I came across an interesting article which discussed Iceberg Slim's writings. The world was divided between two types of people which I call, the opportunist and the moderate, defined as follows:
- Opportunist. They approach every task with multiple potential solutions.
Using Risk as the pretext of examples, the following, which is loosely based on Iceberg Slim, makes this more clear.
- Moderate. They see the world in steps. They make one move at a time. They are to the point.
- Moderates like to take the game as it is, believing what they like to believe. They have certain preconceptions and believe the game has to be played in a certain way to win. Opportunists live by reality. They cant wait for their turn. They look at the whole board and then make decisions.
- An opportunist likes to take risks. He thinks the game is appropriately named and is amazed by it. He analyses the game based on patterns, not based on luck. He understands that there is always a chance that an action may not go according to plan. Its all part of the game. New risks create new opportunities and an opportunist thrives on this. The moderate doesn't like bad dice. He is forever afraid of making bold moves. He prefers to pick fortress-like continents as opposed to those with access to everywhere. He prefers short term security than long term adventure.
- A moderate has a chaotic mind. His anxiety leads him to make rash decisions to fix issues where there is none. The opportunist appears calm and in control. He always appears to be a few steps ahead of others, anticipating events as if he knows exactly how the game will progress. He has a plan for all possibilities and doesn't seem to be anxious on other players' decisions.
- A moderate wants to follow predefined patterns of tactics and strategies. He thinks rigidly on all decisions. He likes to play defensively, one step at a time. New events bother him. He gets irritated if anyone initiates propaganda. An opportunist, on the other hand, thinks on all dimensions and likes to make concurrent decisions. He sees angles and makes moves that no one else is able to see.
- Moderates have a negative view of power. They think, in order to have more power and more armies, they have to save their armies from getting killed in battles. They try to spend less, like to keep what they have and continuously worry about losing them in battles due to bad luck. An opportunist has a positive view of power. He understands it a lot better. He knows that power and armies are there for a purpose. Power is only a tool, to be used to get to the main goal, be it more power or else. He understands the risks.
- An opportunist knows the odds related to his decision and he understands that sometimes all may not go well. He knows that even the best players can be defeated by misfortune. Every time he makes a move, he understands the potential risks and how it can go drastically wrong. He accepts the risks based on his calculations and makes his moves. The moderate thinks he is invincible and won’t lose. He thinks he is the master of it all. Hence, he is rigid in accepting defeat. He is slow in identifying signs of failure since he strongly believes he is going to succeed. His rigidity is his greatest weakness.
- Opportunists understand reputation. They know how to make it and how to protect it. They know they should guard it well as their existence in the game depends on it. Once credibility is gone, they may have nothing to stand on. They think twice before stabbing someone in the back over a deal. They don’t want to stab the wrong person. Moderates play defensively and may suddenly bite. They may end up stabbing the wrong person and destroy their own reputation in the process.
- Moderates are impatient and emotional. They can get restless. Opportunists are patient. Time is their friend. They calculate and then wait. They know that it will all play out as planned.
Which category do you belong to and what style of play do you usually have?
- Anger is lethal and a moderate can easily fall for it as he is emotional. Making decisions based on anger will only lead to disaster. It may have short term benefits or satisfaction, but will inevitably fail. An angry player does not think about the big picture. An opportunist goes for the big picture. He contains his anger. He may take revenge, but he will take it the way he likes. He will execute his move on a higher level such as his opponent's reputation. He doesn't repress anger. He simply formulates his decisions based on his newfound information.