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Gaming Apathy In Esports (Flight Response):

Updated: Aug 16

🌟 What is apathy?

lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern. Indifference or numbness. Pessimism about the future. Emotional shutdown.

🌟What causes apathy?

Boredom, stuckness, lack of progress, failing again & again. It's all just too much, so we shutdown. Burnout warning sign.

🌟Why do we respond with apathy?

Self protective mechanism. Trying to avoid what's going on. By not paying attention to feeling not fulfilled, it hurts less. The hurt of feeling the disappointment is too much, so we shut down. It's our body's response to fear = Flight response.

🌟 How does the Flight response look like in gaming?

Escapism. Playing small, too passive, hiding out. Getting quiet, shutdowns. It builds stress / anxiety. Avoiding conflicts/confrontations. Tendency to people please & just follow, playing with blah/whatever/minimum energy, not really caring or not wanting to play at all. Maybe running from fights, hanging out back & avoiding making impact to not take on blame. Not really getting either a positive/negative mental reaction from good/bad things happening. Avoiding anything that'll make me feel. Autopilot.

🌟 Where is it common?

# Ranked: because there are so many things out of our control, we emotionally give up. We also tend to succumb to low-payoff behaviors like grindset/no goals/no proper practice or performance plan/etc. The less outcomes we get, the more stuck we feel, the more we want to give up.

# Pressure: feeling like the underdogs, either as a player in a new team or as a team against competitors. Too much pressure can make us shutdown emotionally, either because we don't know how to handle it or because we've tried so much we want to give up. After a hard loss, we tend to shutdown. Comms stop, we lose energy & momentum. I always say "when no one's talking, something is WRONG, people are in their heads too much". No response is the worst response.

🌟 What can we do about it?

# Recognize it's a choice - as hard as we may try, we definitely are feeling everything that we're trying to avoid, inside, but we choose to not express it & desensitize ourselves. Practice feeling the hurt to let it go. Running never works. The only way out is through. Apathy is an autopilot dream state - wake yourself up.

➡️ Que up only when you feel like it, don't just roll into the next game, take breaks. Playing because you're bored = low energy, low impact results. Apathy is how games die.

If you're a pro, use your time off to be away from your desk, share with your team what you're going through.

# See the things you're avoiding to change in your life & game - are you playing because you're bored? Do you have other sources of fulfillment?

➡️ The game cannot be the only thing in your life, your identity can't just be a gamer. Getting all of your life's satisfaction from the game makes you desperate. Desperation is a direct road to giving up --> apathy/Flight response. When possible, forget the game for a couple of days & go outside / practice a hobby / see friends or family / workout, just shake off the dust & come back to life. Give direction and meaning to your game & life.

# Trace apathy back to potential causes, like a major loss, disappointment, or personal setback. Identify what causes it, where it started, what changed? Did you become a pro & got so intense you forgot to also play for fun? Do you play Ranked & put all of your focus on winning (which you cannot control) instead of on your personal progress (which is the only thing you can control)?

➡️ Make a list of how you played before apathy VS how you play now OR how you play now VS how you'd ideally like to play, write down your specific behaviors. Remember who you used/want to be. Write down what you used to love about the game, bring back the fun, the joy.

# If you don't value progress > winning, create a performance plan for yourself with daily goals that focus you on your own progress. The more fulfillment you get from progressing, the less you'd want to give up when losing (which can be unavoidable in Ranked). Look at every "mistake" as a chance to learn, what not to do as well as what to do (learn from how they got/punished/played you).

➡️ Get a duo/trio or scrim environment, stop complaining about Ranked, it is not created to be a competitive scene & it ain't changing anytime soon. Get a scrimmage environment if you want to have a say about winning.

# Just like slumps, alongside doing the inner work, it's all about shaking things up. Not believing the apathy. Apathy can happen for a few moments, the only thing keeping it for weeks is we believe it. Get up in the morning & do something different than usual. Change your day & game up.

➡️ Don't allow it to debilitate you. You are more than your thoughts & emotions. You can use the 1,2,3,4,5 system where you just count & go. It allows you to do what you want to do, regardless of old negative thoughts/emotions.

# Practice expressing your emotions in the moment. This bothers you because you don't really want to give up & the price of apathy is WAY too high. In the moment of a game, speak up because you're improving your comms, not because you expect others to answer. Keep taking gun fights even when you lose them because you're improving your aim & confidence, not because you can guarantee hitting every shot. Play with passion, play from the heart, not to move up the rank so you can be happy - but because you're happy now, which will move you up the rank. You're never too broken to get excited to play what you love. React, be human, feel your range of emotions. Start with not shutting down, that's first. Soon enough you'll be able to respond from balance.

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