to help his clients maximize their potential.

Here is a short interview with Lewis;


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