Stop Qualifying Your Wins
So let’s say you’re in between rounds at FNM or a PPTQ. You run into a friend who asks how your last match went.
“I got it 2-0,” you say. “My opponent mulled to five in game two.”
Or maybe you faced a less experienced opponent, and your response is something along the lines of, “Ah yeah, I played a newb and crushed him 2-0.”
Either way, what you’ve said is true. Variance is a thing, and we can’t control who we’re matched up against – we can only focus on beating whoever is sitting across from us.
We’ve all made similar responses at some point or another (myself included), but as true as they may be, you’re making a big mistake by saying these types of statements. Why?
Because you’re qualifying your wins – and that’s NOT a good thing.
In this context, qualifying is defined as lessening the significance of something. In the examples above, you’re basically saying, “yeah, I won, but only because my opponent was mana screwed/inexperienced.”
You’re discrediting yourself and the efforts you put forth before and during the match to come out victorious. Simply put. you’re making excuses for your wins.
Yes, you need to be honest about your wins and losses when evaluating yourself as a player and making assessments about your deck. But not all wins are going to be the hardest-fought ones we dream about.
Sometimes you’re going to win against someone less experienced, but that means that you put the work in to gain the experience your opponent doesn’t yet have.
Sometimes you’re going to win due to your opponent having bad variance – but maybe they mulliganed improperly or didn’t shuffle well. Either way, you still kept a hand that you needed to win the game and you played well enough to win, and you need to take credit for that.
It also works the other way
What’s worse than discrediting your wins? Qualifying your losses and draws. You know what I’m talking about.
“Well, if I drew anything but a land I would have won.”
“We wouldn’t have drew if I had one more turn.”
“If I would have hit my land drop on turn 4 it was game over.”
Save the excuses and accept the loss. Losing is the same, regardless of whether you were mana-screwed or were simply outplayed.
It’s not uncommon to want to qualify a loss or draw. It’s a way of coping with a loss when you’re feeling bad about it. In this case, it’s always helpful to think of what you could have done differently to achieve a different outcome, rather than sulk in your bad luck.
When you properly reflect on your losses and draws that seemingly came down to bad luck, you’ll be surprised by how often you find something that you could have done differently.
And when you do that, you’re actually planting the seeds for improvement.
Do you make excuses for your losses? Do you make a habit of qualifying your wins when they come easy? If so, tell us about it by replying to this email or by posting on the MTG Pro Tutor Facebook page.
Remember – make progress, not excuses.
Thanks for reading.
– Jeff Sheerin, MTG Pro Tutor Scribe
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