Words get thrown around all the time when dealing with competitive gaming. I know, that sounds stupid when you think about it, but it’s true. I don’t mean words as in speaking. I mean words, as in common things that are said about performance. As a wordsmith myself, I pay very heavy attention to words that are used in a competitive atmosphere.

Let’s keep this short and sweet, because words mean things, and there are quite a few that directly contort the way you view competition.

Deserve—You don’t. Period.

That’s right, you don’t deserve a damn thing. You don’t now, you didn’t before, and you won’t in the future, no matter how good you get. No amount of hard work, dedication, and/or skill will entitle you to any sort of stature, position, or standing, anywhere. Everything you will ever do in competitive gaming will be earned yourself. You don’t deserve to win because you have it in your mind that you played better than your opponent(s). On the flip side, you don’t deserve to lose when you have an off-day. The word is self-sabotaging, limiting, and will hinder your ability to develop and grow as a competitor.

Preference—Preference begets restriction.

You hear it all the time when presented with the best thing possible: “I mean, it comes down to preference.”

No, it doesn’t.

If you’re relegating yourself to accepting that preference is the end-goal, then you very likely aren’t looking deeper into what you can do better. Preference is the gateway to oversight, and it’s easy to use it as a fallback to not committing to making that extra effort. There is no denying that there are many times that preferences are ever present in many a competitive environment. There is also no denying that the 99% of us common folk aren’t actually skilled enough at identifying when preference is the conclusion to many a situation. The other side of the coin is using preference as a strength. There are many of us who favor one strategy over another, solely because your skill isn’t as strong as the comfort you have with what you’re going with.

This is perfectly fine to an extent, and that extent is one of the most difficult things to recognize when developing as a competitor.

Always/Never—Absolutes aren’t actually absolute.

How many times have you played a matchup that you, in your mind, thought you couldn’t ever win? How many times have you played a matchup that you thought you always should win? How many times has the opposite happened? How many times has it surprised/tilted you?

More times that you’d like to admit.

Spending energy conceding to absolutes is a surefire way of sabotaging your chances in these situations. The leading reason for this is because you aren’t doing what’s best, which is figuring out what could be done instead. If you can turn that 10% matchup into a 15% matchup without losing almost anything at all, or by playing things differently/playing to force a situation that puts you in a position to win, then do it! You don’t get a brand new car engine right off the bat if it breaks down. You see if you can fix it first.

There are plenty of other terms and phrases that are commonly thrown around that actively stunt your growth as a player, and the most difficult part of ridding yourself of them and the habits they foster is identifying it. The more you recognize how they affect you, the easier it gets to mitigate their effect on yourself.

Anthony has been competing in games for the better part of his adult life and is dedicated to improving his game, improving his community, improving himself as a person, and most importantly having fun and enjoying himself while doing so. You can check out his stream to find out which video game is the latest to catch his attention.

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