I look at some events in my past and there’s something striking: sometimes I win and it means a lot to me, sometimes I lose and this means pretty much nothing. Why the two?
I realized that there were some different kind of situations:
- There was a game – Prince of Persia and I wanted to see all the levels, to play everything, but I didn’t care all that much. You had 60 minutes to finish the game start-to-end, so, in the end, you would get to know the first levels very well, the following ones less so, and so on. But I never finished the game without using cheat codes. Yes, I’ve finished the game due to curiosity, but I didn’t care all that much in finishing the game start-to-finish.
- There was another game – Quarantine – which took quite some time for me to finish start-to-end. When I gave the game to a friend, he told me he finished it very quickly, in a few days, or a week, something like that. It now occurred to me that I didn’t care all that much. Sure, my friend was better than me at video games. So, what? :)
- At school, there were some things it was worth investing time in (important exams, for example; I mostly had very good results at the most important exams in my life), and some other things less-than-important (private lessons to learn some specific subject; I put very little emphasis at being a top student at those lessons).
- At work, there were times where I had to shine (a job in London for ~1 year), and jobs at which I preferred to learn a lot of things (a job in WordPress, where I mostly learned new things), or to come up with better solutions to do a job (a job for which I came up with a procedure which helped a lot in reducing the time required for some actions).
- In hobbies, like drawing, I mostly fool around. But when I had to paint an icon for school, it was considered one of the best in class. When I had to due a map for a project, it was one of the best made.
There’s a difference between enjoying the moment and wishing to win:
- At games, I mostly enjoyed the process than winning. Sure, winning is fine, but I didn’t care all that much, most of the time.
- There are some exams which matter a lot, and some exams which matter much less. If I enjoy the process and risk only a little, I can jeopardize an exam, just to try & feel good.
- Even in work, there are jobs in which you need to perform, and jobs for which you can focus on learning, or improving the process.
It’s great if you can win all the time. But, second-best, if you can win where it really matters, that’s a good allocation of resources.