Have you heard of the “Red or Black” game? It’s perfect for showing why teamwork is the key to getting through the corona virus contagion and life. It’s very simple. The objective is to finish the game with the most points. There are two teams and five rounds. All each team has to do is choose red or black.
Points are awarded as follows:
- If Team A and Team B choose red, both teams lose 5 points.
- If Team A chooses red and Team B chooses black, Team A gains 10 points, and Team B loses 10 points.
- When Team A chooses black and Team B chooses red, Team B gains 10 points, and team A loses 10 points.
- If Team A and Team B choose black, both teams gain 3 points.
In the game of life, red is a vote for me, black is a vote for we.
We are all playing this game every day whether we know it or not, only with a multitude of players. Let’s walk through it to show you what I mean.
A goes into the store and buys a truckload of toilet paper that sits in a closet. He’s reserving the option to sell it for $5 a roll. He is effectively choosing red.
B either doesn’t have any because A bought it all or takes one pack so that others can have some. She’s choosing black.
Score at the end of round one. A: 10, B: -10.
A and B are both stir crazy. They can’t go to the gym because it’s closed. They have both heard that sunshine is good for the immune system.
A takes the family to a crowded park, let’s the kids play on the swing set, then stops off at the grocery store on the way home to save time. He is effectively choosing red again.
B goes into her backyard with a chair and a book and sits in the sun. She’s effectively choosing black again.
Score at the end of round two. A: 20, B -20.
A and B are feeling isolated and alone.
A calls a couple friends over to drink beer and watch a movie. After all it’s just three people. A is choosing red again.
B hosts a virtual watch party with friends. B is choosing black again.
Score at the end of round three. A: 30, B -30.
It’s been two weeks now of social distancing. They both having mild symptoms, yet both live paycheck to paycheck and need their jobs to continue paying rent and eating. A didn’t contemplate calling a doctor. B did but was told that she wasn’t sick enough to get tested. Both continued to go to work, effectively choosing red.
Score at the end of round four. A: 25, B -35
Both A and B have elderly neighbors. A has a stockpile of food and supplies, but doesn’t share. He also doesn’t offer to go to the store for them or help them in any way. Once again, A chooses red. B doesn’t have a lot to share, but checks on them and helps them out when she can. Once again B chooses black.
Score at the end of round five. A: 35, B-45.
Winning the Game
Now, it may seem like A won the game. He did what he wanted to do and has the most points. However, the objective of the game isn’t to see which team ends the game with the most points. It is to end the game with the most points. That takes teamwork. A gained 35, but B lost 45, so the net total is -10.
If all it takes to “win” is +1, A lost the game for everyone each time he made a play because he consistently ignored the big picture. He chose “me” over “we” every time.
Sovereignty is about me. It’s about carrying my weight, making myself happy, stepping into my power and truth, and being the best I can be. Connection is about living in relationship with everyone and everything else.
I can’t have connection if my sovereignty comes at the cost of the team. I have to give as much as I take and support as much as a lean on them. Every time I choose me over we, we all lose. If I give it all away and take nothing, that’s a loss, too. It has to be me and we. We are in this life together. We need a balance of sovereignty and connection, not one or the other.
Life is teamwork. As children we are dependent. The adults carry our weight. When we are adults, we carry the children and pay it forward so that when we are elderly, we can lean on others without being a burden. We’ve already provided those behind us with the guidance and resources to help them help us. That’s teamwork. Everyone is cared for.
Another way to look at it is trust vs. fear. Making a black move is living in trust. Red is living in fear. Fear is infectious. Fear makes people move into their protective, taker space. It contracts our hearts and spreads mistrust. Trust opens, inspires, connects, and encourages growth and happiness. Where do you want to live? Who do you want to be? Think about that the next time you make a move. It matters.