I was just visiting my blog a while ago when I was surprised from that notification I received from wordpress.
It’s been a year….
When I first started blogging my writing wasn’t that good. I didn’t even expected that I’ll be writing a lot of posts.
But then something happened. I started to like writing….
I remembered back then I was dreaming on becoming a real writer. You know, those people that who writes books and articles.
I bought a read a lot of books about writing, honing my skills along the way by writing posts in this blog.
Back then I was writing daily. Yes daily.
I never wanted to miss a day that when I can’t write a full post I’ll just write one of those short quotes.
Ah those were the days.
So what happened? Why did I lay low in writing posts?
As I can remember I missed a day of writing a single post. I tried to make up for it by writing some more, but in my mind it’s already alright to miss a day of writing a post. Also, I wanted a break from daily writing back then.
Fast-forward for a few more months and here I am writing a blog post again. I decided that since it’s my blog’s anniversary then I shouldn’t miss the opportunity to write a post.
And oh, since I like learning new stuff. I learned this new acronym tl;dr (or TLDR) which stands for…
Too Long Didn’t Read
Whitebeltblogger is celebrating his blog’s anniversary by reminiscing the past.
I’m a player of League of Legends. It’s an online game where a group of five players try to beat the other team.
Currently, I don’t have a clan so I get to play with random players selected by the game’s matchmaking system.
But I’m not going to talk about that’s game mechanics or my opinions about it. I’m here to talk about winning and losing streaks.
We can explain how winning and losing streaks happen in various ways:
They say nothing succeeds like success, which essentially means that winners have a psychological edge over others who have less or no experience on winning.
A player’s psychology is important because our thoughts determines our actions, and our actions lead to the results we get. Results that can be positive or not.
We can take advantage of this principle by winning at small tings first before we tackle more difficult challenges. In that way we can build our winning psyche.
Actual material or resource advantage/disadvantage
There’s this concept known as snowballing where advantages are built on top of another. Think of a snowball that gets bigger as it rolls on the ground.
That’s the reason why it’s easier for entrepreneurs that have money to make more money. Money can be used to buy resources that’s necessary in starting and keeping a business going.
Knowing this, we have to keep in mind that small things matter because they eventually lead to big results.
Crowd/peer support or putdowns
This is somewhat related to no. 1, but the former is all about how we view our self. What I’m going to talk about here is how other people view us.
Psychology has a concept known as the Pygmalion effect. Basically it states that expectations of other people affect how one person performs.
Just think who is more likely to win, a team that is cheered upon by the crowd or a team that receives only ‘boos.’
So, if we want to increase our chances of winning better find a supportive crowd, or if you have no choice but to deal with an unsupportive one — just ignore them.
Winners feel better physically, which leads to better performance
Can you remember a time when you won? How did you feel? Aren’t you full of energy and vigor?
Losers on the other hand feel weaker, even though they haven’t really exerted themselves.
Of course, we can condition ourselves physically that we can continue to go on even after disappointments and setbacks, but let’s face it, we’re doing it to win. That feeling of winning is so pleasurable, the reason why we endure hardships.
The other person/team is simply better
In competition we like to think that we’re the best and we can defeat anyone who competes with us, but the reality is that there are people who are more experienced and skillful than us. The reason they are more likely to win.
In those circumstances, let’s put on a good fight, try to learn as much as possible, and who knows we might actually win. Ever heard of upsets in sports?
And, yes, we must become better. So next time we’ll be the one with the definite advantage.
The possible explanations above are my own. There might be a lot more to winning and losing streaks than we currently know.
Sometimes, there simply seems to be a kind of cycle or rhythm on things. It’s like an invisible force, a force that once we know, we can control it to our advantage.
When I was in grade school, I remember a weird ritual that my classmates did; every time a kid has new shoes they would stomp on it (dirtying the poor shoes in the process) and would declare the shoes have already been “baptized.”
I was probably stomped a few times, but I can’t remember if I ever did a stomping; not that I’m defending myself, it’s just easier to remember an experience if you’re the victim as opposed to when you’re the aggressor.
That weird (and cruel) ritual is not unique to our school. One would wonder when, where, who started that ritual.
My guess is that it was started by a kid who’s jealous of his new classmates new shoes, and he thought of a clever way to make himself feel better; that is, by associating baptism (a sacred ritual in most religions) to that rude act.
That’s only a speculation, but would you think a kid who’s proud of his classmate or friend’s new shoes would even consider stomping it?
Still being practiced
Unfortunately, the practice didn’t stopped. (Habits we learn in school lives long.) Although there are probably worse rituals in other schools around the world.
The practice has to stop once a kid gets older, of course, or he would get himself into trouble by getting himself sued or risk retaliation from the person with the stomped shoes.
Most people will dismiss it as something minor or even a “part of growing up.” I’m not sure about that. Who knows if the kid who stomps the new shoes will someday be the person who scratches the new car of his colleague. Oh no.
The good news
Most of the shoe stompers classmates I knew grew up normally and have happy lives. People change.
I just hope they don’t pass that stupid ritual (shoe stomping) to their kids. The only one benefiting from it are the companies who make shoe cleaning products. Wait… maybe those companies started that ritual? Oh boy, I’m speculating too much.
When we argue, we pick one side and defend it with all our might to protect our fragile egos, which are on the line. That leads us to shut our ears to what the other side has to say, regardless if their point is valid or not.
Without saying (but I’ll say it anyway), the other side won’t listen to us, too. They have their own egos to defend. So you might as well talk to a mannequin in a department store — at least they wear fashionable clothes.
Wait?! Have I been arguing that arguments are useless? Let’s hear what the other side has to say….
Arguments are useful.
I’ve been arguing with myself, and here are my reasons why arguing is useful:
You can express your views.
First, saying what you want makes you feel better.
Second, most people will respect you for having your own views, and not merely mirroring what the popular opinion is.
Lastly, what we say can often affect the thinking of others. Our actions come from our thoughts, and different actions lead to different results. Meaning we can change something albeit indirectly by expressing our views.
You can come up with a new idea.
Paul Graham, an essayist, programmer, and venture capitalist once wrote about writing:
Writing doesn’t just communicate ideas; it generates them.
Even though an argument may not only be written but spoken as well, they are just different modes of communication. In addition to what most people experience while arguing, we can presume that arguments lead to idea generation as well.
You (and the other person) can learn from each other.
Contrary to what has been said above, if we keep our emotions in check while arguing, then we can think more clearly.
And if we can think more clearly, we are more likely to learn from the other side and vice versa.
Good communicators do so naturally. They can express their ideas precisely and clearly, but they also listen when the other side is the one doing the talking (or writing).
In summary, arguing why arguments are useless is a paradox. The other side can argue that arguments are useful, and if something that is labeled as useless can be useful, then it’s not useless at all — but useful.