OU: Strategy Striving for Perfection vs Striving for Self-Improvement

Discussion in 'VG Competitive Play' started by PG24, May 17, 2015.

  1. PG24 <Pride> I'm my wildest fantasy

    Badges Staff Advanced Member Member


    I would like to note that perfection in competitive games, in my opinion at least, is simply a goal, but it is also an unrealistic goal. As humans, we are imperfect beings playing an imperfect game. Mistakes, especially in a game with randoms and prediction like Pokemon, are completely possible because we as humans are capable of that. Even if we reach this no mistakes level of play, we still deal with the fact that the idea of perfection is merely subjective. Maybe the right play for you is completely different than the right play for me. How do we know whose idea of "perfection" is right?

    Striving for perfection is a silly goal because of this. No matter what, you will still be capable of mistakes, capable of criticism, capable of insecurities. This "perfection" is just not possible due to these factors. Striving for self-improvement, however, is a completely realistic goal because we can actually see it and judge it. Why is this different from striving for perfection when both are goals with getting better in mind? It's because instead of setting an end goal of what you wish yourself to be, you can work on now to improve who you want to be.

    So, my question to all of you is do you, whether it be in competitive Pokemon or in real life, strive for perfection or self-improvement? What is your opinion on these two goals and why?
    Last edited: May 17, 2015
    King Arceus and Chaos Jackal like this.

  2. Chaos Jackal Legend of the Past
    Chaos Jackal


    Perfection is an unrealistic goal; that much is obvious. Nothing is perfect. Even the greatest make mistakes. In a sense, you could say that the difference lies between doing something for real and just dreaming. In that sense, there's indeed a difference. You express it as the difference between what you want and what you wish.

    Yet in the end, is there a difference between the two? You say perfection isn't only impossible, but also subjective. If that is true, how is striving for self-improvement different than striving for perfection? You have your subjective image of perfection in your mind, and you work towards it. It acts like a gauge, a point of reference, a motive. Self-improvement and perfection aren't two different goals. Perfection in itself isn't a goal at all. Perfection, its elusive visage, is simply a means to an end. You can't set something impossible as a goal after all, that would be stupid. Yet you strive to improve yourself because you know that you can always become better. And you know that because you know you can't be perfect. Every action you take to improve yourself is a step towards your own personal image of perfection. You know you may never become it, but you can at least try to get as close as possible.

    You can't compare striving for self-imrpovement with striving for perfection, simply because they aren't the same thing. Perfection is the ideal; self-improvement is reality. And yet, nobody can progress with following some sort of ideal. Perfection and self-improvement aren't comparable, but rather part of the same effort, each in its own way.
    PG24 likes this.
  3. scattered mind Competitive VG Forums Mod
    scattered mind

    Forum Mod Member

    Self-improvement. If I will set my mind to get perfect I will be in an endless run with nothing to tell me if i'm even close.
    Improving myself is to be better than who I was before rather than to be better than .. ever. If I manage to improve myself that is something I can notice. The fact that I understand that I got better motivates me to step up to the next level- to be an even better player than who I am now. There is also the fact that you really should be motivated from -losing.
    And you can't do it from the point of getting perfect but only from self-improving- since when you lose you failed to be perfect or to be close to perfection but learning from the battle improve yourself as a player- not making you perfect.
  4. PG24 <Pride> I'm my wildest fantasy

    Badges Staff Advanced Member Member

    Yes, I agree that the process can be the same for both. However, I think that they are two separate quests with two separate mindsets. Keep in mind, I myself think that perfection can be a goal, whether it be real or not. I don't think the realism of a goal should affect if someone should actually chase it or not, especially with something as complex as perfection.

    Chasing perfection can be considered a fool's quest because perfection is impossible, yet people do it all the time because it's human nature to want to be free of imperfections. Perfection's image to someone who chases it is that it means no mistakes, no errors, no disadvantages. People actually think this perfection is possible and will strive for it, and it's foolish to think that someone doesn't think like this in both competitive games and real life. It's both blinding and unhealthy for anyone who does this because the human mind does not have the ability to work in this way.

    That quest is juxtaposed to someone who chases self-improvement's image of perfection. They will accept that absolute perfection isn't feasible, but improvement as a player is. Part of the process of improvement isn't just getting better in your life, game, or workplace, it's also understanding what is and isn't possible as a human. Accepting insecurities and flaws is part of the process of improvement.

    This all boils down to what someone believes perfection to be. Is it the removal of all defects and flaws, or is it an image of what you think you're capable of? Isn't it technically the same in some cases?
  5. Chaos Jackal Legend of the Past
    Chaos Jackal


    But can you actually consider anyone capable of ridding themselves of all flaws? The image of what you think you're capable of can't be perfection; if it is, or you consider it to be, then you haven't truly grasped your nature. Perfection is an image, or at least it should be. As I said before, I consider it an ideal. No ideal can ever be realized in the exact same way as you might be thinking it, but it still represents something for you, it still pushes you forward. You know you may never reach perfection, but that doesn't mean you can't get as close as possible. You can't and shouldn't chase perfection itself. You should just use it as a lever to move to greater things.

    Now, I'm not saying that there aren't any who will embark on a fool's quest to perfection. Humans in general can't escape certain ways of thinking, and that's one of them. There are those who think they never make any mistakes, or will be able to reach such a state some day. But it isn't impossible to free yourself from such thinking. And whether you do overcome this or not, it doesn't make perfection any more possible.

    You may call perfection what you think you're capable of, but that, again, is a fool's quest. You can never know for sure what you're truly capable of. Sure, you may set a goal and reach it, but that doesn't mean your goal is truly your limit. Trying to place what you're capable of is the exact opposite than chasing perfection; instead of chasing an impossible condition, you instead limit yourself. And this again leads me to my initial argument. Perfection is the ideal, the means. You may never reach it, but you can still get as close as possible. How close, you don't know, and it doesn't really matter. What matters is that you try.
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  6. King Arceus Aspiring Trainer
    King Arceus

    Elite Member Advanced Member Member

    I strive for self-improvement. I know there are always things I can learn to improve myself. There is no way to be perfect, the sooner you can accept that idea, the better it will be for your mind. The best thing you can do is to set a goal for yourself. Once you've reached that goal set a new higher goal for yourself. Overtime you will get better and better, but will never be perfect.

    One such way to improve is by looking at the past and see what you could do differently. Figure out what could have happened based on those changes. Use this knowledge to help you the next time you are in a similar situation. Just look at my third battle I posted in my VGC Progress Thread. I made a couple errors, which while they did not alter the end result of the match, were still things I could have done better. Don't be afraid to ask others for how you can do better because you can be bias against yourself.

    You have to also accept the fact you will lose sometimes even if there was nothing you could do about it. Maybe you had a bad match-up in a tournament for example. You also have to remember that there is the luck factor since RNG is involved. Whether it is outweighing if the risk is worth the reward or if you move first in a speed tie, you can't control everything.
  7. gamercal Spell card! Love Sign ~ Master Spark!


    Whilst it is an unattainable goal to strive for, Perfection kinda has to be on the mind of most top players in any competitive game/profession. However, the step-wise process towards this is best described by Self-Improvement. ... that probably sounds confusing as all get-out, so lemme try to clarify. (SPOILER: I'm not the best person at articulating my thoughts, so this will probably be confusing still :/)

    From my personal experience, people have a tendency to become complacent very quickly when they feel like they have achieved all that they can in a given situation. Whether it be finishing your homework a week early and never looking at it again, climbing to the top of the corporate ladder at your job, or even being in a seemingly defeat-less position in Pokémon, people very quickly switch off when they think they've "done it all".

    Take exams for example. In the Uni I did my Undergrad at, you were free to hand in your paper and walk out of an exam once half an hour had passed (unless it was the last 15 minutes but details). Lots of people in my classes finished like an hour early and immediately handed the paper over and left, feeling super-confident with how they had done. But when the results came back they were much worse than expected. Why? Well, rushing answers aside they didn't bother to check through what they had done for errors. They had so much time left, but they felt like they had already done everything right so they got complacent. Meanwhile, those who stayed the full time and check/redid stuff they found to be wrong in their answers scored way better, despite not inherently being better at the subject. Sounds obvious when you put it that way, but you'd be surprised at how many people fall into this trap.

    The same happens for improvement in a gaming scenario. The most logical way to strive for Self-Improvement is to set short-term goals. "I'll learn about EV's this week, IV's the next". This is excellent... up to a point. That point will be different for everyone, but there WILL come a time where you think you've done everything you can to improve yourself, and/or the next thing on your list is so hard that you put it off indefinitely. What usually happens there is that you get complacent. This often manifests itself in blaming factors that are seemingly outside of your control (usually hax - god knows I've done that one myself often enough). After all, there's no way that YOU can improve now, right? You've already done everything! Of course, you haven't, but now you're stuck in this mental trap... and it's often hard to realise you're even in it to begin with.

    This is where the whole Perfection thing comes in. Perfection is of course unattainable, but most people realise this before even starting. However, it serves as an indefinite long-term goal to shoot for, to prevent complacency. Those who are at the top of their profession are always looking for new ways to improve because they are hoping to one day reach that perfection goal. If they find themselves in a losing position, the first thought usually isn't "Oh if that flinch didn't happen I'd have won this", it's "How could I have done this better to account for the chance of flinching". This is super-oversimplified but I hope it gets the point across. Keeping a long-term goal like this in mind is the key to giving your short-term goals context, allowing for constant self-analysis, and therefore self-improvement. It all loops around!

    You see this a lot from players like Aaron Zheng in his Road to Ranked videos. He's clearly very good and knowledgeable, but he's also constantly pointing out his flaws and what he could've done better each turn. Despite being a top competitor already, he knows he isn't perfect, so he sets his sights to even higher levels.

    tl;dr - Perfection needs to be the long-term goal of Self-Improvement, else people get too comfy in their ways and can never change for the better.
  8. DdogTheKing On the surfside.


    I would say self-improvement. Back then, I used to wanna be the best like no one ever was! by climbing the ladder all the time. Now, I play to improve in my research to further enhance my movesets, options, and just general knowledge.
  9. Equinox Stallwart Player


    Perfection is impossible, but near perfection can be acquired only through self improvements. In video games they don't give you the best gear, weapons, or stats at the beginning.

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