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Guess, Then Second Guess

Summary

If you can predict what others are going to want and what they will choose, you can play this game to win. Put personal preference aside and play like a pro by second guessing the majority’s choices.

Guess, Then Second Guess

This game is especially useful in the world of business because guessing what other people want is how you get to the top, but you can also use it in your everyday life to keep things sweet. To guess what others want is to be a step ahead of everyone else. To second guess what others want is to be ten steps ahead.

It only matters what others think

Imagine you are playing a game where ten people are asked to choose their favourite song from a short playlist and those who pick the most popular song are thrown in to the hat to win a prize. Your favourite song is on that list so your first instinct is to pick that. But wait a minute and ask yourself why you would pick that. You love that song, but will it be the most popular? Choosing your personal favourite is only going to show others what your opinion is, nothing more. If you want a chance at winning this game you have to choose the song you think others will pick, even if you hate it. But what if others playing have also figured that out? Now you have to go to the next level and you need to choose the song you think others will think others will pick. The skill of second guessing what the majority wants is invaluable in business. Basically, your own opinion doesn’t come into it. A passion project can be rewarding, but it won’t win you the game.

Is it a level playing field?

As with all games, the trick is to read your opponents. If you are playing with general normal people you can assume they won’t have thought that much about the game and you can second guess their choices pretty easily. You can, in some cases, even manipulate them into thinking they’ve made a choice when actually they are simply following your lead and choosing what you want them to choose. This works brilliantly in the world of marketing. But what if you’re playing with equally intelligent people who are also guessing what others might do? In this case you need to be smarter and you must choose what everyone else is going to think is the best choice. If we think about those playing the stock market, the price of shares rise not because it’s a wonderful thing to invest in, but because everyone else believes it is. If you can second guess what’s going to happen and what others will put their faith in, you can clean up.

You can still love your favourite song, but you need to differentiate between this and the song that’s going to win you the game. Whatever area of your life you are playing in, knowing what the consensus will be is how you stay strides ahead of everyone else.

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