5 Skills You Must Develop to Succeed

by Chapman Sim on 19 May 2017, Friday

Chapman Sim

5 Skills You Must Develop to Succeed

Everyone wants to succeed in whatever they do and this applies not only to Magic but to life as well. While there are many life skills that can help you achieve your goals, not everyone is aware of what the most important things are. 


#1: Be In Control Of Your Time



This is all about time management. Working smarter instead of working harder is an ancient adage but the gist of it is really to do more work and to achieve a greater effect with less time. In general, I try to complete most important tasks first, before I move on to the less important tasks. Identifying what is urgent and what is important is crucial, since decisions like these often strike you on a daily basis.


If succeeding in Magic is important to you, then you need to proactively take steps to manage your time in a way that it doesn't impede on other aspects of your life. Since we all only have 24 hours in a day, allocating your time to be used in the most efficient way is of utmost importance.


One example I always cite is how players often visit local game stores for tournaments, thinking that simply being at the store means you're being exposed to Magic and improving. 


While it is a great social activity and I personally enjoy it greatly myself, it really isn't a very effective way to hone your play skills. First and foremost, tournaments consume a lot of time and a lot of precious minutes are lost to overtime and in between rounds. Typically, you play only 3 - 5 rounds every Friday Night Magic, and at a PPTQ or GPT you only wind up playing 6 - 9 rounds even if you end up making it to the finals. For that block of 12 hours, you could have crunched up a few dailies or leagues on Magic Online.


We don't have a Perpetual Timepiece, so we need to manage our limited minutes.


It is a little like going to the gym but spending most of your time hanging out at the drinking fountain. Of course, if you're there for relaxation and recreation, hanging out with your friends at these tournaments are a great way to catch up on life, buy or trade some cards, exchange quick pointers and findings, and to play a little Magic, but it is not the best way to improve.


Practicing with your friends face to face is a great alternative to actually participating in smaller tournaments, since it will usually net you more games within the same time frame. However, if you need byes for an upcoming Grand Prix or if you need an invite to the RPTQ, feel free to join in the tournament, but if you're not intending to go to a Grand Prix or an RPTQ anytime soon, you might be better off sitting down with some friends and putting in more games and make use of precious time, or simply put in more games on Magic Online.




#2: Be a Team Player


The biggest success stories are rarely people who keep to themselves and work alone. Talented as you might be, it is always better to work with others, especially if you acknowledge that there are players who are better than you.


It might be a good feeling to always be the best players from among your group, but if that stays true for a long period of time, then it simply means you've hit a ceiling. This is why it is always wise to associate yourself with players who are better than yourself and learn from them with a humble attitude. I would very much prefer to be the worse player in a team than to be the best, because it simply means I have a lot to learn and for this reason I am very happy to have found Team MTG Mint Card who has helped me improve tremendously over the years.


Team MTG Mint Card at Grand Prix Brisbane


Working well as a team includes taking criticism well, creating an atmosphere of trust, having a sense of belonging, cooperation, information exchange, and more. The best players in Magic, and the most successful people in life, have often got to where they are with the help of others and more often than not these are also the people who are the most willing to help others, because they aren't selfish and want to help you succeed.


For example, despite being competitors with me in some prior seasons, Kelvin Chew has not once withheld information or hesistated to give me the best advice he can. Yes, there has been times where the National Champion race has been tight, but he never stopped helping me when I asked for help. He would share with me his findings from all the games he put in on Magic Online. He would tell me the best color combinations to draft. He would tell me that my deck is bad and to consider picking another one, rather than let me march into battle with a blunt sword.


Being a good teammate to others is also one of the reasons that Kelvin is so successful today. His willingness to help others naturally means that others are always glad to reciprocate the kindness and today, he is one of the best players in the world. Yet, he continues to credit his success to players like Lee Shi Tian, Jason Chung, Zen Takahashi, Huang Hao-Shan, Eduardo Sajgalik as well as members of their fellow playtesting team MTG Bent Card.




#3: Be Proactive



Being proactive is the number "habit of highly effective people", a book by Stephen Covey which has sold over 25 million copies worldwide. I wrote a similar article about 7 Habits of Highly Effective Magic Player about one and a half year ago and I encourage you to check it out if you are willing to spare me the time and the honor. Even better, grab a copy of the book and you'll feel more inspired about your goals than ever before.


Being proactive is a state of mind for me, a constant reminder that I need to do something in order to succeed. It is a great feeling to laze around and do nothing, but quite honestly that is not going to get you anywhere in life. The same is true for Magic. Do you actively seek out ways to improve? Do you encourage yourself to play a few more games of Magic Online before logging off, just to get more practice in? Do you actively read articles and learn from the pros? With so many resources at your disposal in an information era like the one we live in, you always have the ability to seek the knowledge you need...


... provided that you're being proactive!




#4: Be Courageous


Once you've decided to be proactive, you also need to find strength inside of you. One of the things about Magic and about life you need to understand is that things don't always go your way, and that's perfectly normal. Accepting that life is full of ups and down is one of the first realizations for you to embrace the future and find courage to strive for what you believe in.


Nobody succeeeds in Magic or in life by random chance. They consciously and proactively seek ways to improve and once they've honed their skills, the next most important step is to jump. Make the decision and commitment to set time aside, to prioritize the things you want. And then, once you know for sure that this is what you want, you need to just be courageous and take the leap of faith. Nobody ever learned how to swim by reading a book and doing research, they have to pluck up their courage and dive into the pool at some point and this is exactly what you need to be doing if you want to succeed.


I know most of my teammates have done that. It is not an easy decision to step out of your home or your warm bed and get out of your comfort zone. There is no guarantee that we will have good results at the next Grand Prix, and yet we still book our tickets and go. There is no guarantee that we will win the next RPTQ, but that shouldn't stop you from grinding the PPTQs. There is no guarantee that you'll topdeck the winning card you need, but you need to stay strong, stay focused, and stay alive in your match because you never know whether hope is gone.


Having the heart of a (Silvercoat) Lion is very important.


Having the heart of a lion is a common characteristic for all successful people. Nobody ever succeeded by being timid and being scared of failure. There is no promise that you'll succeed if you try, but I promise you that you'll never succeed if you don't try.


"Try Everything", a song by Shakira and the theme song of Zootopia, is one of my favorite songs and I always listen to it when I need a little boost.





#5: Don't Quit


Once you've identified your goals and started to work towards it, the next step is not to quit. Rest if you must, but after the respite you should be ready to fight again. I don't really have any examples related to Magic, but I do know that a lot of people fail to follow through with that they've decided to do in their life. Sometimes, life throws you a curveball and wrests you away from your intended path. Sometimes, bad things happen to you and all you want to do is to sigh even though you know you should be smiling.


The point is that, nobody ever suceeded by quitting. Often, people are nearer to their goal than they imagine but if the struggler has given up when he might have captured the victory in the next few steps. There is also a saying that "it's when things seem the worst that you must not quit", because you might just be really close to your target.


Unless you've determined that a particular goal is no longer important or relevant to you, you should definitely keep going. 




Thanks for reading, like always. I hope that together we will work hard to reach our goals, no matter if they are related to Magic or related to your lives! Hang in there, and you'll eventually find the things you were looking for.



The Traveling Philosopher,

Chapman Sim

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