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Biases, Game-based Thinking, and Decisions

Q. How much do our emotions and beliefs influence the choices we make?

A. More than you can imagine? Science is a good start for ordering the world but it is still limited.  For the pioneers of game theory, it made perfect sense to design classical, mathematical game theory as a logic-based approach to strategizing. The assumption in doing so, of course, was in believing that when players are likely to behave rationally that is where one begins to create strategies. However, this approach is limited for dealing with real world problems, challenges, and obstacles. For one thing, most life experience, and what we believe to be true, is anything but science. It may involve family history, emotions, intuition, legends, myths, cultural influences, social pressure, body chemistry, genetics, subconscious and unconscious motivations, and all manner of unseen motivating factors all merging to create belief systems and behaviors that run from the barely sane to the saint-like.

I call these beliefs “made up stuff,” because that really is what they are. I believe, and of course, I may be wrong, that there is a “belief gene” – a genetic hard-wiring in all human beings that force us to have faith in something, anything. If I am correct in this belief, then there is no arguing this fact. The question isn’t whether or not you are going to believe in something. It really is, what are you going to choose to believe in? Of course, if you believe in something that few others believe in, you will be viewed as strange or crazy by the majority of people in the society you live in. In a democratic flexible society, you will simply be marginalized with others who are as different as you are. If you live in a more dogmatic and rigid society, you might be put in jail, institutionalized you or simply killed. If you are wealthy, successful or convincing in some way, you will be seen as eccentric, and, over time, possibly even a visionary.

The truth is most people live lives based on stuff that was made up by someone else. We could, of course, just make up any nonsense we want and call it “reality”; however, this can get lonely and unpleasant. At best you might end up existing in a tightly knit community of visionaries protecting and defending each other from the dysfunctional majority.   More often we are led to take unecessary risks.

 Most of us want what we believe to be love, wealth, happiness, freedom, and spiritual contentment. The answer of how to get it is right in front of us in some effective, functional, fun game. The problem is that we are deluded, lost and confused and we believe in stuff that may or may not make any sense. We even create or join communities with others who believe the same stuff. Then we communally deny the obvious evidence that what we have come to believe is true is actually absurd.

In order to understand why we do this, it is useful to understand the concept of, and the connection of, stories, legends, myths to our own misguided biases.




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If you have an interest in having a basic understanding of Applied Game Theory (and you need to) here is an interview I did with James Selman, a pioneer and innovator in Leadership research.


Just click below to watch the entire interview.


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Lewis Harrison is the director of the professional Coaching Training Program at the International Association of Healing Professionals


He is  founder of the RealUGuru Project Think Tank 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.


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Winning The Game Of Life: A Primer On Lewis Harrison’s Applied Game Theory


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.

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