Tuesday, July 29, 2014

On Tilt: Find New Habits

All last week, I explored the concept of tilt. First, I discussed the origin of the term tilt and how it moved from pinball to Poker to Magic the Gathering.  Next, I summarized some of my own struggles with tilt. Finally, I discussed some new ways of thinking about tilt that I found helpful. Today, I want to finish by examining some habits that can help address tilt.

I ended my last post with the statement that knowledge alone is rarely enough to change behavior. As human beings, we can recognize when certain behavior patterns are destructive or irrational, but this recognition alone is rarely sufficient to bring about change. What is needed is to develop new habits.

Imagine trying to change the course of a small creek. One simply cannot dig a new channel and hope for the best. You must dam up the water, create a new course for the water to run, and make sure the water will correctly transition to the newly dug channel. In the same way, when it comes to changing behavior, one must not only awkwardly practice new habits, but one must work hard to block the old patterns of behavior until the transition to the new behavior becomes habitual.

So here are some actions that I have found helpful in address tilt:

1. Recognize when you are tilting. Tilt is most dangerous when it is unrecognized. Learn to recognize your own body cues that signal this aggressive shift in your emotions. Maybe it's a rise in your internal temperature, an inability to focus your thoughts, or even a simmering rage like I typically experience. Whatever the symptom, if you have any chance of avoiding the pitfalls of tilt, you have to clearly identify when your mental balance is being pushed upon. Heed the warning, stop "nudging" the table, and take the next step.

2. Refocus your thoughts and emotions. Once your recognize the danger signs, you've got to stop what you're doing and refocus. Step away for a moment. Take several deep breaths. In between games, you can even get up, walk outside for a moment, listen to a song on the Internet, or almost anything that helps you relax, refocus, and push back against your rising emotions.

3. Come back to the game. At some point, you've got to come back to the game. In the middle of an event or a tournament, you may not have the freedom to simply walk away and take as much time as needed to get your emotions back in check. In the short term, force yourself to rethink your play without making snap decisions. Don't rely on your instincts, especially since what probably comes most naturally is to drift right back into tilt. Slow down, put what's already happened behind you, and focus on the reason why you're playing the game in the first place.

I still have a long way to go before I feel like I have mastered my own struggles with tilt. But with these actions slowly but surely becoming habitual in my life, I have seen progress.

What about you, my readers? Have you struggled with tilt? If so, what have you found helps? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading.

Next time, I'll be back with an annoying Magic Online bug and what you can do to make sure it gets fixed.

No comments:

Post a Comment