### galen_colin's blog

By galen_colin, history, 10 months ago,

Hi everyone! I'm writing this blog to hopefully throw out a bit of inspiration.

With any measure of skill such as rating, people are always going to tie up their self-confidence with it. Unfortunately, that means when rating is lost, people lose confidence and/or motivation, which always sucks, especially with huge rating losses that seem impossible to overcome. But I want to demonstrate with an example that in the long run, even the largest rating losses won't affect much.

We'll use my performance on Global Round 7 as an example. A whopping -166*. Devastating, right? Well, let's see about that...

Let's look at the alternate timeline where I didn't participate in the round and the rating loss never happened (but my performance in the later contests was the same). Thanks to sjsakib and cfviz for allowing me to break the rules of the universe (probably not an intended use case, but you never know with users...).

Initial rating: 2281
After round 631: 2244 (-37)
After round 633: 2309 (+65)
After round 635: 2226 (-83)
After round 641: 2276 (+50)
After round 647: 2283 (+7)
After Global Round 8: 2365 (+82)

After just 6 rounds, my hypothetical rating is only 25 points higher than my real rating currently (edit for posterity: 2340). Over time, that enormous rating loss was diminished more and more, until now it's become almost nothing**.

So the point I'm trying to make is, take it easy! The more you freak out about performance/rating for individual contests, the worse you'll do, and ultimately it won't matter much anyway. And skipping contests to save rating is even worse because you lose the experience you'd get from doing the contest and attempting the problems. There's no reason to stress about other alternate timelines and thoughts like "if I hadn't screwed up that contest so badly, I would be two colors higher right now :(". That being said, I know it's often hard to get out of a bad mindset (for a long time, I was stuck with one myself), but I hope this helps, even just a tiny bit :)

*Getting this to be on the same line as everything else was the hardest part of writing this blog. I had to trial-and-error a bunch of stuff, ultimately using an a element in HTML (which means when you hover over it, it looks weird). Is there any easier way to do this without being blocked by CF's HTML filter?

**You could argue that it would have gotten me to international master in a shorter time. But then I would have lost it for 3 contests, only to get it back at the time where I have it now, so it really wouldn't have made much of a difference. It's also definitely more important to keep a certain rating/title rather than just reaching it.

• +446

 » 10 months ago, # |   +74 Cool post, this is a nice way to look at it. I assume the same effect applies to big rating gains too, but that isn't as motivating. :)
•  » » 10 months ago, # ^ |   +26 Well... you're probably right, but you can also use that to argue against feeling bad/angry about "missing out" on a huge rating gain too. As an example, for the people mad about round 637 becoming unrated (I had +110 myself).
 » 10 months ago, # |   +9 This Motivated me so much! Thanks galen_colin for this wonderful blog!
 » 10 months ago, # |   +26 CP is just like a marathon, and not a sprint. You might seem like losing in the shorter run but if you push yourselves, you always win in the longer run. You will not gain anything if you quit in the shorter run.Great Post!!. I highly appreciate it!!
 » 10 months ago, # |   0 true
 » 10 months ago, # |   -10 Molotov , The universe decided to motivate us!.. :)
•  » » 10 months ago, # ^ |   -10 :) It still does
 » 9 months ago, # |   +14 Thanks a lot for this blog!
 » 3 months ago, # |   -16 Hey galen_colin How did you pin yourself in the URL of the Standings?
•  » » 3 months ago, # ^ |   0 Clicking any link on someone's rating graph or a "Rank" link from their "Contests" page will target the link toward them.