A performance-driven game centers around increasing power, efficiency and control.

The goal is to get the best score you can get.

Examples: Swimming, archery, golf.

While these games are often played in the context of a tournament, there’s actually no need for the contestants to be competing at the same time. Each swimmer/archer/golfer can simply have their individual ‘runs’ scored and then compared to determine the winner. (Of course, this wouldn’t be nearly as fun, but that’s besides the point.)

The point is that one’s performance in such games is not directly affected by the actions of other contestants.

In performance-driven games, the winning approach is one dimensional; It’s all about maximizing power, endurance, efficiency and/or accuracy. No gameplay strategy is required.

A different type of game

A competitor-driven game centers around defeating the strategy of other contestants.

The goal is to beat your competitors.

Examples: Soccer, poker, business.

In competitor-driven games, absolute score is not as important as relative score. It doesn’t matter if your soccer team scores 10 goals if the opposing team scores 11.

So your score itself isn’t actually important; What’s important is that your score is better than your competitor’s.

The other thing about competitor-driven games is that your performance is directly affected by the actions of the opposing player/team. How they play affects your performance, and vice versa.

As such, the winning approach is to understand your competitors’ strategy and to outmaneuver them.

Unlike performance-driven games, competitor-driven games are multi-dimensional. There is no single way to win, no single metric to optimise for.

Which game is trading?

Trading is more of a competitor-driven game. The market is, after all, populated by speculators who are all looking to generate a return at the expense of someone else.

If you’re struggling with trading, maybe it’s because you’re treating it like a performance-driven game rather than a competitor-driven game.

Think about it.

How much do you know about your competitors’ strategies?

Does your strategy take theirs into account? Or are you just drawing lines on a chart and hoping for the best?

Perhaps, the best way to get better at trading is to stop trying to “improve” your strategy and to start understanding how your competitors play the game.