High stakes and low stakes

High stakes games mean that if you fail you die or maybe someone at home goes hungry. Most of us reading this blog have never played a game with that high of stakes.

Yet, the way most of us play, our day-to-day lives feel like a high stakes game. We often confuse the two. We don’t do a good enough job distinguishing one from the other.

What’s the worst that can happen if you bomb this presentation?

What’s the worst that can happen if you get fired?

What’s the worst that can happen if your marketing campaign fails?

Versus someone making two dollars a day…

What’s the worst that can happen if the well is dry?

What’s the worst that can happen if this drought won’t end and we can’t feed our family?

What’s the worst that can happen if we can’t afford these antibiotics?

Totally different circumstances and totally different external conditions.

What’s the worst that can happen? is something we can ask ourselves each time we are trying to determine the stakes of the game we are playing.

Most of the time, with the safety and security and comfort of the modern world, we are wagering status, vulnerability, humiliation, criticism, time, emotional labor…these are uncomfortable things to go through but far from painful.

Wasting time on one project usually means we can start another one. Not everyone in the world today has the same luxury.