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Game Theory and Psychology

Let me start by wishing everyone a Happy New Year. I hope everyone had a good holiday and the year is starting off right. I hope everyone is planning their goals for growth for the new year as well. Feel free to visit last year's blog around this time on Goal Setting.

Since I have written about goal setting in the past I thought I would start this year off differently. At my request, my wife got me a book on Game Theory for Christmas. It may seem like a weird choice for a Christmas present but it is a growing interest in mine, particularly given all the sports work I also do. At the same time given the work I do in trying to understand why people make the choices they make it is certainly a different take. Without going into details of math behind Game Theory which is complex and can another blog post to describe, I'll just do the quick version. Essentially in this book they talk about from a mathematical perspective we are all playing a game everyday, evaluating our choices versus the choices and interactions with others to determine what is best outcome for us. It helps us determine do we cooperate with a person, or do we rebel and focus just on ourselves, but risk the other doing the same. It is a very interesting concept, and can be applied to every area of life from sports, to school, to family and spousal interactions, to the world of business, and yes even politics.

I spend a lot of time with clients, whether clinical, sport, or educational, to assess and evaluate why they made the choice or decision they made. Often the question centers on what did the client get out of making the choice he or she made or what need was fulfilled, even if the choice appeared to be a negative one. For example, the client feels anxious or frustrated with homework and confidence, and what happens, they avoid embracing the challenge and getting the work, done. Another one, and a popular one, "My brother got me mad, so I hit him". Obviously not the best choice, and one with negative consequences, but yet a very popular choice if circumstances like that. Finally, for athletes, how do I make the choices in my play and understand my role on the team. There are countless examples from my work hat falls under these concepts.

So where does game theory fit in. Well first many of my clients are negative and judgmental of themselves. This in turn destroys confidence and contributes to anxiety or depression. Instead, it would be more beneficial for a client to assess the factors that led to the decision versus judging them. Using game theory can be an interesting way to do this. By applying mathematical concepts to decision making and interactions with others it is much easier assess the motives behind our decisions, look at what we have learned in the process, and apply these lessons to the future, with hopefully better choices and outcomes that will improve confidence and self esteem.

This is a quick and simple explanation of Game Theory and Psychology, but certainly one I will continue to read up on and learn about, and perhaps write more about in the future. It will be interesting to see if this can continue to be applied to my work with clients. Although it may not be an explanation of all our choices in life, it is certainly an interesting one. I highly recommend you read up as well, and try applying the lessons to your life.

In the meantime, we are always interested in meeting more contacts and discussing topics with new clients. As always, Confidence In Performance, Confidence For Life.

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