August 16, 2018
I have quite a few hours of esports playtime under my belt – over 1500 hours in SMITE alone! That number becomes even more harrowing after considering my time spent in other titles over the years like League of Legends, various Call of Duties, and many Halo games. While sometimes I wonder what else I would have done with my spare time without esports to keep me occupied, it hasn’t been for naught like most would think. There are a lot of life lessons I’ve learned from my experiences in esports that have proven to be useful on more than one occasion, but I’ll restrict myself to talking about a few of the most important ones.
The first is learning how to brush off the negativity in life. We’ve all had those matches or games where we just weren’t playing up to par, and we’ve all also had those teammates who let us know that we’re performing poorly in the not-so-nicest of ways. Just as it happens in traditional sports, esports can lead to some fiery disputes and heated exchanges. These things happen when you’ve got a highly competitive atmosphere at your fingertips. Esports attract people from all sorts of crowds and with them come a large variety of personalities. Sometimes personalities will clash, whether it’s behind the screens of an intense Dota match or at a get-together at your friend’s place. We have to learn not to take everything to heart and dismiss the situation as something that happened in the heat of the moment. We can’t go through life hanging on to every little quip or argument. It’s not healthy, especially when esports give you the chance to participate in arguments night after night. The esports realm is just another place where we can practice brushing off that negativity if we encounter it.
Being willing to learn from others is something that has to be welcomed if you want to keep getting better at your favorite games. This is something I struggled with in the beginning as I’ve found my tendency is to try to learn everything on my own. I see myself continually having to take a step back and realize there are better ways to go about learning something than beating my head against the wall to teach myself. There is absolutely nothing wrong with learning from others. The masters are the masters for a reason. They have their game strategies down to a science, and we can get better if we take the time to learn the formulas they use. That’s not to say a master’s strategy can’t be improved either! There’s always room for improvement and tailoring their strategies to our playstyles, but let’s face the facts that the masters have a pretty good idea of what they’re doing and us nonprofessional gamers could look to their strategies for guidance. The same goes for industry leaders of all kinds. There are masters in every industry. Some may have come to be so with more luck than skill, but there are always exceptions. Masters and professionals have spent more time than most honing their respective crafts. When we don’t have the same amount of time to dedicate to them, we really should consider the information they’ve gathered and the strategies they employ.
When you find your strategies are still failing during a battle and you might not have time to look up alternatives, think outside the box. Esports have shown me just how pivotal and rewarding thinking outside the box can be. It’s one of those concepts that’s been hammered into us since we were children, so much so that it almost seems immature, but it’s an essential aspect of life and pervasive throughout esports. Thinking outside the box drives innovation and can result in entire businesses being created to capitalize on a unique solution to a problem. Although we all aren’t going to be running out of our houses and starting up a business just because we had an out-of-the-box thought doesn’t mean this lesson can’t apply to everyday life. Got a problem? Try to fix it with what’s at your disposal. Consider options that you don’t often see, no matter how outlandish. You might be surprised by what you discover can fit your needs in a sticky situation.
However, if there’s any one thing we should all take away from esports, it’s the fact that it’s okay to fail. There will be teammates who try to convince you otherwise if you’re considered the reason for the team’s loss, but don’t listen to them. You’d better believe in the 1500+ hours I’ve clocked in SMITE I’ve lost a match or two, some of them very severely. I’ve played against professionals in a wide variety of games and won, yet I’ve lost matches to other players who would be considered nowhere near my skill level. We all want to win as much as possible, but we can’t win every time. Were you too aggressive in the early game? Should you have been steadier when you were negotiating a price on that new car instead of accepting the first price that was offered? It’s not the end of the world. Figure out what you did wrong and try to avoid the same thing in the future.
Failure is only ever a chance to improve upon yourself, but it’s on you to take up that chance.