The Master Game
By Michael E. Gerber
There once was a man named DeRopp who wrote a book titled The Master Game. No need to discuss his book or his philosophy here, other than to say it had to do with the shaping of one’s life and options through a lens few of us normal people have ever looked through before.
It brings to mind a question many people have asked me over the years about the entrepreneurial genius of Steve Jobs. What did he know that the rest of us did not? My answer was simply that Jobs didn’t actually know more than the rest of us; he simply cared more.
I believe that’s the heart of choice; caring more. Not just doing more. And, certainly not just doing something different than what you’re doing today.
So, the subject then becomes, what does “caring more” mean? What does it look like and how does it reveal itself, especially at your age and mine?
In my work with entrepreneurs and small business owners, caring more is a huge conversation, in that most of my clients and students over the years were confused about what it meant and how it related to what they were doing in their work.
They actually believed they cared, even when it was obvious as we pursued the conversation that they didn’t.
Yes, they cared about the money. To live without it would certainly throw a monkey wrench into their lives. So, in one sense they cared about making money, just as we all do. But, Steve Jobs didn’t!
Think about it. Here was a guy who dropped out of college in his first year, wandered off to India on a spiritual hippy quest that seriously disappointed him, took an engineering job for which he was hopelessly unsuited, and then started his own company, Apple, in his father’s garage, without any hope of succeeding, if you measure success by a financially robust outcome.
In short, Jobs didn’t care about the money. He cared about his dream. And his dream was so outrageously incongruent with what was going on in the world of his time as to be, on the face of it, absurd.
So caring, as we’re beginning to look at it, has nothing to do with any of us personally – neither DeRopp nor Jobs cared about themselves personally – it has to do with the impersonal. It has to do with something huge outside of ourselves. It has to do with someone else. And it also has to do with the ineffable.
What is the ineffable?
To DeRopp it was the product of the Master Game.
To Jobs it was the product of Apple. Not the computer, but the product of the computer, the profound impact the Mac would have on the lives of his customers, and, then, through his customers, the unexpected outcome for the world.
Everything Jobs did had to do with the ineffable, which couldn’t be described perfectly (thus the ineffable). But he could experience it inside, as a picture that appeared to him, in his imagination, in his unconscious, in his visual, emotional, functional and financial mind. (Yes, Apple was a financial engine as well as an innovative engine – the innovative engine of our time.) That vision drove Jobs and his company, and all of the people he attracted, to be a force moving forward with unabated determination to completely transform the world.
All one can say about that is, “Wow!”
From our perspective, what Jobs did and what DeRopp wrote about and how he lived are far more ambitious than what any of us would do, so why even put it into our consciousness here? To feel guilty? To feel overwhelmed? To feel diminished or minimalized?
No, not at all. The point is to feel what it means when I say, “Steve Jobs didn’t know any more than the rest of us do, he simply cared more.”
Because each of us has the ability to feel more, to care more, to discover more, than we’ve ever felt, cared about or discovered before.
And if that’s true (and at age 79, working as I am on the creation of an enterprise seemingly impossible for me to pursue, I know that it is true) then what in the world do we do about it?
That’s the question I wanted to pose to you: What DO you care about? And why? And what difference will it make to the world?
What is your ineffable?
How does it show up in your mind, in your imagination, in your heart, in your spirit?
What is your Apple?
What is your Master Game?
What is it that you’ve been placed on this earth to create?
(Michael E. Gerber ( www.michaelegerbercompanies.com ) is an entrepreneur, thought leader, speaker and best-selling author whose modern classic, “The E-Myth: Why Most Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It,” has sold more than 3 million copies. He is the founder of The Dreaming Room™, where entrepreneurs and others are provided the tools and facilitation to see, experience, develop and design their Dream, Vision, Purpose and Mission. A free subscription to his Dreaming Room Monologues, a series of taped inspirational talks, is available through his website. His next book, “Beyond The E-Myth” is a passionate response to America’s current inspiration deficit)