Month: April 2016

Winning Despite, Not Because Of

Sometimes the world doesn’t work the way we would like it to work. We might call it “Unfair” or unjust, but stuff happens. When we don’t like what happens, we either Accept it (by changing our expectations of what happens) or Reject it (by changing what ends up happening). As a Single Player, a lot of the time I find myself having to play in a multiplayer world where I have less control over what happens. Instead of situations where my clear go-to decision would be to Reject what happens, there are other considerations that must be accounted for when more players are involved. It is hard enough to play for myself as a Single Player, but also playing with and/or for others?

This type of situation, where we see something we don’t want to happen but allow it to happen because others might accept it (either deliberately or by not caring), can lead to conflict. Why do we have to put up with this? Why can’t we all just reject it? Why do we have to sacrifice something for something else that’s not even better?

Even after we self-reflect, asking ourselves if we are correct in our beliefs, checking our thought processes and seeing if we are messing up somewhere, searching for a potential hidden truth that we might have missed. Do they know something I don’t know? Why do I believe what I believe? How did I make this conclusion? And how did I conclude this with as much confidence as I have? Even after we self-reflect, honestly, in deference to the real, actual, lawful, Simple TruthEven after all of this, and we still would decide to Reject what happens, but have to Accept what happens because of others around us.

Cue negativity: resentment, jealousy, distrust, hate.

What do we do with this negativity? How do we handle it? Do we transform it into positivity, a working force to strive to be even better? Or do we embrace it, purport it, promote it, reflect it, so that we generate more negativity?

Consider Kobe Bryant, professional basketball player, will most probably be referred to as a generation-defining player. A superstar attracting both fans and haters on and off the court. Kobe, self-professed contributor to his own hate. Why? He fed off that negativity. Fueled by hate of teammates, opponents, fans, and media. Says he wouldn’t have it any other way, that was what drove him to greater heights. Is this him lying to himself? Rationalization? Regardless, it’s what he chose, what he did, and part of his story, why he is great now and will be remembered as one of the all-time greats.

Consider Dansgaming, professional streamer, feeding off jealousy

@Dansgaming: #Jealousy you’re going to feel it on Twitch, it’ll never be gone completely. it’s normal, let it motivate you to be better not to hate. (tweet from 2016)

Would he really not have had it any other way? If he could choose jealousy or not jealousy, would there really be consideration? Would he still have been great if circumstances were different? Would Dan still be the Twitch icon he is today, without the satire and sarcasm, without the rage and self-rekts?

Consider Darth Vader, professional Sith Lord, proponent of the Dark SideHe had cared too much, so much so that it exposed him to resentment, jealousy, distrust, and hate. These negative emotions ended up fueling him, driving him, acting as negative energy that actually gave him some pretty cool powers. Does that necessarily make him bad? Why is he a villain? If we consider his circumstances, doesn’t he become more relatable?

What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. But sometimes, we contribute to our own almost-killing. We are faced with challenges, and we either overcome these challenges, or we falter and fail before them. However, I think that sometimes we contribute to our own struggles. Sometimes, we even create them or exaggerate them. Sometimes, we make our own hurdles just to show ourselves and others that we straddled over those hurdles.

Stepping back, is everyone naturally attracted to the struggle? News segments filled with tragedy. Rubbernecking on the highway. Do we need the negativity? Do we rely on negativity? Or do we act despite the negativity? We may realize that negativity will be there. But do we contribute to it all? I think in the best outcomes, we either transform negativity, or deflect it away from ourselves and others. However, sometimes we are tempted to absorb it or reflect it back.

Consider these example dichotomies:

  • Being an underdog; Staying an underdog
  • Being a victim; Becoming the victim
  • Underpaid and under-compensated; Under-performing and setting minimal goals
  • Raising yourself up; Keeping yourself down
  • Being in Control; Being Controlled
  • Winning; Losing

I think the greater feat is when we Win despite negativity, not because of negativity. Make it clear, to ourselves and to those around us, that there is a difference. Even if in certain situations that difference is subtle, it is imperative that we recognize it. We choose to Win, even when facing Losing conditions. But we must not contribute to that Losing. If we do, and somehow we think we are better off, I am pretty sure we would find out after honest self-reflection, that we are lying to ourselves.

We must choose to Win, first for ourselves, and then for others if we can. And we must carry ourselves towards this Winning despite, not because of, (insert negativity here).

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