At 78-years-old, Abbe “DiehardBirdie” Borg, is the world’s oldest esports champion, having won the Seniors CS:GO tournament at DreamHack Summer 2019.
Mastering any skill in life takes time, effort, patience, and LOTS of practice. I believe that learning and mastering a new skill is not just limited to one’s younger years. Take it from me, a 78-year-old gamer grandpa who learned how to play games in his 70s, became a senior champion and is currently streaming my games on my own Twitch channel.
Due to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, more people are staying indoors as a safety measure. With imposed quarantine periods, people are trying new hobbies and learning to master new skills as a way to be productive and to pass the time.
Learning new things can be difficult at first, but here are seven principles that can help you master a new skill and level up in life.
Have the proper mindset
It’s important to have the right mindset in whatever you are doing. You have to fully understand your tasks at hand. Choose what skill you want to learn then define your goals.
If you are trying to master a new skill or pursue a new hobby, you should learn the basics of what you are trying to do. This will help you focus and form a clear picture of what you are trying to achieve. Don’t think of unnecessary things, get in the zone, and create your own game plan in mastering this new skill.
Don’t rush, find your own pace
I always believe that you are never too old or too young to learn anything. In my case, I started to play Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or CS:GO almost five years ago. I never expected that I would become a senior CS:GO world champion in DreamHack 2019.
You can’t rush greatness. Mastering a skill and being great at something takes time and effort. It does not happen overnight. It might be helpful if you can set up a timeline in achieving your goals. Some experts have succeeded in mastering their craft in their younger years and there are some that mastered it as they got older. No matter what stage you might be, it’s important to find and set your own pace.
Discipline is one of the nine noble virtues of a Viking Warrior. I live in Sweden, a place where Viking heritage is very common. The original Viking warriors may be long gone, but their virtues are not.
Discipline is an important factor in making sure that you follow through with your goals in mastering your skills. This means doing your tasks from start to finish, reaching your goals, putting in time and your best effort, and being responsible for your tasks. Elite athletes, performers, martial artists, and experts from various fields have the highest level of discipline that you can witness the result of their training in their performances.
A good example would be Bruce Lee, the legendary actor and martial artist. He has trained in martial arts since he was young, trained in Wing Chun Kung Fu, and created the Jeet Kune Do system. Just like Bruce Lee, working hard and having a sense of discipline will definitely help you conquer that new skill.
Practice, practice, and more practice! Commit to training
It’s time for action. Practicing the skill will take the majority of your time and effort. The mastery of skill depends on the level of difficulty of your chosen skill. This is the time where you commit to your training, so follow through your training routine and put in your hours and best efforts. If you need to train for 365 days, then do it. Work hard so you can see the results of your practice.
I may not be the best CS:GO player in the world but I am a better player today than I was five years ago.
I used to practice every day with my teammates before we entered the tournaments. Today, I keep up with my training and practice at least two hours daily, five times a week. My daily practice keeps me sharp and improves my focus and hand-eye coordination.
Don’t fear failure
This is a saying that I live by: “When playing games, you can be killed many times but you have to try again. Don’t be afraid to fail. You just need the guts to play.”
Failure is not the end of everything. It may be difficult being in a new territory, facing the unknown, having new experiences, and failing at something. As you learn and master a new skill, you will face challenges along the way. You may fail, so try again. Think of it as a learning experience to become better and to achieve your goals.
Seek help from professionals and mentors
This is very obvious. When learning a new skill or facing a new experience, you can always rely on the wisdom and knowledge of professionals and mentors to help you. One does not have the full knowledge of all things in the beginning. Ask for help from your mentors, professionals, or other veterans that can give you the proper guidance. You don’t have to learn everything on your own. This way, you can have better interactions with your mentors and peers.
With my former team, we had younger coaches and they taught us how to play CS:GO. I learned the basics of the game from the younger mentors and I enjoyed playing CS:GO with my team members.
My granddaughter – yes, my 12-year-old granddaughter – taught me how to play new games like Rocket League and Minecraft. I enjoy spending time with my granddaughter and it brought us closer than ever. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for help from others.
Take good care of yourself – physically and mentally
We are currently living with an ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It is very important to keep our body and mind in top shape. One cannot learn a new skill in poor health because it will not work out. While you are mastering a new skill, it’s important to take breaks to make sure you are not overworking yourself to the point of injury and fatigue. A healthy body and a sound mind can help you reach your highest potential.
Playing video games made me feel livelier, has improved my reflexes, and I can focus better despite my age. I still do exercises to make sure that I stay healthy. I enjoy what I do and I get to spend time with my family as we are staying at home. My age makes me one of the most vulnerable to COVID-19 so I make sure that I eat healthy food, drink my vitamins, and do my exercise to keep my body healthy.
Together with all the tips listed above, it is also important to enjoy what you are doing. Have fun and make memorable experiences with your peers and family. It is never too late to learn something new in life – no matter how young or how old you might be.
Reach out to Abbe “DieHardBirdie” Borg at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.