There are numerous philosophies about losing, being a loser and competitive philosophy but I don’t want to waste too much time going over all of them. What I do want to talk about is how losing games can be a constructive tool to hone your game and tighten up your thinking.
There is no Loser.
The Vince Lombardi quote above can be taken the wrong way and make you think that if you are a polite and gracious loser you will always be a loser. It could be taken as a hallmark of the ” Winner” Culture”, a philosophy that, on the surface, espouses winning at almost any cost and effort. Basically; Winners are in it to win it and every effort and action is directed towards that goal.
The direct contrast to “Winner Culture” is “Loser Culture” which derides competition and believes that societies obsession with winning brings out the worst in individuals, psychologically cripples the majority and actually reduces overall productivity.
I personally think that both cultures are just examples of extreme psychology that do more damage than good when it comes to socially adapting competitive behaviour in a manner that produces positive outcomes.
That’s to say dicks who only derives satisfaction and meaning from crushing opponents is just as damaging and hollow as a schmuck who avoids any competitive arena for fear of actually learning.
What I mean by “There is no Loser”, is that there is as much to be gained by losing a game as there is winning one. In a way both players benefit from the experience and even though it is strictly a competitive contest where there is a definitive Winner and Loser there is a co-operative undertone to the entire affair. In some ways you stand to learn more from a losing game than from a winning game in which all your established assumptions were confirmed.
LOOKING AT LOSING as WINNING
When you win a game there is a number of things working against you learning anything from the experience:
1. Bias Confirmation: You won, obviously you did everything right.
2. Positive re-enforcement cycle: The more times you achieve success with a given caster/list you will further reduce the likely hood that you are going to consider failure as a call to re-assess your decisions and choices. More likely than not you will ascribe the problem to something random like dice or luck.
Losing can be frustrating, especially if it goes on for a long period of time. Losing on the other hand ensures that you completely analyse the game to determine whether or not your decisions and choices where optimal. It also makes you a hell of a lot more likely to come up with creative and unconventional solutions to problems you are facing, come back and kick some ass!
In this way Losing games (especially practice games) is winning, you learn more and get into the habit of assessing your decisions post game.
WHAT LOSING GIVES YOU
A bunch of my friends use an APP to track their games and make notes about their wins and loses This can be a very informative system that allows you to review and solidify knowledge you have gained but I frequently hear them simply stating statistics about their “record” with a particular caster or faction. This outlook on the recorded data is not helpful and in actuality is counter productive as it can just reinforce negative perceptions about a particular caster or faction that are not necessarily rooted in fact.
If you’re doing this, stop, I mean it, stop right now.
It is far better to make general notes in a word program or even write down questions like; “focus more on scenario”, “Power Attacks are good solutions”, “Is X model/unit performing as I intended?”, “Is it more valuable to have a druid wilder or a second set of stones?” or the like than it is to focus on statistical data.
When you lose a game the first thing you should do is ask yourself these questions, then when you have answered them to your satisfaction ask your opponent or people who watched the game:
1. How did I intent on winning this game at the outset? Did I pursue that goal?
2. Was my resource allocation sufficient to achieve the short term goals I needed to make my winning condition possible?
3. Was there another method by which I could have achieved my goals that I either didn’t utilize or wasn’t aware of? Were there methods or tools available to me within my list I am currently using or do I need to add a tool?
You will notice none of these questions are based on the specifics of the match up. That is entirely intentional. My first year painting instructor had a favourite saying she would shout as she stormed around the studio belittling the students:
“Work from the General to the specific.”
It is entirely pointless to start a discussion of a game without first getting a lay of the land by assessing the generalities of the game.
HOW SHOULD LOSING MAKE YOU FEEL?
Losing should bother you, it should in some ways piss you off but only just enough that you want to thoroughly analyse the game and pull rational deductions from it. Losing should NEVER piss you off so much that you are rude or ungracious to your opponent and if losing pisses you off so much you rage quit… well that’s another topic entirely.
In many ways losing should make you excited, (not happy, if your happy about losing you probably have some kinky bedroom practices and a long psychological history) losing is an opportunity to learn because…
LOSING BREEDS WINNERS
<<<This saying about you being your only competition? Complete Bull shit. Seriously the goal is to win games, sure you can look to personally grow but someone needs to win the game and that means your competing with other people. Still, along the way and even past that point when you win a game or a tournament you are going to lose and at that point the competition does shift to YOU.
What are you going to do about losing? How are you going to process it?
The ideal is to make sure that you use these losing moments to improve and re-calibrate so that you can win next time because you can be damn sure that some of those people you beat last time will be going into the tank, practicing and getting ready to make you eat it next time you throw down!
It’s cliche to say “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” but mainly because if you don’t go back, get rehab and healed up after getting maimed you sure as shit won’t be strong enough to get back out there and kill that bastard that maimed you!