As much as I’m one that agrees with the mentality that ‘second place is first loser,’ I also feel that entering any sort of contest should be a journey for one’s own development. Winning any prizes should be secondary. Sure, that’s easy for me to say for ENDLESS WAR, where, in the previous contest, I won the game’s highest honor: winning a princep. Life isn’t always about winning. What happens when we lose? Don’t fret.
When the stream approached the vote of winners, I did not vote for myself.
As much effort as I put into my six-panel comic, I would not feel it fair to win again when others had not won. That might seem like spreading out the wealth or wanting to be a loser, but I’ve already won once, and the winning entries were better than mine. That shouldn’t be a negative against my own entry, and that’s the approach I want to advocate when we enter contests, whether it’s artistic contests like this or anything in life. If you come up short, don’t get angry that you lost. It’s OK to feel out that anger, but don’t use it to propel you, because that is not good energy. Your output will be subpar. You’ll act out of vengeance rather than trying to do the best you can. You won’t take care of yourself since you’re trying to hurt others.
This is a summary of what I told one of my fellow non-winners.
I am abstracting and summarizing because it was a personal conversation, however, I think things like this are important to consider. Whenever we create or do anything outside of our bubbles, we open ourselves to criticism from the outside or from within. Exterior criticism can take many forms. It can range from people not liking your media, providing feedback, or name-calling. That’s where I tend to like referring to Graham’s hierarchy of disagreement when I consider how the criticism appears to me. Criticism is subjective, so if someone tries to refute the central point but instead throws in a statement that seems like an ad hominem attack, even if it’s not intended to be that way, then we should accept the attack and move on.
Exterior criticism is easier because we can walk away from it.
When it comes to internal criticism, we might think “I could have done better” to “I wish they would have done worse.” Those thoughts are far harder to separate ourselves from because there is no layer of abstraction in the form of an external person. If I lose a contest or get into an argument with someone, then I can abstract that by saying I lost because someone else – or the collective vote – decided that someone else should win. I can take those thoughts in a conversation and apply them to another person. But when it’s our own thoughts, we stew in that, as our mind tries to make sense of things.
When our internal criticism is at its worse, it thinks poorly of others.
I know how much effort I put into this comic. You might have read my thoughts along that journey. It would be nice to win each and every time, because that would mean that I am getting something valuable for each entry I contribute, but what if, instead, I change that value to something different than winning? I didn’t need to win the contest to win the praises of others. People liked my art for its artistic merit and the comic bits I threw in. Isn’t that sufficient? Can’t I be satisfied with that alone? Winning the contest, then, should almost be secondary to whether I enjoyed the process and whether others enjoyed it.
For these contests, we should create to expand out the culture rather than “win.”
Winning is the motivator to encourage us to generate media, but if we like what we’re doing, we should do it because the process of creating media is satisfactory enough. When we don’t win at something, rather than feeling bad that we lost, we should instead take it as an opportunity to reassess our values on what we want. If we want to win, then we have to consider why we lost. Was it because the idea wasn’t good enough? It can be time to study the winning entries. I lost to hilarious in-game radio advertisements and a painting that was more impressive than any of mine. I can say this with the self-confidence of someone that doesn’t feel like my art is bad.
I am, admittedly, a non-artist.
The reason for that is although I enjoy creating art, it’s not something that I feel fulfilled by. These comics are something I do as more of a hobby to express myself visually in a format where I can’t express myself otherwise. Writing essays or fiction is more of a rewarding experience for me. I can dig in deeper. These thoughts can help guide me in better directions than art, which for me, is more of something cool to look at and maybe inspire some deeper thought. In the leading picture, the melting fog is a wild look. It took me two hours to complete. Is my two hours spent working on that section worth more than the two hours someone else might have spent working on their audio or painting? I don’t like those sorts of comparisons.
Instead, I’d rather feel inspired to work on something else.
It’s a dangerous thought but I might be working on another comic. I should try to edit it down so it’s not as big as this one. As big as I want it to be, I should also remember that it’s not good to go too big on projects like these – side projects. I need to focus primarily on my health, secondarily on essays, then tertiarily on these comics. Any deviation from that order will cause me to lose the contest.
Not of the game, but of life.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: Don’t sacrifice your health or any other obligations to win anything or you will have lost more than you gained. A Pyrrhic victory.|
|Related: Other Media Meandry essays.|
|Picture: Here’s the full-sized version of the introductory picture.|
|Written On: 2020 August 10 [6:06am to 6:35am]|
|Last Edited: 2020 August 10 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|