Beware of complacency

USFIV Decapre Screenshot 03_1394986108

It’s easy to feel comfortable in your current level of skill. You might think you’ve got it made and there’s no real need for you to level up or learn anything new. It’s a fair assumption, especially if there’s no immediate urgency to where you’re at. If you’re good enough at something, for example a game, card game etc, you might not have to put in much effort to improving yourself.

That said, complacency is the enemy. Being in your comfort zone is good, and if you’re a casual gamer* then you have nothing to worry about. But for those of us that play competitively, in some capacity, never think for a second that you’re the best. There is always room for improvement.

(With my combo videos, I pushed myself to try harder combos and make more exciting content)

Common causes of complacency are usually not being challenged enough. If within your group, or the people you encounter, you’re the top dog, chances are you’ll ending up thinking you’re top dog altogether. Call it inflated ego. While I don’t personally believe that people need to be pounded into the dirt to be humbled, or face opponents way too strong for them, I do think people deserve a little push. Just some decent competition that gives them a wake up call and says ‘Hey, you can do better than this’.

The issue with being complacent itself is the risk of this inflated ego being believed. So inevitably when your world view is challenged, you’ll reject it so harshly and never see the light. We’ve all seen cases of people who think they’re good at something until they meet someone better, then they vehemently lash out and make excuses. If you’re constantly in a state of self-improvement, then you’ll never even touch this mindset.

Sometimes with competitive games, we enter a lull where we’re just mowing people down and everything’s easy sailing. This isn’t a bad thing, and I personally love feeling powerful and seeing that my progress has made a difference. The feeling itself isn’t the issue, but if we become reliant on this feeling and just stay put with how good we might be, that’s when development stagnates.

(I came a long way while playing BlazBlue. Learned a lot about fighting games cause of this series)

So every so often, it’s helpful to push yourself and seek out greater challenges. Take some risks. Or, if fate dictates it, you’ll meet just the right person to make you go that extra mile. This has happened to me countless times in both fighting games and FPS, where I’ve encountered an opponent ferocious enough to make me sit up but not so overwhelming that I feel, well, overwhelmed. These individuals activate a fire in me that keeps me alert, makes me think harder and smarter than before. So whether I win or lose to them, I know that I’ve reached the next level, as it were.

Essentially, growth in competition is fostered by the drive to do better. It’s not always in leaps and bounds, and sometimes you’ll only really get some new piece of information and nothing else. What matters is that even at your best, you can still find things within your arsenal to keep you ahead of the game. Complacency is the enemy, but learning is the answer.

*Note: when I say ‘casual gamer’, I don’t mean that as a strict definition. Rather, I refer to anyone who doesn’t play games competitively and isn’t concerned with getting better at games in a serious way.

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