Being Competitive and Having Fun
Anyone who knows me probably knows that I'm very competitive. I like to win and any game I touch I want to be the best at. There's nothing inherently wrong with that but it does become a problem when winning becomes the only goal or reason for playing a game.
There was a time when I was a really sore loser and I didn't have fun if I didn't win. I chose to learn nothing from losing and instead blaming it on dumb luck. Being constantly upset about losing not only makes the gameplay experience miserable for you, it also makes it miserable for those playing with or against you. It makes it so no one has fun.
While I still have my salty moments, I like to hope I've grown a lot since my sore losing days. When I got really into Starcraft I learned the value of analyzing losses and see what exactly I did wrong. There's very little luck in Starcraft so there was no room for me to blame anything on luck. If I lost, it was my fault. I was never any good at Starcraft, but those principles I learned carried other when I got into Magic competitively.
When I first picked up playing Magic I got into the competitive aspect pretty quickly. I worked hard building decks that I thought were good, practiced a lot, and then got upset when I got bad luck and lost. Unlike Starcraft, Magic is a high variance game. There is a lot of skill involved, but there are also times when you just get some bad luck and lose for no apparent reason. Again, I made the mistake of prioritizing winning over everything else and learning little to nothing when I lost.
I stopped playing for about a year and when I picked it back up, I learned that in games with any amount of variance, bad luck just happens. When it does, it's important to learn what you can from the loss and just say "oh well, it happens".
One of my favourite Magic players, Luis Scott Vargas, recently had a horrible string of luck where he played in 2-3 of the Pro Tours where he didn't even come close to making day 2 of the tournament. Even the best players suffer from the same bad luck as everyone else.
It's important in any game you play, that you make having fun the top priority while trying to win. You can still be competitive and not win all the time. Unless your job is playing a sport or a game, then winnin doesn't matter as much as the experience.
In closing, I played a tournament this weekend and my last round before the cut to top 8 I was beaten by someone much younger than me. And as I packing my stuff up to leave he said "I don't care if I don't make top 8, I'm happy with how I did today." And that's the attitude I want to have. No matter my win percentage, I want to be sure that I play the best I can.