THE OBSESSION WITH WINNING
I've been playing FIFA for a long time. Since 2005, I've had a copy of almost every FIFA to date. I think I've gotten so familiar with the game, that sometimes winning seems boring. Sometimes losing the occasional game makes me feel a little more alive, and it makes the game feel a little more relatable. Don't worry this isn't a gaming article, give me a minute to elaborate.
In the most recent version of the game, EA, the game creators, made tweaks to ensure the AI (Artificial Intelligence) teams you play against don't all feel the same. This made certain teams harder to beat than others. This was a welcomed challenge for me and I really enjoyed refining my team and tactics to try and win as many games as I could in the season. Two seasons later and I find myself atop of the league alongside a rival team, battling it out for first place with both teams unbeaten. However, an anomaly started to occur. Suddenly, I found myself losing and drawing games. I couldn't seem to figure out why. My players were the same, my tactics were the same. The only variable had to be me, because I made all the decisions. I sat with myself for a minute and thought, did I get bored of winning? Was the game getting too easy and as a result, my performances were suffering? Shouldn't I be winning more games if I felt that there wasn't a challenge? What was going on?
Well, gaming is trivial. Unless you're a pro gamer and your career depends on it. However, life isn't trivial. And the scary thing is, when I look at this simple example of FIFA, I see some similarities in life. How often have we reached a goal or a good place in life and moments later, find ourselves stagnating? Let me paint a picture for you. Imagine that you've just started on a fresh new project. Something that you've wanted to work on for a little while now. You start that project with passion, working with all the inspirations ricocheting around in your brain. You put in countless hours, spending time to hone this project to be the best thing it could be. But all of a sudden, one day you wake up and feel like there's nothing else you can add. You've covered all the bases, and you've gained so much new insight since the day you began. You know at the back of your mind that there's more, yet you can't seem to get there so you won't even try. So, you start settling. Settling for the project that is, rather than the one that it could be. Now I'm hoping this imaginative scenario isn't so imaginative, but relatable. I apologise if I'm not relating to you right now but for those who do, you've got a friend in me.
I'm a musician and an audio engineer. At least that's what my diploma says. But we all know paper doesn't always reflect the skill of the individual and I would consider myself an amateur in the industry. However, I can't even begin to count the number of times where I've gotten so comfortable doing what I do, that I forget that there's so much more to learn. That's when the results begin to suffer. Life isn't always gonna throw you the same challenges because the world continually changes and evolves. The moment we think that we know it all, is the beginning of us realising that we know nothing. Because soon enough, a new problem will present itself and we're going to struggle to address it because we thought we knew everything.
I love football. For the Americans, that's soccer for you. But I don't love it just because of the goals and the skills you see on Youtube videos. I love it because there's a psychological aspect to the game that is interwoven into every pass, tactic, movement and, eventually, result. Of course all sports have this side to them, but I know football more than I do the rest. Footballer's schedules are gruelling. Every couple of days the team flies to another state or country to play a game. And within those couple of days in between, the team trains for the next game. That means the coach works tirelessly to study the upcoming opposition and picks a game plan suited to take them down. A football coach doesn't just worry about tactics, but also the mental state of the players. He must do all in his power to ensure that the team steps onto the pitch without thinking that they've already lost the game.
One of the top teams in world football right now is Manchester City. I don't even support them, but I think their coach is a brilliant man. In the season of 2017/18, he led the team to win the league finishing with a total of 100 points in 38 games. Of those 38 games, they won 32 of them, drawing 4, and losing 2. At the level these guys are playing, that's insane. There's a documentary out on Amazon Prime, detailing their road to success and it shows both the winning and losing moments of that season. I've seen the documentary and my biggest take away is this. Their coach, Pep Guardiola, is obsessed with winning. Obsessed. So obsessed that one of his players described him in one word. Detailed. Pep's work ethic is so driven by his desire to win, that he spends countless hours watching videos of the opposition's previous games, studying the formations and movements made by that team. That showed in the results that the team had produced that season. Manchester City went on to win the following season as well.
Obsessed. For most, that word seems a tad bit daunting. We look at the word and see negatives. We look at that word and see extremes. Might I suggest that we look at the obsession of winning as a platform rather than a way of life? I'm not saying that we disregard everything else in life and only be obsessed with success. We can all guess the social impediments of that approach. What I'm saying is, we need to learn to enjoy that feeling of winning, of being successful. Besides, success is relative. It can be something small. For instance, successfully following a schedule for the day. Relish that feeling of accomplishment at the end of it. Use it to fuel the next day. Success can take the form of writing a song. It doesn't matter what success looks like to you. Just enjoy that feeling of accomplishment when you've gotten there. Be obsessed with the emotions. Think about them, dissect them, then use that as fuel to write the next one. It doesn’t matter whether the wins are big or small because at the end of the day, opportunities to win will always be there. That's not the question. The real question is, are we obsessed enough with winning to want to take them?