“First live, then philosophize.” -Arthur Schopenhauer

It’s been quiet on the 52 Aces front for a while now – sorry about that.

My process is usually one of “go live and experience things, then build off of that,” which means I end up spending a lot of time acting as a sort of “embedded researcher.” And because I prefer to go deep like that, the work I put out does not come out on a reliable schedule.

In other words, I’m not willing to create new content unless I feel like I’ve found something worth creating.

That time for putting out something new has come. Yesterday, I put the finishing touches on the V1 for a free new course, which I’m calling How to Win.

How to Win course cover

How to Win is a course for people who want to get better at competing in the various games life offers us. While the focus is on the domain of sports, the knowledge can be applied across many domains that aren’t traditionally classified as “games” (such as business and politics).

This is the result of several years of experimentation and research.

On the experimentation side, I used my hobby of Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a testbed: it started as a way to train in combat sports without taking brain damage, and it became a competitive pursuit.

Although I know I’ll never be a world champion in BJJ (this takes levels of commitment to the sport and ability that I just don’t possess), figuring out how to win in local tournaments and interacting with long-time, high-level competitors on a regular basis gave me a boatload of insights I could not have picked up in books or other media.

Spending time in this world was also invaluable because I had only previously experienced team sports (soccer, basketball, baseball and football). Learning how to compete as an individual, where everything is up to you, was a new experience for me.

I’ve also been exploring a new team game as a way to further my understanding, in the form of Onward, a virtual reality first-person shooter. There’s a lively competition scene and the game has a surprising amount of strategic and tactical depth.

From an experiential standpoint, there are some other major benefits besides team dynamics. For one, it’s easy to get a large number of competitive “reps” in a short period of time: You don’t have to leave your own home, and setting up a match is a matter of exchanging messages on Discord to agree on a time.

There’s also live streaming of many matches, so the play of the best teams can be studied pretty easily. This makes research pretty straightforward.

Not having to worry about getting my arm, shoulder, knee or leg destroyed during a competitive match is also a nice side benefit that doesn’t exist in competitive BJJ!

I’m now actively playing as part of a competition team, and I plan on using future learnings for additional material. More on this later, I’m sure.

On the research side, I read a ton of books about games, competition and strategy. These tended to have a surprising amount of overlap with my previous research and experimentation with memory and learning, as knowing how to pick up and utilize information quickly is a critical skill in competitive settings.

So if you’re a fan of my previous work on how to learn and improve rapidly, consider this a new chapter in that same direction. This time, it’s about practicality: games and competition are everywhere, and now you can leverage everything I’ve had to go through to shortcut your way into being a better competitor.

As I said before, what I’m putting out now is a V1. I expect to make changes and improvements as time goes on, and I appreciate any and all feedback you’re willing to give me.

This is a free course. I view it as a weird sort of obligation to just get the information I’ve picked up out into the world, as knowing how to compete has become an increasingly important skill. Many people are suffering because they just don’t understand the competitive dynamics that surround them.

Anyway, if you’re interested in winning more, or just understanding competitive dynamics better, here’s the link for the course: Enroll in How to Win.

Until next time…