The King of Catan

Settlers of Catan is a fantastic board game that is extremely popular with ages that range from high school students to young adults. The game is simple. Build two initial settlements by certain commodity mines, each with a number on it. You receive a resource when the dice roll the number on one of our resource mines. You then use those commodities to build road, additional settlements, trading, etc. Obviously, this game involves a lot of strategy.

The issue is my particular group of friends are highly competitive when it comes to board games, in a super annoying way. Playing with them could be quite difficult at times and when I said competitive I meant SUPER COMPETITIVE. You need to be on your A game if you want to survive. My friends would look up game strategies, use probability formulas, and much more just to get an edge. Needless to say, they are very frustrating to play with and I rarely win which also sucks.

One day, on a vacation I met a group of people my age. We started hanging out and one night they decided to bring out Settlers of Catan. I played as I regularly did with my friends. I set out a simple strategy, figured which resources would be most valuable, and nerdy stuff like that. With in a few turns I was leading the game and I ended up winning the game fairly quickly. The new friends I made were surprised and said I was lucky.

We started another game and this time my opponents teamed up on me and placed a trade embargo on me. No way they were going to let the new guy win twice. Despite their efforts, I became self sufficient and won again. After that game, they decided that they didn’t want to play Settlers of Catan anymore and I didn’t see them for the rest of the trip.

The reason I’m telling this story isn’t to show off my mad board game skills. The only reason I was good was because I played people who took the game seriously and originally better than me. I learned from losing again and again. I kept losing to them continuously until I learned their tricks and developed my own. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was slowly learning to get better and better. Once, I played with people who weren’t as good, winning was easy.

The point is that that putting yourself in competitive environments will only help you in the long term. When you pit yourself against someone who is better than you, you probably won’t win but you will learn. You’ll keep losing but you’ll learn from your mistakes and after enough failures you’ll start winning. I know we all hate losing but you won’t improve if you pit yourself against someone you know you could beat.

Don’t pick on someone your own size, pick on someone bigger. Every challenge is a way to improve yourself.

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