Its been two years now since the start of my fantasy football league. When I first started, I knew nothing about football. My first draft was a mess - I used a cheat sheet I found in the July issue of ESPN magazine. I drafted a defense with my 10th round pick (everybody knows you only draft defenses and kickers with the last two picks). Worst of all, I was in a league full of sports junkies, guys who watch every game every Sunday.
This season I’m 2nd place, with the best season record. I’ve made around 7 trades. I know the names of most teams starting players, and a few of their backups.
I guess it takes something as trivial as fantasy football to show me that improvement is a long and slow process, but improvement happens. Too often I look at things and get disappointed because of the results. I’m so focused on improvement that frustration quickly swells up. Why am I not getting better? I expect so much from myself that I can’t see small progress for what it is: a tiny bit improvement.
But everything takes time.
Even if it takes years, I know that I’ll reach my goals eventually. And if i can get good at fantasy football, something I don’t care and didn’t even try to get good at, then of course I’ll be good at something I poured sweat and tears into.
I've noticed this to be especially true in fields with low barriers to entry like blogging, playing instruments, art etc. Take blogging for example. Because it's so easy to start a blog there are millions of blogs online to compete against. Fortunately for us most of these bloggers will quit blogging in the first 6-12 months when they realize it's not going to be as easy as they thought it was. Just by maintaining consistency in blogging we'll probably end up rising to the top eventually.
Yeah but how do you judge the "best" blogger? There's no objective standard
Maybe I was a bit vague, but that's not what I meant. You're right about not being able to judge the best blogger. That's subjective. What I meant by rising to the top was us developing our writing skills and building successful high traffic blogs that positively influence thousands, or even millions of people and possibly being able to one day live off our blogs' income.
Its really hard to open up a word doc and start writing. But I want to write because I come up with so many ideas that I want to share. Below is what I’ve found to be easiest way produce a blog post.
1. Voice Memo App. Every phone has one and its really easy to just open up the app and record. Actually, it’s relieving to be able to express yourself (even if it’s to your phone) and to describe realizations, epiphanies or personal theories while I’m still excited, in the moment of having them. Another good thing about speaking compared to writing is that you never just sit there waiting for the right words to come to you, you’re forced to just blurb out something coherent in order to finish your sentence.
2. Evernote: I like to have a backup of everything I write and I store almost everything with Evernote anyways. Basically, I transcribe what I spoke in the Voice Memo App to Evernote word for word. When you’re writing, the last thing you want to do is think about what you’re writing about as this leads to writer’s block. What you want to do is to flow as much words onto paper as possible and refine later. This process might trigger other ideas that you want to note down as well, which you should. Just remember that when you do, don’t try to write them out, just note the phrases that came to mind.
3. Editing: Here’s the hardest part. The unedited words are essentially in the form of a stream of consciousness and I have to take all these separate ideas and connect them into one train of thought. In each rough draft there are multiple concepts that are seemingly related to the main topic, and it takes discipline to cut out those sentences on topics that aren’t 100% relevant. The editing portion is the opposite of the "record-in-voice-memo-app" portion as you are no longer simply expressing yourself but you’re taking everything related to the main topic linking them congruently so the reader can understand. If your reader can’t understand what you’re talking about because you’re talking about too many things then they’re not going to read your post.
I started playing fantasy football back when I was in secondary school - about ten years now? Give or take... In all this time I, and many others, have noticed an inevitable pattern. By the time the season is halfway through, every team has a squad that is 75% identical. Between your mini-league of friends, between every person's fifteen man squad, all players will, without fail, be derived from a pool of about thirty players (maybe about forty if you stretch it).
Think about it. Take last season (2012-2013) as an example. Less than 15 games in, the vast majority of players had most of the following: Robin Van Persie, Juan Mata, Gareth Bale, Luis Suarez, Michu (what is his first name anyway?), Cazorla, Walcott, Benteke, Lukaku, Baines, Ivanovic, Begovic etc. About the only variation between teams came in the defensive department - an area where most players choose to field only three defenders anyway (something else that can be improved upon).
And it takes away from the enjoyment of fantasy football!* You have Van Persie in your team so you get excited when he scores. But wait, every one of your rivals has him as well except that one guy who hates him so much so you're not really gaining any sort of advantage over the field. And in fact, some have him captain so are earning double points from him... Hmmm... Maybe you should be rooting against him? Seems counterintuitive.