Thought Control
eSports coaching & training


Take your game to the next level: a positive mindset

“Having the right mind-set is everything”, “You just didn’t have the right mind-set”, “it’s all about maintaining that mind-set”.

A mind-set is a term that’s being thrown around quite heavily in both the regular scene as well as the pro scene even in regular everyday life.
But what is this “mind-set”? What does it look like or how does it function, and why is it so “important”? In this article I'm going to elaborate on the theory behind mind-set and explain why they are so closely linked to one's performance and overal behavior.

The role our thoughts play.

Before we start exploring what a mind-set actually is I want to explain the role our “thoughts” have on our lives. One of the most commonly used psychological theories out there revolves around the RE(B)T (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, and what you do influences what you think and feel. There is a two way interaction between all of the three factors (thinking, feeling and doing). So if you feel like crap, you have a higher chance of thinking and behaving negatively as well and vice versa.

Now let’s go a step deeper. I just explained there is a two way interaction between all the factors. But where does the cycle start? Basically the cycle can start anywhere, but what tends to happen is that most of the time it starts with your thoughts. If I constantly think that I suck at the game, there is a good chance I will feel emotionally similar to what I'm thinking (as in crap). In turn this influences my behavior in a negative way and the cycle has a good chance of starting again in a similar fashion.

Source: Seligman, L., & Reichenberg, L. (2014).  Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy  (4th ed., pp. 40-110). Pearson Publishing.

Source: Seligman, L., & Reichenberg, L. (2014). Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy (4th ed., pp. 40-110). Pearson Publishing.

Now it's pretty hard to change genuine feelings directly, if not arguably even impossible (outside the use of prescriptions and other substances). And tackeling ones behaviors directly is quite challenging as well since they are often enforced by our own thoughts, or directly related to them. The most effective way to break this cycle and change it for the better is by focusing on the thoughts.

Positive mind-set.

This is where the theory behind a positive mind-set stems from. But why is a positive mind-set so important when you are trying to get better or keep on performing? Well like the earlier example of a more negative cycle, the same holds true for a positive one. Positive thinking leads to more pleasing emotions and in turn often leads to better results as well. And in turn if you perform well, your thoughts get reinforced again that everything is going fine thus starting the cycle again. 

"Well that's great and all, but sometimes despite your good mindset you can still end up with a losing streak. Shouldn't that lead to more negative thoughts and start a more negative spiral?"

In short: yes there is a chance that can happen. That's why a positive mind set is more than just thinking about nice or pleasant things. It revolves around looking at the given situation and take that which you can use to further yourself in a positive way. 

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 "positive" light on the not so great scenario and which one puts it in a "negative" spotlight?

You just lost the last 5 matches quite hard, your team was not performing at its best 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. 

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 option 3 adds that bit of self improvement. Taking the losses positively but also trying to learn something from them. This is the often overlooked part of staying positive. Negative often 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 event/game. Positive tries to add (+) something to your experience, and adding things can be done in 2 ways. "Ah well, better luck next time, atleast I had fun." views the experience from a positive perspective by not linking negative thoughts to the experience but thoughts like "better luck next time" "I had fun". The other way views positive as the adding a learning experience to it like in example 3. The "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 overal 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 mind-set improve your overall experiences while gaming, putting an emphasis on what you can learn from your experiences adds as well. Positivity is about looking on 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 try to respond to them accordingly!

Kind regards,
B.Sc. Tom Vijgenboom, Thought Control.

Disclaimer: The context of this article revolves around giving broad tips and food for thought around gaming and the use of mind-sets in association with normal gaming behavior. We do not provide personalised psychological advise or instructions through this article and the information provided here should not be viewed as such. We reconmend individuals that feel deeply struck by the content provided here to withhold from using its content directly, and if needed contact local healthcare professionals before using and/or experiment with.


Tom VijgenboomComment