Paul LeCrone on Competitive Gaming: Focus on Process vs Outcomes

Paul LeCrone on Competitive Gaming: Focus on Process vs Outcomes

Host of the long-form podcast Penguin Latte, Paul is one of the best conversationalists I’ve met. He also writes a daily blog and a Sunday newsletter on his interests in art, culture and life. As if he wasn’t prolific enough, Paul also makes thrilling highlight videos for his favorite online courses. In our very first episode of the show, Paul and I talk about a skill many don’t know he has. Paul is a competitive gamer in a game called Smash Bros Melee. We explore what it takes to play tournament video games, the role of mentors, and how focusing on the process of getting better at a skill is more effective than obsessing about outcomes.


Full Episode

Guest Links

Show Notes

  • More about Smash Bros Melee (2:29-6:00)
  • What are the key elements to Paul’s ability? (6:49-10:52)
  • What did Paul’s training look like? (10:59-14:08)
  • What is Paul’s motivation and connection? What is his WHY? (14:16-15:30)
  • Who was Paul’s mentor? (16:15-21:08)
  • What were some experiments Paul conducted? (21:52-25:10)
  • “One repays a teacher badly if one always remains nothing but a pupil.” – Friedrich Nietzche (25:16-25:30)
  • What did Paul’s practice regime look like? Did it get more intense leading up to tournaments? How much did Paul actually sleep before a tournament? (25:48-27:57)
  • At what point did Paul identify as a competitive gamer? And what role did that play in the motivation for him to keep getting better? (27:57-29:00)
  • Did skill itself become motivation for Paul? (29:00-30:55)
  • Do breaking the rules in the game come organically for Paul in the tournament, or is that something he would practice? (31:00-33:20)
  • What were the leaps of understanding Paul went through? (33:40-35:43)
  • “Every practice has a set of rules which governs it. Mastery occurs with the realization of these rules. Innovation occurs at the point of intelligent and creative rebellion against them.” – Fiel Valdez (33:42-36:17)
  • Was there ever a time Paul felt like quitting? (36:45-38:15)
  • What kept Paul going? (39:00-39:30)
  • Besides the leaderboards, how did he measure his own improvement? (39:30-42:39)
  • What’s next for Paul? Where and how is he applying some of the lessons that he’s learned? (43:00-44:53)
  • Is there an untapped level that no-one has reached yet? (45:05-45:32)
  • Does the game have to be played in-person? (45:40-47:52)
  • Paul on not being attached to the outcomes: ‘Whatever it is you’re doing out there, you don’t want to get tied up in the numbers game. You either win or you learn something. If you don’t try, you lose the opportunity to learn something.’ (48:36-51:00)
  • The lesson: enjoy the process and don’t just look at the outcomes. Don’t let the outcomes dictate what you do next. (51:19-51:55)
  • What are some practical things Paul does to detach himself from the outcomes? (51:59-54:07)
  • Paul’s thoughts on feedback and what do to with feedback. (54:27-54:51)
  • Practical examples of how to cultivate a detached mindset. (55:20-59:45)
  • Creating a microcosm for yourself to learn and create a feedback loop. (60:00-61:00)

Selected Links from the Episode

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