life in general

Postby nocturnal91 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:22 am

Hi,

so what I am about to write about has been happening for about 9 years and was never really aware of it until now. I can not doing any task well, or at least I thought I wasn't able to. I could put a lot of practice into a skill or my job and wouldn't feel or perform consistently like everyone else. I could try and try and learn quite a good deal about whatever it was but get no where. But here is the thing, I would purposely be bad at it and it has become such a habit that I didn't know what was happening. It started when I was in high school where I would do something well such as a computer game, beat my friends then they would make excuses at why they lost.

For instance, they would say I was "lucky" or something along those lines. I would hear excuses over and over again and it tore me down and I gave in, so I started to let them win so they wouldn't call me names and such. Thinking back to those times, it was a HUGE deal to me. I really cared what my friends or others thought of me and if I'm being honest that never wen't away. I thought about this a great deal and I know for a fact that this isn't my ego and I'm not trying to sound like I know everything but it was true. I did grasp a lot of things I liked very quickly. But I guess the same goes for everyone when they enjoy something.

So with all this being said, I no longer gain confidence like I used to, back when I was 20 years old. I used to be able to get it by repetition, doing a task over and over again. My thought process now isn't as simple and will not allow me to get any confidence at all so I know this has to change.

At this point in time, I will do a task such as play video games, do something well, overthink whatever I had done and just brush it off as luck or say something such as I'm a bad player... It sounds very petty and I know but this applies to almost every aspect of my life. Simple tasks. I hate when I hear excuses but I think what is happening isn't any excuse anymore. This is real for me.

My confidence:

repetition of a task > Something goes well > overthink > performance decreases

This is how I visualise it, and it will happen over and over again. I hope this makes sense to whoever reads this. I thought I just need to be more positive but it isn't as simple, at least to me. Reassurance to me never helps. I'm sick and tired of being the same way everyday, I'm not enjoying life anymore living the same way. It has taken me a while to get to this point so any questions you may have for me I hopefully answer them. Thank you very much.

Yours sincerely,

nocturnal91
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:25 am

repetition of a task > Something goes well > overthink > performance decreases

It is a common error to believe performance will consistently increase with repetition of a task.

Repetition > performance increase > positive thoughts (reward) > performance decreases OR
Repetition > performance increases > negative thoughts (punishment) > performance decreases

Notice...regardless of a positive or negative thought pattern, performance decreases. How is that possible?

What people fail to account for, which has led to many problems in learning, is understanding that over time performance will “regress to the mean” regardless of the way you reinforce the learning.

Example: Your average score on a video game is 1000 points. You started at 500, but with repetition your average is now 1000. You are better than most players. You then have a game where you hit 1200 points. Great! People give you a hard time, tell you it is luck, etc. You experience negative thoughts. The next game you score only 900. You blame your thoughts, but reality is all that is happening is your score of 1200 was well above your average, therefore you regressed to your average, you regressed to the mean. You seek a cause as “overthink” when the actual cause is just normal statistical realities.

When you are learning anything new, repetition allows you to quickly go from 500, to 600, to 700, but with most things there are plateaus, upper limits where we level off for periods of time. You hit 1000, you continue to play, but are not making the progress you would like. You are not experiencing the “feel good” acceleration of getting to 1100 or 1200 on a regular basis. It feels not so good to no longer be making the same gains, so you search for a cause. In your case you select “overthink” as the cause for a decrease in performance, but really it is nothing more than regression to the mean.

The evidence is in the observation that friends would not be giving you a hard time and saying you are “lucky” if all that was taking place is you hitting the average. It is the above average performance that comes with social ribbing that you are lucky. And statistically that will have much more truth than any actual decrease in your legitimate skill level.
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#2

Postby nocturnal91 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:09 pm

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:repetition of a task > Something goes well > overthink > performance decreases

It is a common error to believe performance will consistently increase with repetition of a task.

Repetition > performance increase > positive thoughts (reward) > performance decreases OR
Repetition > performance increases > negative thoughts (punishment) > performance decreases

Notice...regardless of a positive or negative thought pattern, performance decreases. How is that possible?

What people fail to account for, which has led to many problems in learning, is understanding that over time performance will “regress to the mean” regardless of the way you reinforce the learning.



I do agree with this. I know you can only get so far with repetition and that overtime you will have ups and downs. The amount of positive or negative feedback received by peers shouldn't affect the players performance because at the end, they will regress to their average state.

So with this knowledge, what about confidence? How can I gain confidence in the things I enjoy? Putting performance aside I would think confidence is something that comes naturally alongside with repetition right? At least a small amount. Again, putting performance aside and knowing that it is extremely hard to consistently do well in something, you should start to believe in your ability and what you can do? This is what I am struggling with. If I don't believe in me then who will right? If I am not able believe in my ability to do well or become successful then am I really going to get anywhere? I don't think so.

(new) My confidence:

Repetition > performance increase > CONFIDENCE decreases > performance decreases OR
Repetition > performance increases > negative thoughts (punishment) > CONFIDENCE decreases > performance decreases

I don't understand how I can get confidence in anything, you know what I mean? Regardless of my situation I'm not able to win. I didn't explain myself well before. I have never heard of "regression to the mean" before so I did a quick google search and did learn something, thank you.
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#3

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Fri Apr 19, 2019 2:44 am

Confidence is a tricky subject, because it is a psychological construct rather than some objective, material reality.

On certain things you are extremely confident. You are so confident in fact, that you do not even question your confidence in the least. You assume you are correct about X or Y. Or, if you do not assume, you believe X or Y is so irrelevant to your life that having high or low confidence is equally irrelevant.

For instance, how confident are you that Versaille is the capital of France? Regardless of how confident, the consequences for being incorrect are negligible. You don’t care.

We do build confidence via repetition, via exposure to the unknown and converting it to the known. So, you are on the correct track. But, confidence does not equal consequence. It is not enough to be confident, we want to be confident in those areas where the perceived consequences are high.

And where consequences are high, we also want to avoid overconfidence. Therefore, the critical element here is not really confidence as much as percevied consequences. If consequences are high, you need to have confidence that is aligned with your actual ability. Not too high, not too low.

For example, if you have never operated a power saw it is a great thing your confidence is low. It is also good that your confidence is not too high and you get careless, thinking your ability to be better than it actually is. That is how people get hurt.

Given the above, my advice is to shift your focus away from the term confidence and start focusing on the term consequence. What are the real consequences of people “ribbing you” or saying you got lucky?

You say it lowers your confidence which subsequently lowers performance. Well, does it matter? What is the real consequence of learning how to navigate social pressure? Might it be a positive thing to learn how to ignore irrelevant noise? Might it be a good thing that you practice dealing with social pressure when consequences are low, like underperforming on a video game?

In other words, you should invite your friends to insult and demean and disparage your performance. Why? Because they are your friends and it is in a safe environment when consequences are low. It is repetition that then helps you learn how to navigate a situation when consequences are high.

High consequences are a relative term, but let’s assume for a second that winning the World Cup with a penalty kick is “high consequence.” Obviously in life there are many things of greater consequence, but for purposes of discussion it serves the point.

Now, the goal tender grew up in an environment where his friends never insulted him, demeaned him, told him he was lucky, etc. In low level games of no consequence the goal tender was treated with kindness so his confidence could grow...right? But, now it is the big game and the crowd is yelling, the insults are heavy, the noise grows.

Opposite the goal tender is the kicker. He grew up in an environment where everyone regularly gave jabs back and forth, throwing out insults, but in the spirit of recognition that the consequences were actually low. It was intense, but it was a low level home game. The kicker, learned to give as good as he got. The kicker learned to get inside the head of the other team.

Now consequences are high. It is for the World Cup. Who is ready, who is better prepared, who is most likely to achieve their goal, the goal tender or the kicker?

Point being, the way you build confidence is through repetition. But, reaching higher levels of performance means scaffolding the consequences, increasing the difficulty.

Applied to video games it isn’t just about the raw score of 1000 points. It is about developing the ability to score 1000 while under pressure. It is about embracing and even inviting friends to give you a hard time, to help prepare you for when consequences actually are relevant.
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#4

Postby nocturnal91 » Sat Apr 20, 2019 2:11 am

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:Now consequences are high. It is for the World Cup. Who is ready, who is better prepared, who is most likely to achieve their goal, the goal tender or the kicker?

Point being, the way you build confidence is through repetition. But, reaching higher levels of performance means scaffolding the consequences, increasing the difficulty.

Applied to video games it isn’t just about the raw score of 1000 points. It is about developing the ability to score 1000 while under pressure. It is about embracing and even inviting friends to give you a hard time, to help prepare you for when consequences actually are relevant.


I never thought of it like this. Let's say for instance that I did embrace friends or colleagues giving me a hard time. How would I go about that? What I currently do is just ignore whatever is happening. What I mean by ignore is just listen to what they say and don't pay much attention but it gets to a point where I hear it a lot and then I start to question what I'm doing, if I'm doing it right or if I am wasting my time. I would be unsure of myself which isn't comfortable. My colleagues and or friends would possibly think I was stupid, as a consequence. I have no proof of this but its a hypothetical.

How does someone deal social ribbing? You seem to know a lot about this. Is there something you say to yourself or something you do in the moment? When insults are coming at me it feels different to what it is now. Right now it is very easy for me to say that the consequences of the insults are equal to nothing, they don't mean sh**. However, when I'm there it is a totally different story. I guess I never really understood the consequences.

Thank you very much.
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#5

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Sat Apr 20, 2019 9:10 am

nocturnal91 wrote:How does someone deal social ribbing?


Pretty much the same way we learn to deal with most things, we get out of our comfort zone and practice. If you grew up in a family where ribbing was the norm, then you would have an advantage when facing it in a competitive environment, e.g. video games. But, this doesn’t mean you can’t develop the ability.

How do politicians become so thick skinned? What makes them resilient when the attacks are personal or vindictive? The answer is practice. They started off in low level politics and moved up, learning and adjusting along the way.

We don’t grow if we hide or do not face what is challenging us, but at the same time this doesn’t mean exposing yourself to risks you are not prepared to face. In education there is a concept called scaffolding. This is where you set goals that are not too easy, but not too hard. You progress, you grow by taking a few steps out of your comfort zone, adjusting, learning, and then taking a few more steps.

In your case, deliberately expose yourself to situations where in a safe environment friends will give you a hard time. You have already stated that you recognize the consequences are low. Enjoy, have fun with it. Test yourself.
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#6

Postby laureat » Tue Apr 23, 2019 6:27 am

if you are competing in a tournament of a game you should understand that there is only one person who can win it but that does not make the rest of the gamers worthless even though that could be how they feel because they didn't win the tournament

how do you approach the game? what is motivating you? what are you expecting from? these are just some questions behind your approach to the game and your confidence could be shaky because your approach is shaky

one moment you may believe you are the best player in the world and you get focused and play good but than you lose a game and your hopes to be the best are no more and your focus gets shaky
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