Winning and Losing Streaks

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:

  1. Psychological advantage/disadvantage
    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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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. 

  4. 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. 

  5. 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.

But until then, let’s keep on playing.  🙂

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Internet IQ Tests

Yesterday before going to sleep, I randomly thought of taking another of those internet IQ tests.

I was once measured with an IQ of 134 on one of those tests. I forgot the site where I took it, though, and the methodology involved. For that reason I’m not sure if the result of that test was reliable.

I read somewhere that you can only trust the result of an IQ test administered by a real psychologist. Official or not, and no matter how reliable those tests are, they are sure fun to take (at least for me).

I took three tests on different sites, and with varying results.

The first test

The first site I took a test administered it using a true-or-false format, which is fairly easy. I was confident with my answers. That’s why I couldn’t wait to see my results. Have I surpassed the 134 IQ barrier?

After the test, the result wasn’t shown. The site insisted that I enter my email address and then the results will be sent to my inbox. What happened? It’s almost 24 hours, but the results haven’t been emailed yet. I guess I’ll never know the results of that test.

The second test

Not being able to see the results immediately, I went into another IQ test site. This one looks more legit with five choices each question instead of the true-or-false format that I’m skeptical about.

There were 30 questions. A time-limit was in-place though, which is about 15 minutes for 30 questions. The test was harder than the first one, but I didn’t get to answer 3-5 questions before the timer expired and the test result was given: IQ 115.

What? How can it be? My IQ lowered? No way!

Still 115 is above-average. What contributed to the lower score were the questions that were left unanswered, I suppose. I could have guessed, but it wouldn’t be fair.

That incident raised a question in my mind. Do we need to have a time-limit when measuring intelligence?

If only I was given more time, I’m confident that I could have scored higher. Maybe having the ability to think fast is a requirement of having a high IQ. I was reminded of a quote from a great mind:

It’s not that I’m so smart , it’s just that I stay with problems longer.

—Albert Einstein

To think of it, I remembered someone wrote that there are a lot of engineers and scientists who are a lot smarter than Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. The reason those two became successful was they were the ones who took action with the problems they have seen.

They worked with their problems longer, while other people either gave-up or didn’t even know that such a problem exists. What was their problem anyway? It’s to make the computer usable for every household, not just businesses.

The last test


To move on. Not satisfied with my new 115 IQ I took another test. This one, though, was all about images and number sequences, which can be confusing sometimes. The result: IQ 110.

No, not again. I guess if I took another IQ test, the result will be and IQ of 100-105. Fascinating.

What I think about it

Right now, I still believe my IQ is 134 (that is until the results of the first IQ test arrives on my inbox with an IQ score of 150 or more).

Why? It’s good for the self-image. I’m not the type of guy who brags about my (speculated) IQ, even though I have mentioned it on this blog post.

Believing that you’re intelligent makes you intelligent. I believe in that and have reap the results. Give it a try — you’ll be happy with the results.

Thinking as a Hobby

The Thinker

Thinking is one of my hobbies. Thinking, like breathing and walking, is one of those actions we humans naturally do. So it might be absurd for some why I would categorize thinking as a hobby.

How can it be a hobby?

In my definition, a hobby is any activity that we enjoy, whether it has benefits or not. Thinking is an activity, an internal one that is. And, for sure it has it benefits, this blog post is a result of my thinking, for example.

Plus, it’s a portable hobby — you can do it anywhere and anytime. There’s no need to go to a certain place; there’s no need for other people; and there’s no need for equipment. All you need is a brain — and all of us humans on this planet earth have those.

Thinking defined

Edward de Bono, the author of several books on thinking, defines thinking as “The operating skill with which intelligence acts upon experience.”

Notice the two words “intelligence” and “experience.” Intelligence is like the house builder, and experience are his materials. Both are needed to build a house where people can live.

What can we think about?

Anything. Absolutely anything. You can think about your high-school friend you saw again last week. You can think about the Youtube video you watched a while ago. Or, you can think about why I’ve written this post, “What was he thinking when he blogged about thinking?”

However, it’s advisable to think of good things. Things that make us happy, like a cute kitten (or a cute puppy if you’re a dog lover). How about things that can move humanity forward, like the next big idea. (It’s inside us somewhere, we just have to find it inside our inner world.)

Thinking vs Action

I thought about this a long time ago, then I acted upon my thoughts by writing this post.

Have you noticed the above sentence?

Some people think (excuse the pun) that thinking is the opposite of action. It’s not. They both complement each other. It’s another of those cases where dualistic thinking is applied. Instead of thinking using “or,” how about thinking using “and” or “both”?

For instance, to become a good writer, a person must think about what she is writing about, then afterwards she will act upon those thoughts by writing it on paper or typing it using a keyboard. Thought precedes action.

Thinking is an activity

Has it ever happened to you. You’re thinking of something good … then suddenly … someone interrupted you and you’ve lost those precious thoughts. Thoughts that may lead to next big thing, or at least make your life a little better. They may think you’re doing nothing, but the reality is you’re doing something — you’re thinking.

Some people may think that individuals who like to think a lot are lazy, but they judge on appearances alone. Inside a thinker’s head, he’s doing something worthwhile, he’s thinking.

That being said, through this post, I hope people will realize that thinking is an activity as well. In fact, creative people like painters and writers does it a lot. Remember: quality thinking comes before quality action.

I want to think as a hobby too, any tips?

Hmmm. Let me think….

  • Think on your idle time, like waiting in line or while riding public transportation.
  • Think in bed before going to sleep (assuming you’re not that sleepy).
  • Think when solving a difficult problem (but you already know that don’t you).
  • Pretend to browse the internet or read a book while thinking, so people won’t think you’re doing nothing.
  • Think of a random word and search it on Google — sometimes you’ll like the search results.
  • Write down any brilliant ideas you have while thinking, so you won’t forget them.
  • Form a thinking club — yes, they do exist.
  • Think of what you have read here, even for a while.

Summary

Thinking is a common (internal) activity. If you enjoy thinking, then you can consider it a hobby. Thinking isn’t the opposite of action, rather it’s complement. If you’re thinking, it may seem that you’re doing nothing, but inside you know you’re doing something. You’re thinking.

Photo credit: Keith Kissel from Flickr

When Hard Work Is Not Hard at All


Miniature Workers
Image from Flickr by JD Hancock


We have all heard the phrase “hard work” many times throughout our lives. But is hard work really hard? In this post, I would argue that hard work may not be as hard as we think.

Luck and hard work

When someone becomes successful, people will attribute that person’s success either to luck or hard work. Even those whose success is mostly due to luck, would claim that their success is achieved through “hard work.”

Why? Probably because being lucky is something some people tend to become jealous about, but by claiming to work hard, people will admire you. People who work hard are often considered disciplined, persistent, and sometimes loving, too.

Defining hard work

But let’s suppose a person really worked to achieved something. Can we say that person worked hard?

First, let us define hard work. To most people working hard means:

    • Working for an extended period of time: hours, days, weeks; even months and years.
    • Working at a task one is not familiar with.
    • Working to achieve a significant goal.
    • Working at a task that one doesn’t really want to do, but does it anyway because other people expect him/her to do so.
    • Working at something that benefits other people.

 

Hard work is abstract

Listed above are some traits of work that is considered hard. But I’m sure each one of us has his own definition of hard work.

It’s because hard work is an abstract concept, and most people have difficulty picturing an abstract concept like hard work in their minds.

On the contrary, we can easily picture concrete things like cars, mountains, or computers in our minds.

When hard work is not really hard

So, given enough background on the concept known as hard work; it’s time to know when hard work is not hard at all:

  • Work intensity is decreased via familiarization.
    If a person is used to doing a certain task, the task becomes easier over time. In which case, what was once hard is now easy.

    Example: when you were young, you struggled with writing words on a sheet of paper, but now, it’s so easy that you can do it even when your eyes are closed.

  • Work intensity is relative.
    A task that one person finds difficult, might be an easy task for another.

    Example: Tim is having difficulty lifting 30 pounds, but for Alex it’s a piece of cake, since he can lift a maximum of 150 pounds.

  • Work intensity is determined by an individual’s outlook.
    If a person is willing to do something, he/she may view the task as easy, regardless of its actual difficulty. On the other hand, a relatively light task, may be viewed as hard by a person who doesn’t like to do the task in the first place.

    Example: Alisa, a mother of two teenagers, ordered her sons, Jim and Billy, to clean their rooms.Jim who likes seeing things in order, willingly followed her mother’s command. On the other hand, Billy, who would rather play soccer outside, also cleaned his room, but with a frown on his face.

    For Jim, the work he has to do is easy because he likes it; while Billy views his work as hard because he thinks he would rather be doing something else.

 

Summary

Hard work is an abstract concept. That’s why it means different things to different people. We have to remind ourselves that:

    • Work becomes easier as time goes by.
    • Work that is hard for one person, may be easy for another.
    • Work that is willingly done by a person, becomes easier.

 

Succeed for Yourself — Don’t Mind Other People’s Reaction

When you show yourself to the world and display your talents, you naturally stir all kinds of resentment, envy, and other manifestations of insecurity… you cannot spend your life worrying about the petty feelings of others

–Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power

Has it ever happened in your life, when you have achieved something great, other people — were not so proud of you — and might even have said that what you did was wrong.

Things like that really happen — and can even be considered common. If you’re living in an ideal environment with supportive people, then consider yourself lucky.

Does that mean that some people are really bad? By saying “bad,” you are either labeling people as either “bad” or “good.” Ponder on this, bad people can have good behaviors too, and good people can have bad behaviors too. The keyword is “behavior.” Each one of us is capable of doing behaviors that can be labeled as “good” as well as “bad.”

For example, you’re in a sports team, and you wanted to be your best. So, when you’re other teammates are partying — you are training. When they are slacking off — you are working hard. It goes on — for weeks — then months.

Then one day, you and your teammates realized that you have become the best player in the team. Suddenly, some of your teammates are labeling you as a “snob,” saying that you don’t go with them on night-outs. You are confused by their new behavior because you don’t remember mistreating them, you even go with them sometimes, but not most of the time.

In that case, the best thing to do is to ignore them. You don’t even have to explain yourself, aside from a simple statement, such as, “Sorry, I didn’t go because I want to practice to become a better player.”

There are times when you can’t explain why people are treating you badly. It may be that they really behave that way, or that something that you have done or achieved makes them feel uncomfortable.

As time goes by, you will have interactions with different people, who may like or dislike you. If you have a choice, surround yourself with supportive people.

If it’s the case that you’ll be with the people who resent you for a while, then — don’t ever stop doing the thing that you are supposed to do. I said that because some people “sabotage” themselves, when they realize that people don’t like them anymore. By reverting to their former selves, they think that  those people will like them again. Remember that this can happen unconsciously, so it’s important to keep your guard up.

Summary:
If you ever see signs of disapproval from other people, it does not always mean that you are wrong and they are right — it may even be the opposite case. Sometimes, people can be jealous and insecure — so just ignore them — and become the successful person you deserve to be.

The Village Venus Effect

Image

Image from Flickr by Wenchmagnet

Imagine you are living in a remote village — without being exposed to the world outside. You have no access to cellphones, television, or the internet.

In your village, there’s this girl — let’s call her Katarina; she is the daughter of the village chief.

Katarina is a beautiful girl — in fact the most beautiful girl in the village. Since you haven’t seen any other girl prettier than her, you assume that she is the most beautiful girl in the world.

Are you right? Yes … until the day comes that you have to venture in the outside world, and during your journey you saw girls who are far more beautiful than Katarina.

I first encountered the Village Venus Effect on Edward de Bono’s book “De Bono’s Thinking Course.Simply stated, if you’re living in small village, the prettiest girl in that village, is essentially, the prettiest girl in the world — in your own perception.

How can knowing about this phenomenon add value to our lives?

There are times when thought we have seen it all — when in fact we have only seen the tip of the iceberg. Also, you might be able to recall a time when you made a choice and told yourself that you made the best decision — only to be surprised later on that there are other better options.

The point is not to be paralyzed by continually looking for better alternatives. Sometimes we have to trust our intuition and take action whether we are ready or not — then by being aware of the feedback that is given to us, we can adjust our next actions to take advantage of the situation.

So, the next time you think you have seen it all, or exhausted all the available options — think that outside your village, there are girls far prettier than Katarina.

If you’re wondering where I got the name Katarina, she is one of the champions from the online game ‘League of Legends.’ It is fair to say that if you’re a girl, you can instead remind yourself of the ‘The Village Hunk Effect’ — and there is this guy named Garen.

Being Alone vs Being in a Group

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Image from Flickr by Joris Louwes

I’m an introvert — I like solitude, there is something about it that makes me happy. There is a possibility that you’re like me — or maybe you’re an extrovert.

For those that are not familiar with the words ‘Introvert’ and ‘Extrovert’, basically an Introvert is a person who likes solitude, while an Extrovert likes to mingle in groups.

According to some psychologists, there may be actually some differences in how the brains of both are wired. So … it may be that we are either born an introvert, or an extrovert. If you’re somewhat in between, they’ll call you an ambivert, lucky you.

The title of this post is ‘Being Alone vs Being in a Group’, noticed I didn’t make it ‘Introverts vs Extroverts’ Not only it is unjust to compare two groups of people base on some differences they may have — it also counterproductive. After all, Introverts and Extroverts are the same also, if we look upon the fact that we are all human beings.

But hey … wait a minute. An Extrovert is an individual also right? And, an introvert like me can also be part of a group. So what’s up with the title, you may ask.

In what follows, I’m going to highlight some of the advantages of being alone, and also that of being in a group. It’s nice to look at other people’s point of view from time to time.

So, if you’re an introvert, you’ll be shown what advantage there is to being in a group. And … if you’re an extrovert, you’ll see why being alone sometimes is advantageous to you as well.

Advantages of Being Alone

  • You can do what you want without other people telling you what to do.
    Can you remember a time when you’re out for lunch with a group of friends? If you’re not vocal about what you want, you may find yourself just agreeing to what your other friends suggested, even if you don’t like their choice at all.
  • You can focus at the task you are doing.
    While it may also be true that some people might enjoy work more if they are in a
    group — in general most work can be done more efficiently if the individual is left
    alone to focus on his task.
  • You can relax more when alone.
    Some people, whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, feel uncomfortable when being watched. When you’re all alone, no one is watching you and you can feel free to do whatever you want (such as raising your feet on a table to assume a more relaxing position). Another reason is that no one will be bothering you for a while.
  • Other people won’t hold you back.
    For example, if you finished your task faster than other people in your group, but you have to wait for them before you can proceed to your next task. You might feel that they are holding you back, but let’s say you can actually do the next task, though, it’s sometimes considered rude to leave people behind — well, it still depends on the context, like whether it’s a cooperative or competitive situation.
  • You can do some crazy stuff when alone.
    For instance, if you’re an adult who still likes to play Pokemon in your gameboy because it reminds you of your childhood.

    You can still do it — in private, without other people wondering what’s gotten into you, only because they find your preferred activity unnatural for an adult to do. Well … don’t take anything personally, it’s just their way of seeing things.

Advantages of Being in a Group

  • It is easier to get help.
    One of the primary reasons that our ancestors banded to form their own groups is because a group can provide help to a member that needs one. It all comes down to reciprocity. I’ll help you now, and most likely you’ll help me also when I need it.

    Also, when you’re in a group and need some help, other members of the group can call upon someone else inside or outside the group who can help you, if they are not the ones that can fulfill your need.

  • There is strength in numbers.
    Despite what some movies try to portray, like the myth of the lone hero who saves the day all alone — it’s common knowledge in business and in construction that there is strength in numbers (not taking into account other factors like financial, resource advantages, etc.)
  • You can learn from other members of the group.
    In a group, there are always individuals that have more experience, knowledge, or insight than what the rest of the group has — these individuals can help other members who are willing to learn from them.

    It is also true the other way around, the expert can learn from the non-expert, because he/she may see things that expert does not because it is commonplace to him/her.

  • A project can be completed more quickly.
    There are several reasons, one is like stated above that there is strength in numbers.

    Another one is that each person can specialize in his part of the project — for example, when building a house, there are painters, plumbers, electricians, etc. who’s an expert in their own areas.

    One more is that those in a group with more experience can guide other people in the group with less experience, so their work can be completed much faster.

  • Being in a group can be more fun.
    Even if I’m an introvert, I have to agree with this point. Have you ever tried going to the beach alone? It can also be fun eating out with a group because each member can tell stories or share experiences that can amuse each person in the entire group.

Notice that I didn’t mention the disadvantages of being alone or in a group. The reason is that by flipping the perspective we can already deduce the disadvantages. For example, in the advantages of being alone section — the third point is, ‘You can relax more when alone.’ We can relate that in a group, ‘You won’t be able to relax that much.’

Likewise, the first point of advantage when being in a group, ‘It is easier to get help.’ We can tell that when we’re alone, ‘It is more difficult to get help.’

All of the points I described above is somewhat common sense. The thing is … we sometime bypass common sense — only because we can stick to one way of seeing things without being aware that there are other alternatives as well. Yeah, it happens to me too, sometimes.

I hope you find what I’ve written insightful; if not helpful. Definitely, it’s not an exhaustive list, and there are more advantages in being alone and in being in a group. Can you think of some now?