Every game has a metagame; that’s the game about the game. It is a formula, a recipe that, once discovered to work, always works until the game is updated, or changes.
Life has a meta, too; if we pay attention, we see what works and what doesn’t work.
For a long time in America, the meta was to have a good stable job with one good company, do that for 30 years and then retire and sail off into the sunset. Then that meta stopped working. Companies got greedy and fired people when things got a little tough for them. But then that taught people that they should not be with the same company for 30 years because they will fire them in a heartbeat if they have to.
So the meta broke; anyone playing that old meta is going to have a much tougher time than someone playing today’s meta. Changing jobs at the right frequency today leads people to command higher salaries because each new job usually net’s them a raise and a new experience.
By trying to squeeze a little more efficiency, companies in America broke the meta. They now have to pay an arm and a leg for talent that will not stay with them for long in highly competitive talent markets. It's not just companies that can change the working meta. Governments can make entire industries unattractive or super attractive; think coal and oil vs. solar and electric.
In the online video game world, specific compositions or load-outs are meta and considered the very best. Not playing one of those is considered foolish. This would be the equivalent of trying to be a factory worker in America in 2021. In online video games, once the new meta is discovered, it becomes the baseline for competitive play.
But if we pay attention, we can discover what the current life meta is too. Where are people getting rich? What industries is the government pushing in and out of favor? What events have lead to massive changes?
In a complex game like life, so many things can be meta all at once. People can get rich with tech, by starting a business, in real estate, investing, and in many other ways.
Why make the game more difficult? Just play the current meta and get the easy wins.
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