Single Player Mindset

Dealing with Resistance to Change

“If anything, people should be afraid of lack of change.”

Not every change is an improvement, but every improvement is necessarily a change. When I am trying to introduce change in a workplace, I will inherently meet resistance to that change, regardless of whether the change will be an improvement or not. Justifying that the change is in fact an improvement does not even seem to satisfy those resisters. The resistance instead shifts to another topic of: “Well you might have grand ideas of this, but what happens after you win the lottery and leave, or you are promoted and someone else takes over, or you are hit by a bus and someone else takes your place?” How do I deal with this resistance to change? Even if I manage to satisfy these questions with improvement plans and ways to sustain the gains, will they just shift to endless other points of resistance?

Why do you believe what you believe? Are you just arguing from the Bottom Line, a fixed conclusion of not wanting to change, that no matter what counterarguments and weight of evidence against your position, that you still Won’t Change Your Mind on the matter?

If I accept that nothing else will change unless I do it, then what is it that I am agreeing to in the future?

The idea of “Managing Change” in the workplace seems to build up a negative stigma about any change, whether they be improvements or not. The Expressed Culture propagated when we are coached to “Manage Change” results in an environment which is inherently resistant to change. Instead of building this aversion to the progress necessary for improvement, I think it would be much more meaningful to teach a culture of Continuous Improvement. The comfort of constance, whether it be at the workplace or in our own personal endeavors, is a Habit to be Broken.

From a Position of Strength

As a successful Single Player, you will be able to live and thrive on your own, for yourself. It is from this Position of Strength, where you can better show compassion and live for others. When we try to show compassion without strength, is where we might have others applaud our efforts because we are showing that we care; but we are not really helping.

For others will have to help us. For others will have to take care of us. For others will have to save us when we are over-committed and under-resourced.

“But how can you say that, you monster!” you might tell me.

Why aren’t I handing out money or food to every helpless person I see? Why aren’t I putting in all my extra time at charities? Why aren’t I helping others not starve?

I am not ready yet.

I am not yet in a position of strength. If I were to slow down now, I would be that much weaker when the time comes where I truly need this strength. But the very real concern here is – What happens in the interim? What happens in the transition period, the growing time towards that Single Player Strength?

I cannot save everybody. You (probably) cannot save everybody (yet).

But we can, first and foremost, save ourselves. If everyone saves themselves, then there would be no need to save others. But even if more people were to save themselves, then we would be able to save more. If we try to affect and help those within our circle of influence, from a position of strength, then we are doing more than our share already, for our only responsibility should be for ourselves. Anything beyond the goal of becoming a strong Single Player is already us showing compassion.

Be mindful of who you help, too. Some people thrive under adversity. Some people need no help, or only a minimal push. Blanketing everyone we see with the same kind of compassion is not good, even though it might sound good. It might trigger Applause Lights. It might win the audience. But it is not good.

Build your strength for yourself first. Then, if you wish, appropriately help those around you to also become strong. Do not deprive others from growing their own strength. But also, watch out for those who really do need your strength. If you can help them directly, then do so if you wish. If you can’t help them directly, then you might have to let them go. You can grow yourself, and you can help grow those around you. Eventually, a future world with more stronger players may be able to help everybody; in the interim, we cannot.

Is it frustrating? Is it monstrous? Is it sad?

We must work quicker.

In Defense of the Meek, the Timid, and the Quiet

There is a difference between self-confidence and exhibited confidence. One appears inwardly, only seen by the actor. The other appears outwardly, observed and interpreted by those around the actor. Do not confuse someone’s exhibited confidence for their self-confidence. The exhibited confidence is a function of many factors, including other’s interpretation of such confidence. The self-confidence is usually harder to observe, but it is more meaningful and better representative of someone’s beliefs and actions.

When people say that you should be more confident, they usually mean that they want you to appear more confident. This is like saying to someone who looks like they weigh 250 pounds, “I want you to look like you weigh 150 pounds”. There is a lifestyle behind that 250 pounds. You cannot just expect someone to immediately change the surface-level observation of their final weight. You would expect there to be some period of time with deep internal change, like a change in diet, increased physical activity, or name your other weight-loss activity.

“I want you to be more confident.” There is a reason someone exhibits such outward confidence (which may or may not be an indicator of their self-confidence). We shouldn’t just shoehorn everybody into Type A personalities. It’s everyone’s accountability – everyone’s responsibility – to see people for who they are, and learn how to better understand and communicate with them. In doing so, we would be better able to gauge each individual’s self-confidence about their beliefs and actions.

It might be easier to treat everyone as the same foundational being, with their actions interpretable with the same lens across the entire human species. It’s easier, but it’s just wrong.

When our workplaces or other communities say they are seeking Diversity and Inclusion, are they asking for everyone to speak up? Or are they asking everyone to listen carefully to each member? Do we expect everyone else to communicate the same way that we communicate? Or do we start from ourselves, as Single Players, to become better listeners?

Judging and ranking people’s ideas by their voice’s decibel level seems like a silly idea; isn’t it just as silly to treat people who are assertive, charismatic, and loud as being more important than people who are meek, timid, and quiet? What are some examples of less-silly ways of comparing the beliefs and actions of Person Type-A and Person Type-B?

Running Away from Words

“Don’t call it a failure, call it a learning opportunity.”

“Why are you so negative? Instead of saying they lost, say that they almost won.”

“Instead of saying we can’t do something now, say that we might be able to do it later.”

I don’t consider these cases of being pessimistic vs optimistic. No new information is gained when saying these things one way over the other. So why do we sometimes run away from one version of these statements? I think we should let words describe, as close as possible, the real Simple TruthIn cases we win, let us say we win. And in cases we lose, let us say we lose.

Human language is just a medium for communication. It can be manipulated and misconstrued, to sway yourself and your audience. But truth is stubborn. True things stay, regardless if we believe them to be. That which can be destroyed by the truth should be

Let’s learn to face the truth, and also face the words which describe the truth. Let’s learn to use the truth, and also use the words which describe the truth. If our actions are aligned with winning, our words can just describe that truth. If our actions are not aligned with winning, our wordplay can’t make up for running away from that truth.

Of Two Minds, but One Body

“If I were to grab her hand, would she hold it against me? Would I know where I stand?”

Once this trip ends, things will go back to normal. We'll go back to our peaceful, lonely lives. ~ If only we would never arrive there. ~

Once this trip ends, things will go back to normal. We’ll go back to our peaceful, lonely lives.
~ If only we would never arrive there. ~

Different people can have different perspectives, different mindsets. We are just one person. People hold us to a certain image, with certain habits and a certain history. Sometimes we just want to change it. Sometimes we just want to try something else. Sometimes we change our mind and form new beliefs. But we are held to the same image by others, and sometimes restricted even by our own selves. We’ve acted this way up until now; it’s common to have an urge to remain consistent. There could also be a fear of admitting that we may have been wrong.

What if we could live out two (or more) minds? What if we were not restricted to one image, contained in one body? I think we would be able to commit more of ourselves to those different minds. I think we would have a better chance to actually, really see those beliefs in action, and experience what goes on in that mindset of thinking. And then we would be able to better figure out which one we prefer. Which one results in a lifestyle we like? Which one results in ideas closer to what happens in reality?

We could try an image reset by moving, by abandoning the relations we have. Would we also have to wipe our own memories? Or at least repress the past image? In games, we can sort of accomplish this, by creating a new character, a new name. With a new class, different skills and specializations. And we can try role-playing to fit those different minds, those different playstyles. Can we reroll our own selves?

Refresh, Reset, Re:Zero

What would we do when given a chance to start over? Are we afraid of starting over? Do we not want to feel like a Beginner again?

The same job, but with a new manager, new expectations, new cubicle. It’s not really the same job anymore. The manager in mind whose volition was understood, is now a different entity with different desires.

To win, to forget, to remember, to try to win again, and to forget again.

The 12 year old me –  how did they feel? What was it like to want to never lose?

Could I return to that 12 year old mindset? If I could commit a self to that mindset, and compare with my current mindset, which would I choose to continue with?

Single Players for Humanity

We are the good news we want to hear and see. We are also the bad news we tire of. We are the silliness, the lightness, and the positivity in the world. We are also its seriousness, heaviness, and negativity.

We are inherently attracted to drama, rubbernecking and gossiping. We are by nature political creatures, arguing to win, not necessarily to be on the side of the Simple Truth. These traits reflect us in how we talk, what we listen to, what we learn, how we relate, and how we feel.

So let us today begin and continue to make a conscious effort:

Let us be silly, light, and positive. We must turn away from spreading negativity, not because we are trying to forget and be ignorant of it, but because someone must be the healing for it. In this digital world, we are even more connected at the keyboard and through the camera. We can share our pain, but let us also share our healing. We can share our despair, but let us also share our hope. We can share our sadness, but let us also share our happiness. Though we might die, let us also remember that we must live.

For humanity is but a collection of single player life. A single light shining brightly can lead others through the darkness. Let us be and share that single light. Let us live, let live, and love live.

Play Your Game

People might distract you from what you are doing. It’s important to know how to play your game, even when others might criticize, prod, or make fun of how you play.

There is a fine line between stubbornness and conviction, a difference between playing and winning despite, not because ofFirst of all, play for yourself, with your interests in mind. Do not expect others to play for you. It’s only after you can consistently and reliably win for yourself, that you might consider if you’d also like to play for others.

You should expect that when your play-style clashes with another’s, that questioning will arise. “Why aren’t you doing what they’re doing?” One side might be asking this question. Both sides might be asking this question.

You can respond to that question in different ways: self-judgment, judging the other, hating, mocking, adjusting, maintaining, ignoring. Whatever the response is, it should be in deference to the art and goal of Winning.

Play your Game. If it needs to change, then change it. If it needs to stay the same, then keep playing that way. See you at the finish line.

Winning with a Line of Retreat

On my path towards Winning, I think it is important to leave a Line of Retreat.

For firefighters entering a burning building, it’s important to make sure they have a path to escape in case the fire spreads too much. For employees preparing in case of a natural disaster or other emergency, it’s important to remember evacuation plans and assembly areas. For poker players seeing a good hand, it’s important to be able to figure out when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em. For rationalists trying to find the Truth, it’s important to identify what they believe, why they believe that, and if they should continue to believe that. For us Single Players trying to Win, it’s important to recognize when our thought processes and actions are actually leading us to Lose.

As a matter of self-respect you should try to believe the truth no matter how uncomfortable it is.”

As we build our beliefs about truth up, like laying bricks on other bricks, we must be able to see which beliefs are dependent on other beliefs, and which beliefs are strong enough to form a solid foundation. We shouldn’t overly favor or ignore certain beliefs; each brick should be inspected and evaluated fairly for their truth-iness.

“Be a true coward, and plan out your retreat in detail—visualize every step—preferably before you first come to the battlefield.”

As we build these beliefs up, we must also be ready to trace back and remove these bricks in case we laid them incorrectly. We may believe Y, which depends on belief X. If we later see fault in belief X, then it only makes sense to re-examine belief Y as well.

“You must at least be able to admit to yourself which ideas scare you, and which ideas you are attached to.”

Humans are not wired to be complete rationalists. We have biases and calculation errors. We may have our pet theories and hidden lies. The better we are at not lying to ourselves, the better off we will be at finding and building upon the right beliefs.

“What is true is already so; owning up to it doesn’t make it worse.  You shouldn’t be afraid to just visualize a world you fear.  If that world is already actual, visualizing it won’t make it worse; and if it is not actual, visualizing it will do no harm.”

Winning is the ultimate judge. Whether our theorycrafting or strategizing leads us to approach Winning a certain way, in whatever forum we are trying to Win, the world does not care how much time we devoted or how much sweat we put in. After acting, we will either have Won the way we wanted to Win, or we will have Lost.

While trying to Win, we should also recognize how we might Lose. While walking down our paths towards Victory, we should also be preparing a Line of Retreat.

Taichi on Winning

I don’t simply want to be granted victory. I want to have not run away.

I won’t be happy with just being at the top. I want to have earned my way there.

I can’t let the success of others distract me from pursuing my own success. I want to have won my way, for me.

Winning is not just about receiving a prize. It’s about learning how to face yourself, and to bring that self to the Win.

“Rather than just being promoted to A-class, I want to be someone who didn’t run away.”

Taichi Mashima, Chihayafuru, Season 1 Episode 20 (~19 minute mark)

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).