The Million-Sum Game and Discovering the Infinite Wealth of Knowledge

The "million-sum" mindset conditions us to create endless opportunities for growth and change, and dictates the pace of an incredible, lifelong momentum.
February 3, 2011

The Million-Sum Game and Discovering the Infinite Wealth of Knowledge

You’ve been conditioned to operate on a zero-sum game theory. So have I.

“Zero-sum” is the idea that that there are only so many slices of the proverbial pie (or cake, whichever you prefer) to go around.

Zero-sum conditioning tells us: what you get, I don’t get. What you acquire is my loss. What I take, there is less of for you. There is a finite, limited amount of any particular resource that can be consumed before there’s nothing left.

The million-sum game, however, turns zero-sum on its head.

“Million-sum” conditions us to create endless opportunities for growth and change, and dictates the pace of an incredible, lifelong momentum. Million-sum conditioning takes practice to achieve, but the pay-off is incredible: discovering the infinite wealth of knowledge.

Conditioned to Live Under “Zero-Sum”

We’ve been conditioned to operate under the guise of a zero-sum game: it’s second-nature.

The zero-sum theory prevails in business and economic theory because it largely holds true. There are only so many customers, and only so many of their dollars to be spent on either my product or my competitor’s. Think, for example, of the eminent  iPhone war between AT&T and Verizon: only so many customers, only so many dollars, only so much of each to go around between the rival service providers.

I’m not sure where this conditioning originates. Maybe it’s a social thing. Maybe it’s simply human nature, another one of those primitive remainders of our species’ survival instincts that kept us alive to begin with. Maybe, it’s just easy.

The real problem is that zero-sum conditioning has infiltrated other aspects of our lives — those outside business and economic theory — and forcing primal natured, “us-or-them” mentality in life, love and the pursuit of happiness.

The “not-enough-to-go-around” outlook that results from zero-sum creates a hoarder’s mentality. We are overcome with competitive fear, jealousy of others, rampant insecurity, uncontrollable attachment to things we “own” and people we “have”, and spurs a downward spiral of acute mental-emotional suffering.

Million-Sum and the Infinite Wealth of Knowledge

The million-sum game is a mindset that we develop by choice. It’s tougher to attain, but it’s not impossible. It takes practice, determination, and patience. For the dedication required, the pay-off is incredible. We discover the infinite wealth of knowledge:

When you stop seeing others as competitors but contemporaries from whom you can learn, you afford yourself a million new opportunities to learn and to grow, and to grow exponentially.

A renegade is afforded the ability to invert zero-sum conditioning into million-sum conditioning because a renegade does not live, breath and die by the confines of limits and values, dollars and cents.

The currency of a renegade is selfless giving, generosity, compassion, positivity and forgiveness. And love is an inflation-proof currency. There is no limit to what love a renegade may share with the world, just as there are no constraints upon the courageous and prolific dreams you conjure. The only limit is what we choose to place upon ourselves.

  • How many are the smiles you can afford?
  • What kind acts; what gestures grand or small; what supportive words could you offer to a friend or loved one or stranger in need?

How could a “zero-sum” mindset ever deceive a renegade into believing there’s “not enough” of these offerings to be shared with the world? It can’t. And so we reject it outright.

** Now on sale: the inaugural, limited edition “Ready for You” Renegade Tee! Look like a renegade, live like a renegade :)

Flickr photo credit: Joe Abbruscato

About the Author

Dave Ursillo is a professional life and career coach, multi-published author, writing teacher, and future mental health counselor. He has coached over 300 professional helpers since 2012, spoken and taught workshops on 4 continents, and turned more than two dozen writers into first-time authors. His words and work have been featured on Creative Live, Psychology Today, Forbes, INC, The Hindustan Times, and beyond.


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