Thanks to Robin Hood: Men in Tights and Mel Brooks for this wonderful clip!
One of the primary reasons I have avoided PvP in the past is the fear of losing. As we grow, losing at an endeavor becomes less and less appealing, especially in a public forum. Let’s explore how fear of losing a game, and suffering ridicule as a result, keeps many gamers from engaging in PvP video game play.
Failure While Young
As a child failure was viewed differently. There was very little social consequence for failing. The majority opinion was that failing was part of learning as a child. The experience gave rise to a willingness to fail and not worry about societal consequences.
In most cases others were thinking that childhood failures were cute! The face plants while trying to walk, and the gibberish while trying to talk, must have been very endearing. Not only was failure comfortable as a young child, but societal structure was comfortable with childhood foibles.
This lack of expectation of perfection allowed growth as a child. Childhood consisted of learning how to grow up through trial and error, mostly error. The ability to fail with limited ramifications allowed unchecked growth.
Failure as an Adolescent
The school years changed things. Expectations by adults of good behavior and grades in school gave success as a student. Not so much as an athlete. Physical coordination and fitness never being a strong suit, success in athletic endeavors was elusive. One outlet success was found in was video games.
Unfortunately a new reality of life presented itself at this time, peer evaluation. Among adolescents, success at school was not considered worthy. Physical success was considered much more valuable to the adolescent mind. Adolescence brought awareness that peers did not favorably view academic accomplishments. Adults pressured for academic excellence, but the peer group saw those accomplishments as sign of a loser.
In adolescence public failure became a situation to be avoided at nearly any cost. The approval of the cohort was critical. Without access to skills found valuable by the cohort, approval was elusive. Lost was the perspective of failure as a necessary ingredient for growth.
A side effect of adolescence can be the “if you can’t beat em, join em” mindset. Even though popularity was never a problem, criticism of self and others still became a pattern. A crtical nature can often be a side effect of adolescence.
Video games became one source for success. Being competitive in playing video games gave needed confidence. However, games at this time were mostly solo endeavors. So any repeated video game failures were private failures. (Stupid Mario, you were supposed to jump there! Controller must have malfunctioned!)
Gaming as an Adult
As an adult influences of childhood and adolescence often linger. Habits learned in adolescence to avoid public failure and ridicule must be challenged as to their use in an adult. Gaming has become a public forum now. Mistakes as a new player can engender extreme responses in some of the more toxic game communities, and peer ridicule can be off the chart.
As an adult we can choose what we want to play, and commit our time to, in ways kids cannot. However, this freedom makes it easy for us to play the “sour grapes” card. It is easier for example to say that “PvP gaming sucks and that’s why I don’t play it.” than it is to say “I avoid PvP because I am afraid of the failure and ridicule that growing in a public game will require.”
For many the idea of jumping into a potentially hostile experience, with the sure knowledge that you are going to fail before you succeed, is frightening. Justification for avoiding super competitive PvP games was built over years, but the truth was that fear of failing at a game and the ridicule that could follow, was the real barrier to play.
Ways to Address Fear of Failing in PvP
Realize that failure is necessary for learning. You cannot become skilled at any endeavor in this world without first feeling some failure in relation to that skill. Failure is education in disguise!
When playing these games, compete with yourself more than you compete with the other players. If you want to excel at a chosen game, compete with yourself. Every time you play a game look to improve on your last time playing. Look for inspiration from others, but make you your biggest competitor.
Realize that failure is part of learning and push through the fear to grasp onto the experience. This is true in life as well as PvP video gaming!
Find a smaller group to play with. If you find friends to group with, hopefully they will be more supportive than the random ass hat trolls that can be on these games. Look for good voices to help you on your gaming trip.
Finally, and most important, learn to mute the chat and voice channels. Turn off the toxic voices that want to take away from your enjoyment of the gaming experience, win or lose.