Learn from your loss, but also your VICTORY!

Well, good news for the Org, victory was accomplished in a recent Super Street Fighter 4 tournament.  Unfortunately, the attendance was half of the previous one, but hey, money in my pocket and experience earned.  Level up!  I do not wish to be unsportsmanlike, but to be perfectly honest, most of this tournament was easier than I thought it would be (I stress the "most," some of it was downright terrifying).  Therefore, rather than comment on each of my matches like I did last time, I'm gonna talk about what I learned overall from the experience.
 The biggest lesson: do not lose.  It is against your interests.  You'd think this is obvious, and it certainly is on paper.  If one never loses, one will eventually win the whole thing.  What I didn't realize was how big a difference this made.  I'm used to losing in things that matter.  I'm uncomfortable in good positions in real life.  If I receive praise, promotion, reward, etc., inevitably I soon end up doing something that negates the whole thing, acting out my subconscious feeling that I do not deserve success in anything, ever.  As such, I expect it when I lose somewhere and it is only then that I really become aware of the situation.
Is it really necessary that I have a loss in double-elimination before it really hits me where I am?  It shouldn't, and the results of yesterday certainly drive it home.  I wanted to scout out who my upcoming competition would be, so I checked the brackets for the tournament.  Since I was there, I also wanted to check how many more rounds there would be (I like to mentally manage myself for the time I'll have to endure any type of stress).  At the time, I found that if I kept winning, I would only have 2 matches left to play.  When I looked over at the loser's bracket, I found it much more crowded, and I'd have to win 3 more matches just to get back in the game (meaning the finals, but "back in the game" was in my mind).
Consider this.  If I won the following match, I'd only have 1 more (the finals) and I'd be in the clear for victory.  If I lost, I'd have to win 3 more to get into the final, and on top of that I'd have to win 2 sets (with the top of the winner's bracket having not yet been eliminated), making for 5 total match I'd have to win if I just lost that upcoming match.  Which would I rather have: a struggle of 5 more matches or 1 cushy match (I'd still fight on again if I lost) with lots of time to relax while the others fought it out?  It's not a difficult decision.
I have tasted victory, and it is a comfortable place if I am willing to accept it as such.  I have to fight for it, it is far easier to win by winning than struggle despite losses.  The underlying truth to this whole lecture is this: treat every match as important, because they all really are.  When outside of a formal competition, it doesn't matter if you lose as long as you learn.  When in formal competition, play to win, play for blood, and it ABSOLUTELY MATTERS if you lose!

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