DJ join’sjoins us to discuss one of the more difficult parts of Mythgard and gaming, losing!
There is no way to really sugar coat it; losing SUCKS. However, know what sucks more than losing? Losing a LOT.
Unfortunately, losing is simply just a vital part of gaming. Someone has to win, someone has to lose. It’s the circle of life in a way.
Being on the winning side is easy. We feel stimulated and exhilarated because we have won. We have put thousands upon thousands of hours into gaming and winning is proof that it all has paid off and we are masters of our craft. It feels even better when we feel like we played well and got awarded the win.
Losing, to no one’s surprise, typically does the opposite of winning. Instead of being stimulated and tenacious, we are depressed and defeated. Our mood starts deflating and we start thinking “why even play this game if all I do is lose?” Ultimately we question our love for the games that we play and, worst of all, we question our potential and capabilities.
I’ve been losing. Losing a lot. I’ve been down about my gaming skills and started thinking maybe I was more in love with winning than I was the game itself. I started questioning my potential and whether or not I can keep going on being competitive in gaming.
This obviously was a severe over reaction. Losing is part of gaming and, even more so, losing streaks are part of gaming. As much as winning streaks even. But feeling these feelings made me realize that there are two sides to every story.
There’s the side that we see on social media where people are winning, collecting prizes, climbing ranks. But just like every single other picture on social media, this is but a snapshot. This is a moment in time. This isn’t the whole story. I believe the other side of the story is what I’ve recently been dealing with. For every picture of someone finally making Legend, Champion, or whatever high tier rank there is, there are pictures where that person lost. I would even wager there are more pictures of them losing than there is of them winning. So losing is going to be a part of gaming no matter what. No matter what winning streaks I could be on, I will eventually lose. Afterall, someone has to lose. It’s not always your opponent. Sometimes it’s you.
So how can we deal with feelings like this and moments of doubt in our own abilities? How do we keep that fire burning and keep our head held high?
Well unfortunately it isn’t black and white. Human beings are complex creatures. So complex in fact that sometimes we don’t even understand ourselves. Different things work for different people but there are techniques that anyone can try. Ultimately it comes down to putting the work in to find your own way to deal with the stress and depression of losing.
Before going further I do want to address a few things:
1. I am by no means a mental health professional. I am merely speaking from my own experiences so if you feel that gaming is affecting your mental health in the long term and spilling over to other areas of your life, please seek professional help when you can.
2. There is nothing wrong with riding the high of winning. Winning feels good and it should. If winning didn’t feel good there would be no reason to try so hard to win more. But, it can’t be the foundation of why you are playing games or the basis that your moods fluctuate.
Now let’s get to some things that I have down to try to handle losing better:
1. Take a break.
This is the most simple way to stop losing from getting to you in a bad way. Just stop playing the game and do something else. Read, go for a walk outside, watch tv, do chores, or anything else that allows you to take your feelings, headspace, and energy and channel them into something productive. This can give you a release that allows you to think clearly which improves your mental dialogue. This is the hardest thing for gamers to do. It doesn’t make you any less of a gamer if you take a break to make sure that you are taking care of yourself.
2. Fall in love with the process
It’s easy to get too caught up on the big picture. We all see that we want to be this great player, we see our vision and goals in our head and we wanna get there as fast as possible. This isn’t reality. Achieving goals takes time, work, and determination. It’s a process. This means you are going to have to lose before you win. Fall in love with the process of becoming great. Analyze your plays, talk in discussion groups. Get yourself deep into focusing on learning and fall in love with learning. This allows you to be satisfied as long as you learn and feel like you are growing instead of just if you get the win.
3. Take some time to play for fun.
As much as it’s a hyperbole, it can be hard to play just for the fun of it when you are competitively minded. This is a great way to decompress though and takes the sting out of a losing streak. Play a weird deck you have been wanting to try or try to assemble a meme comp. The baseline for games is that they need to be fun so take a small amount of time to let yourself enjoy games for what they are.
Losing is a part of gaming. This means it will happen often so I want to make it clear that there is nothing wrong with losing affecting you. It’s something you are passionate about and something that you have poured time, energy, and resources into. Just remember that it is important to your wellbeing, as well as your performance, that you take care of your mental health and not allow losing to take you to a bad place. Take care of yourself in this hard time for the world and happy gaming. I’ll see you in the queues!