On: Foreigners 1-7. (Confidence, Mentality & Culture)

Published on 08/12/2017 08:31 PDT by Paulo "CatZ" Vizcarra


From time to time I find myself writing LONG ass responses on forums, from here on when I do, I will try to adapt them and post them as an article of opinion. This one is a response to an apparent general sentiment on the TL Forums after "The World" suffered a 1-7 defeat at the hands of Korea in StarCraft II. Specifically a reply to this comment below.

When a bunch of foreigners shit-talk on stage against the Koreans and then get destroyed 1-7, those cocky shit-talking foreigners deserve all the negative feedback from the community.

I have said this before: The foreigners talk big but don't do shit. This statement most certainly includes you [Nerchio]. Have you changed the perception of foreigners yet?


Confidence in one's ability to win is very important in order to win. That is not to say that anyone can or should be 100% sure that they'll win a game, but if you think you're going to lose then you've probably lost already.

Thoughts are a real thing that occupy a 'space'. So if your driving thought is: I can win, chances are your follow up thoughts and preparation will be in line with your goal. So you may then spend thoughts, even while dreaming! on HOW can I win? How can I give myself the best chance?

Then you may for example study your opponent, perhaps analyze their strengths to avoid and weaknesses to exploit. Do whatever you do or can think of in order to consciously give yourself the best chance to win.

I won't pretend to understand the unconscious processes we undergo, but if you condition yourself to win, I'd wager your body will also 'adapt' accordingly to aid your mind in it's goal.

On the flipside if you actually think: I CAN'T win, then chances are you won't be actively trying to figure out how to win, or what could give you the best chance. If you actually think you can't win: Why prepare? Why show up? Why play the match? To simplify it even more I ask you:

How can both thoughts - one that says you can't win, and another trying to figure out how to win both occupy your head space simultaneously? 

Even if you could alternate between thinking that you can/can't win, every thought used on "I can't win" will be a wasted thought that you didn't spend on "how can I win". The person who is 'focused' on winning will be using more energy & brain power on it, but believing in themselves is, so to say, steps 1-10.

So, every competitive player should always believe that they can win, or they'll be playing at a large disadvantage to pile on top of whatever the perceived skill-difference may be.

Confidence and Mentality matter, and it's not just a thing you say about intangibles, it's not that they "seem" to matter, it's that they most certainly DO play a large role. Because even though we struggle to measure thoughts, we know that they exist and that they occupy a space, for further proof - the voice you hear in your head right now, be that yours or mine is probably the only voice in your head at this point in time, that voice is the one currently occupying your conscious mind-space.

So now that we've established some ways that players greatly benefit from thinking that they can / will win at whatever point in time they're pitted against their opponent (and most successful competitive players of any sport will share this mindset), what are you upset about? About them thinking that they can win? hopefully not... About them saying it out-loud? well that's sort of the point of the interview mate.


So now we move on to the last barrier here, this is the only other reason I can think of for someone to get upset at "cocky" interviews / banter, perhaps while contrasting foreigners to the generally bland Korean interviews.

Believe it or not, based on where you're born and who you hang out with you will adopt behaviors that your surrounding culture / society has set. I imagine this would be difficult to notice without knowing / having lived in different places and experienced different cultures.

Every group of people will collectively draw invisible lines in the sand that they deem appropriate or inappropriate to cross. Where I am from (Peru) there is a lot more dissing and shaming, among friends and foes both, people in general tend to be very blunt - like anything else it has advantages and disadvantages but that's another long pack of thoughts.

On the opposite end of the spectrum you have cultures like Korea, where people tend to be far more reserved/mild, especially in public.

The lines of what is/isn't proper or acceptable are different for someone born and raised in Korea and someone born and raised in "x" western culture, to varying degrees. Another clear example you can see in StarCraft 2 is girls who cover their faces when the camera is on them, it's part of gaming culture, it's the response many use to shield themselves from, say - forum trolls who may call them ugly / shame and objectify them. However, the more people just do it because 'it's what you do', the less it matters why they started doing it in the first place.

The rare and elusive Non-Korean girls in SC2 don't really react in the same way, because... different culture / different conditioning. There's a different cause-effect for the same actions, in this case the action being "you are on camera".

Culture isn't exclusive to nations, Team Liquid or /r/starcraft will have it's own culture and reward/punishment systems. For example if I swear too much or insult the person I am replying to I could get a warning or a ban on Team Liquid- Since I don't want a warning or a ban, i'll try to walk the line. On reddit I may get downvotes instead, and while it's negative feedback it may not be as discouraging, as a result TL and reddit will have different levels of tolerance and the atmosphere will change according to their rules and established culture, that we as users will no doubt assimilate at least partly.

With that simple mechanic of "X" is the rule or "X" is acceptable and not falling in line with "X" will result in a negative consequence, my behavior and thoughts will HAVE to adapt to suit my environment (in this case- Team Liquid/reddit).

Much like culture, we as individuals are also our averages and perhaps more than that the sum of our actions to varying degrees, I think - with a larger emphasis during our formation period as well as our most recent experiences.The more you act or think a certain way, the more it becomes who you are.

Bottom Line

For me, "I will show my fans good game" isn't a good enough interview, it says nothing, it's too mild. To Koreans it's just proper, it's what their culture, relative in this instance to gaming interviews / show of confidence dictates. If someone shows themselves as 'too confident' they might be shamed for doing just that, so that they align with the invisible lines Korean Gaming Culture has decided to draw in the sand.

I am used to blunt, to real. If the players think they can / are going to win (and they fucking SHOULD), then that's what I want to hear in their interview, the more spices they pack along the more entertained I will be, because that's what I've been conditioned to be entertained by.

Anyone who thinks they can do better than the best foreigners playing the game: the floor is yours, it's easy to judge and criticize based on what you believe, and honestly - you should! Because that's how culture is formed and that's how it shifts - if it'll help, think of culture in this instance as a single entity composed of all the people in it, then take the average and BOOM! you have your invisible lines, then comes things like politics and other mechanisms designed to help update, shift, adapt, "advance" culture and a society or to help the law reflect that collective average.

These are my thoughts on the matter, my intend is to offer some perspective based on my experience, both as someone who likes to spend time and head space actively thinking about stuff like this and someone who has experienced many cultures extensively with the hope that some use this perspective to re-think their stance and maybe be less judgmental next time.

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