Rock paper scissors is a zero sum game, life is not.

Zero sum games are interesting. For one player to succeed, another must fail. These games highlight our competitive nature and by design pit us against each other.

One of the most important defining characteristics of a zero sum game is that “the most important elements of a zero sum game is the closed, inelastic universe” says Economics Help. This is because in a closed inelastic universe, you possessing anything is defined to mean that no one else can have that. To check if you are in a zero sum game, just make sure everyone’s net gain and net less sum to zero. Pretty self explanatory right?

The point is that our universe is not closed and inelastic. We have resources that are boundless and incredibly important. When you laugh, or have a moment with a loved one, you both benefit. This may sound contrived but all that really matters is how you frame each moment of your life. What may seem like a negative could actually be one of the best things to ever happen to you.

What does this mean?

Don’t keep score. When you do something nice for someone, they don’t have to pay you back in kind. You helping a friend is not a loss and does not require reimbursement. Keeping score with those closest to you will distract you from what really matters: those closest to you.

At the end of the day, a tit for tat mentality is childish. Given the opportunity to be the bigger person, take it.

An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind

The moral of the story is that other people don’t have to fail for you to succeed.