The Work-Confidence-Success Paradigm

March 1, 2016

Joel Calafell

Spanish Player
Top 8 PT Kuala Lampur 2008
3 GP Top 8s
Winner GP Barcelona 2009

More Posts (7)

Welcome again Everyone!

Becoming more successful is something that can take a lot of time, effort and motivation. It’s not just something that happens on its own.

Today I will share with you all the important things that are integral for success and will explain how each component can guarantee you some important wins. As it happens, everything can be summarized in a single equation: hard work, confidence and success.

Are you are already working hard and still not seeing results? Then there’s something you might be doing wrong…

Start paying attention and follow my advice!

1) Listen to more experienced players first

Don’t fall into the “I don’t like this list at all” pattern or “I think this draft pick was just stupid” trap. Always bear in mind that the most experienced players tend to do things for a reason, so it’s worth spending the time to check if they were right before dismissing all of their work.

Have you ever started testing a deck just to find, after weeks of playing, that your ideas and list ended up being almost identical to the ones you saw in an article or in a tournament final you were criticizing?

Seriously. Try it first, doubt it later.

2) Trust yourself… even if you shouldn’t!

Being confident and trusting oneself is vital for achieving success although that’s not the only way to get there.

The Work-Success-Confidence sequence seems to be the most logical path to winning. Take a player with minimal aspirations but who has been testing for countless hours and days and then wins a PTQ, or manages to get into the top 8 of a Grand Prix or a Pro Tour. In this case, work catapulted him into success but as a result of his win his confidence began to grow and he started believing. And do you know what? Once you start believing, your next win could be just around the corner.

But what happens when you have practiced, played and learned and are still unable to win? How can you remain motivated? You will simply need to start believing in what you do. It might be hard because people will question your thoughts and ideas when you don’t have good results to support them. You will also doubt yourself and dismiss your ideas initially, but this is something that will give you an edge. Once you start trusting yourself, others will start to respect you more as well, helping you to grow more confident and eventually win more. Welcome to the confidence flow!

3) Don’t be overly confident

Already experiencing success? It’s easy to think that you are overly-deserving at your next tournament which will lead you to ignore and forget everything that helped you achieve your last success.

Unfortunately, this happens far too much and people are just not aware of what they are doing. They ignore advice given to them and participate in their next tournament with the exact same mentality.

In this case, experience or past success doesn’t even matter: without the proper work and understanding of a format, any results you might get will come just by luck, and you should always bear this in mind.

Despite achieving a high level of confidence, you still need to work hard before every tournament. In my opinion, there are two types of confidence:

General confidence, which will help you to trust your ideas and your gut but won’t result in greater wins unless you practice.

And then there is specific confidence within a format, which you should work on before every tournament and which should help your general confidence to grow.

4) Experience is the name of the game

Long-term success cannot be understood without the experience and intuition a good player develops over time.

This is true both when designing new decks, draft strategies or different plays, as well as in situations where you need to make a decision in a tournament but are missing certain information or haven’t had enough time to gather it. In these situations, intuition, experience and general confidence go a long way.

If you think about it, tournaments like PTQs, and especially Grand Prix or Pro Tours, are really long tournaments and you will need to make a lot of decisions in difficult situations if you want to do well or win. Do you really think these decisions can be made by pure logic? In my opinion, some of these decisions are so close and difficult that trusting your gut will be the real difference between a big win and a mediocre finish.

5) Building your personality

As you can see, building a strong and confident personality, without arrogance, is the major way to success. Yes, with proper preparation you should go to every tournament thinking that you will win it because you intend to play well and your deck is the best, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to think you are the best player in the room.

Moreover, what differentiates good players from great players is the ability to admit their mistakes after a bad tournament without it impacting their general confidence.

Joel Calafell

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