It’s easy to dismiss the tabletop role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons as a frivolous pastime, but Yancey Strickler, co-founder and CEO of Kickstarter, would encourage you to look at it differently.
He writes that it’s not only great fun with your friends — “a free-form, collaborative Choose Your Own Adventure story” that has you rolling dice to do battle with imaginary monsters using pencil, paper and imagination — but that he learned three big lessons about life and leadership in his relatively short time playing the game.
Specifically, Strickler makes the case that D&D teaches you to know who you are, know what you want, and to parlay first, fight second.
Because the game has players taking on the assumed identities of various warriors and wizards, you have to know your character’s traits and behave accordingly, just as you have to identify and operate under your own true characteristics in life and business.
The second lesson, knowing what you want, is what propels the game forward. If you don’t know what you want, then you’re overwhelmed with opportunity and probably won’t get terribly far.
The last of Strickler’s lessons is to parlay first and fight second. Instead of immediately looking to conquer opponents, he advocates talking first to see if some sort of collaboration is possible.
If not, then it’s time to draw the broadsword.
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