How to Never Give Up in Games

My biggest pet-peeve in sports is when athletes give up. I believe there's rarely ever a legitimate reason to give up in games. 99.9% of the time, there's always reasons to keep trying in games. Most of the time, when athletes give up in games, it's not because they don't have reasons to keep trying, it's because they haven't given the mental effort to think of the reasons and motivate themselves to keep trying.

First of all, it's important to understand that there's levels to effort. The goal is to give 100% effort. Even when you give 80%, that is still giving up 20%. So when I say "how to never give up in games," I'm not telling you how to give 100% effort every game. That is a very hard task. Almost no athlete can truly do that. For this blog post, I just want to talk about how to never completely give up in games, meaning giving less than say, 75% effort. When you give less than 75% effort, you pretty much are giving the game away. At least when you give above 75% effort, you are still giving a respectable amount of effort, you still are giving yourself a chance to win, and from the outside, it may not be obvious that you're tanking.  So how do you prevent obvious tank jobs? That is the question that I want to answer today.

It's all about maintaining your confidence and motivation. The main reason why athletes completely give up in games is because they lose hope in winning. They may think it's impossible to win, therefore they think, "Why even try?" and they reduce their effort because they think giving more effort is not worth it. They think to themselves, "If I'm going to lose, I might as well save energy and be comfortable."

So to fix this, you need to always believe winning in possible. There are a few attitudes that can help you with this. One attitude that helps is a "everything to gain, nothing to lose" attitude. Even when you're losing by a lot, believe you can come back and win. Even if this attitude only gives you a 10% chance of winning, that's better than the roughly 0% chance you get when you completely give up. With self-belief and effort, there's everything to gain and nothing to lose. Even if you lose, so what? You would have lost anyways if you gave up. Why not give yourself your best chances of winning. Think long term. If there's only a 10% chance of coming back to win a game, then statistically, you're going to win one of these games out of 10 tries. The time that you do, the victory is going to be so sweet, and you're going to be so proud of yourself. This is worth the losing effort the other 9 times.

It also helps to understand that crazy upsets, finishes, and comebacks have happened before, and they can happen again! A game is never over until it's actually over! The outcome of games are always uncertain until the game is complete. Therefore it is always realistic to remain hopeful of winning.

Besides always believing you can win, here are some other things you can do to maintain maximum confidence and motivation:
You can play for intrinsic motives such as for fun, for self-knowledge, and to improve and reach your potential. If you pride yourself on playing your best no matter what, you'll give your best effort even when winning seems very unrealistic. Even if you're losing by a lot, it is still worth it to keep trying, because by doing so, you improve and have fun, and these are rewards in themselves. Also, by improving in a losing effort, you improve your chances of winning the next time! Remember this the next time you're tempted to think, "Why even try?"

By always believing you can win, and playing for intrinsic motivations as well, you will never give up in a game again!