Snippet on Improvement: Faith, Discipline, Reason
- I demand a crazy improvement rate out of myself and evidence of improvement because it’s really easy to “get lost” in Melee. You can continue down a path that has little to no improvement and/or a path that’s inefficient for several months, up to years, without knowing it. This fear drives me nuts, especially because it's the rule of thumb that better play inspires others to play better, and nothing makes me happier than a challenging opponent.
- But this is pretty straightforward to resolve, I think -- you just have to have a good eye for what matters. Let me be more specific: results are the easiest way to validate improvement/lack thereof but they are definitely not the only way. You can simply compare your footage from one instance to the next, for example. Or you could get others’ feedback in the same way, pointing out your mistakes. Or maybe you could simply evaluate your comfort/understanding regarding certain aspects of the game, and compare that way. There's loads of paths to the same thing here; the point is that you're not totally invested in the actual representation of your "progress".
- Anyways, without results, you need faith to keep you going. You need to trust that things will work out. How do you make sure that your trust isn't misplaced? It's as I said above; contextualize your progression (or lack thereof) in terms of understanding. In some ways, this feels like a catch-22 -- you need to trust in a process for it to bring you understanding but for you to know it’s not a good process you need understanding -- but if you continue with faith and see no net-improvement, this is the best sign that you need to switch your path. That's science 101 -- you try things, they don't work, so you try something different. Discipline does come in somewhere around here, though -- net improvement takes a long time in Melee, hands down. So even if you trust in something and you've reasoned it to be good, if you allow changes in your reasoning/faith to push you on to a different path and don't spend enough time on that thing as a result, you'll never develop.
- Nevertheless, I am a low faith and an average discipline person, so without results it’s very easy for me to feel as if I’m lost and being self-aware doesn't exactly help either. I'm not quite sure how to build up faith or discipline but I think having good teachers helps, as well as finding the thing you enjoy the most about the game and studying/practicing it deeply. A helpful reminder is that most people took 5 years to “get good”. It doesn’t have to be that way, but it’s up to you to maintain a positive attitude regarding improvement and results.
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