Thought Control
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Short and thorough articles tackeling various topics within the eSports scene.

Mindsets and its effects

“Having the right mindset is everything”, “You just didn’t have the right mindset”, “It’s all about maintaining that mindset”.

A mindset is a term that’s being thrown around quite heavily in both the regular scene as well as the pro scene when it comes to improving your gameplay.
But what is a “mindset”? What does it look like and how does it function, and why is it so important?
In this article we are going to elaborate on the theory behind mindsets and explain why they are so closely linked to your performance and behaviour.

The role our thoughts play.

First, we need to understand the role our thoughts have on our behaviour and lives. One of the most commonly used psychological theories (often used in therapy) out there revolves around the REBT (Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy).
Which basically comes down to the following: what you think influences what you feel and do. How you feel influences what you think and do. What you do influences what you think and feel. There is a two way interaction between the three factors; thinking, feeling and doing.
So if you feel like crap, you have a higher chance of thinking and behaving like crap. Fun times!

Now let’s go deeper into the rabbit hole. Where does this two way interaction cycle start? It can start anywhere, but more often than not it starts with your thoughts.
If I constantly think that I suck at the game, I will feel like this as well (crap). In turn my behaviour will be crap and negative towards others. The more often this happens, the more likely it will happen again.

Now it's pretty hard to change feelings directly. Are you mad? STOP BEING MAD! Tada! Easy right? If only...
Changing behaviour is also quite the challenge. Behaviour is often fed by your mind rationalising your actions. 
So the most effective way to break this cycle is by focusing on your thoughts.

Positive mindset.

And we're back to our popular definition. This is where the theory behind a positive mindset comes from. It also shows why having a positive mindset is required if you want to perform well.
Because like the earlier example of a negative cycle, the same holds true for a positive one. Positive thinking leads to happy emotions which leads to happy results.
On top of that if you perform well, your thoughts get reinforced again that everything is going fine. And so the cycle begins... 

"Well that's great! But sometimes I am feeling happy, thinking happy and being happy, and still end up with a losing streak. That streak makes me unhappy. How do I avoid an unhappy cycle?"

This is why a positive mindset is more than simply going with the flow. It requires looking at your situation and take that which you can use to further yourself in a positive way.
This may require you to look at smaller details or goals about your performance rather than the global result of a match.

A metaphor that is often used in relation with portraying mindsets is using different 'glasses' to view a situation. Picture the following scenario, and view the scenario from 3 different perspectives. Which one sheds a 'happy' light on the not so great scenario and which one puts it in an 'unhappy' spotlight?

You just lost the last 5 matches in a row, your team was not performing well and you also made several mistakes.

  1. Next time you should just dodge the game if you see any of your underperforming teammates pop up in the game, saves you time and effort..
  2. That happens sometimes, you can't influence which random teammates you get and I shouldn't worry about it. Better luck next time!
  3. Okay it happens, better luck next time. What could I have done better? Maybe I should have helped my teammates a little bit more at the end, and I should communicate a little bit more. 

#1 will indeed save you time and effort. And that's about it. You fully blame your team and have no need to look at your own improvement points. This doesn't help you in the long run.
Both #2 and #3 are arguably positive mind sets and are good ones to maintain when playing your games. Though it's worth noting that #3 adds a bit of self-improvement and is still trying to learn from the not so positive outcome. Taking the losses positively but also trying to learn something from them. This is an often overlooked part of staying positive.
Negative also means subtracting (-) from your experience, in a sense making it worse. "My team mates were shit, and I just can't play this champion or with this weapon, I should just not play this game" are all subtracting from your experience of the game.
Positive tries to add (+) something to your experience, and adding things can be done in 2 ways. "Ah well, better luck next time, at least I had fun." views the experience from a positive perspective by not linking negative thoughts to the experience through thoughts like "better luck next time" & "I had fun". The other way views a positive mind-set as in adding a learning experience to it like in example 3. The arguably "best" positive mind set tries to combine both ways of being positive when you're trying to get better at which ever game you are trying to play!


Our thoughts are fundamental for how we view and experience our actions. Negative thoughts overall result in more negative feelings and negative behaviour. On the other hand more positive thoughts tend to cause more pleasant feelings and better actions.

Not only will a more positive mindset improve your overall experience while gaming, but putting an emphasis on what you can learn from your experiences adds as well. Positivity is about looking at the bright side of the cards you have been dealt, but also learning from those cards and how they can yield you even more positive results in the future!

I hope you learned a thing or two about the article above, feel free to leave questions in the comments and we will respond to them accordingly!


Tom VijgenboomComment