The Natural Learning Process as an eAthlete (Pt. 2)

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In our previous post on The Natural Learning Process as an eAthlete (Pt. 1), we introduced the concept of Self 1 and Self 2. We explored the idea that Self 1 is made up of your ego and your active thinking mind. Where Self 1 comes from, and how it can be disrupting your performance. For The Natural Learning Process as an eAthlete (Pt.2) we will dig deeper into Self 2. Who Self 2 is, the power it possesses and how you can tap into it to improve as an eAthlete.

As you read through this blog post, I urge you to be open to the idea of the two selves. It is through acknowledging their existence and understanding them that you will achieve consistency and improved results. You just have to find your ability to trust something deep inside of you.

A Common Experience for an eAthlete

eSports, eAthlete

Lets imagine that you decide to play in a tournament. For all intents and purposes lets say you entered the tournament on a whim. You’ve been practicing, but the idea of being in the tournament didn’t cross your mind until the last minute.

First game is a little bit shaky, but who cares. You’re not expecting much out of this. You take the win and move on.

Second game is a breeze. You’re warmed up now, relaxed even, and you’re having a good time. You may even be surprised at how well you played. Prior to this you only checked the bracket to see when your next match was to be played. However, now you’re looking ahead in the bracket. “Okay, so If I win my next match then I have to play X. If I beat X then I get into the next bracket.”

Third game is really tight. You made a lot of mistakes that you know you shouldn’t be making. There were so many missed opportunities, and you allowed your opponents to control some of the match. You won, but just barely.

Now here are you are. Going against X to make it into the next bracket. You’re analyzing the match ahead of time. Telling yourself that you just need to win this one. Not to make the same mistakes you made last time. Although you want to win, you’re telling yourself not to lose. Before you even know it, the match is over. You’ve lost. How is this possible? You told yourself not to make the same mistakes. Played as safe as you possibly could, and even tried something you saw someone else do in the same situations.

So, Who is Self 2?

If Self 1 is the teller as described in our previous post. Then Self 2 is the do-erSelf 2 is the powerful entity inside of you that is able to learn, understand, and execute series of actions without you having to give any additional instruction. For example, logging into your game, selecting your character, movement, action buttons. All of those things now learned are executed without hesitation.

Navigating to this website and clicking this blog. Reading the words and comprehending them. All actions performed by Self 2. Our lives would not be what they are without this tremendous internal processing system. Every action we take would require some form of instruction. However because of the natural learning process, and Self 2’s ability to retain information, we can do amazing feats without thought.

If we use the example above, Self 2 is you in the first two matches. Calm and relaxed. Not expecting much. Just playing and allowing yourself to naturally adjust as needed. Even playing exceptional in the second match without having to try too hard. But by the third match, Self 1 starts to find it’s way back into the picture. Proud of what it believes is it’s work and the prospect of advancing in the tournament. It starts to wrestle control from Self 2. You start to make mistakes, play timidly and over all lose trust in your own ability. None of which was happening or important in the first two matches.

Playing Out Of Your Mind

the natural learning process of an eAthlete

Self 1 and Self 2 have to reach a level of harmony to achieve peak performance. This means that you have to stop the constant “ego-driven thinking” of Self 1 that interferes with Self 2’s natural capabilities. The only way to reach this harmony is when the mind is quiet and focused at the same time.

Have you ever played a game that you were so focused in that everything around you disappeared? When the game was over your mind is racing trying to remember exactly what it did. All the clutch and incredible plays. It’s almost like you blacked out and you’re trying to retrace your steps. Even though you acknowledged the incredible thing you did in the moment, it feels like you can’t see a mental image of it.

That is in essence the idea of playing out of your mind, or being in the zone. In previous posts we referred to it as a flow state. While you are in this state you’re not thinking about when or how to execute. You’re not thinking about the outcomes of your micro decisions and where they place you. Everything seems to happen properly without requiring any thought. There may be an awareness of the tactical situation or the effects of your actions,  but you just seem to know what you’re doing regardless of the outcome.

Listen to how D. T. Suzuki, a renowned Zen Master, describes the effects of the ego-mind on archery in his forward to Zen in the Art of Archery:

“As soon as we reflect, deliberate, and conceptualize, the original unconsciousness is lost and a thought interferes. . . . The arrow is off the string but does not fly straight to the target, nor does the target stand where it is. Calculation, which is miscalculation, sets in. . . .

Man is a thinking reed but his great works are done when he is not calculating and thinking. “Childlikeness” has to be restored . . .”

Wrap Up

Being able to tap into this Zone, or Flow State consistently is how we achieve consistent peak performance. It’s how the professionals manage to always be a step above everyone else. They can tap into this mode because of the harmony they achieve between Self 1 and Self 2 even if they aren’t aware of it. This is done through a lot of Self Trust, and allowing the Natural Learning Process as an eAthlete run it’s course.

In our next post we will rediscover the natural learning process. From quieting your Self 1 to communicating and eventually regaining trust with Self 2.

This video captures the idea of the two selves perfectly, here is Super Smash Bros. Melee professional Mango talking about a recent tournament win.

 

 

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