The Reason to be Friendly

I just finished the training of 7 habits of highly effective people of Right Management by facilitator Jessica Cao. To be short, it is a wonderful training and better than what I expected. The most impressive game in the training was the XY gambling game. That gives me the true strength about being friendly and doing the right thing, despite of other people’s behavior. Let me share the game with you.

The Prisoner’s Dilemma

The game is a famous example of game theory: the prisoner’s dilemma. I have read about it before, but never played it in real life. The actually result is shocking. The game is like this:

There are four teams.

Every team can choose to bet X, or Y at their wish.

The rule is like below:

If every team choose X, every team lose 1 dollar.

If every team choose Y, every team get 1 dollar.

If there are both team choosing X, and Y, every team with Y need to pay money to X.

3X – 1Y: Y loses $3, and every X gets $1

2X – 2Y: every Y loses $1, and every X gets $1

1X – 3Y: every Y loses $1, and X gets $3

There are 10 rounds.

It is obvious, that X is a better option than Y, since by choosing X, you always have a better winning chance than Y, but the problem is, for the 4 teams as a whole, the only win-win situation is everyone chooses Y.

The actual result was: our team continued to choose Y for 10 times – the crazy guys! and there is one team always choosing X, and other two teams turned from X to Y along the game. Interestingly enough, when the three Ys get the consensus that Y is the right thing for the group to do, they insist it, and the X also considered X is the best option for them to get money out of the pockets of other teams. Along the game, the facilitator changed doubled and even 20x of the winning/losing amount.

The result was: one team (us) looses $38. Another team looses $36, and another $28. The X team won $102.

The Choices

It is obvious to everyone that by choosing X (especially when everyone’s choice is Y), you get the immediate reward (money), but only when you at the game, you can feel the tension between the 3 Y team and the X team, and the increase in trust level amount the three Y teams. As the game continues, it is more and more clear to everyone that if there is a second day, the three Y teams will choose to play together, and leaving the X team alone.

Taking the goose and the golden egg example, X team is actually trading the future rewards for immediate return. People will choose to play with people they trust. That is how this society works.

Y is the Friendly but Vulnerable Bet

When you are not clear about what your players are, the safe bet is X (protective). Y is actually a friendly card. It shows to your partner that you are harmless, and you want to cooperate. That is vulnerable, but in real world, it often gets kind response.

By believing taking the initiative of being friendly, and be the first (and promise to be the last one) doing good thing, that is investing to the future of one’s life, and is actually the smartest thing to do, although it is seen as foolish in the early days.

Thanks Jessica for sharing the game.

P.S. Metro Line #7

Metro Line #7 of Shanghai Metro opens for trail operation today. I don’t have a chance to take a ride today, but will surely try it tomorrow. It only opens from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM.

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