Aside from diligent and effective practice, there is another factor that comes into play that changes how you progress in your cubing journey. This was hinted at in a previous blog, and this blog will expand upon the same. This key factor is your mentality towards cubing. Now, it may sound ridiculous, but your mentality can drastically change the way you practice and can affect your results as well.
Most cubing mentalities can be broadly divided into two categories which are: Competitive, and Leisure. People with a competitive mindset usually focus a lot on their times, and try to improve themselves, whereas people with a leisurely mindset are usually relaxed and don't practice as much; they solve for fun. There is no ‘correct’ mentality to have, because your mentality depends on what you want out of cubing as a hobby.
Although there is no ‘correct’ mentality to have, there is definitely a mentality that from experience performs well. I like to call this mentality the ‘Wind’ mentality. Essentially this means you take things as they come and enjoy the small moments that come. I’ve been on both extremes of the spectrum of mindsets, and I find the perfect balance lies in the center.
The New Cuber Mentality
In my early years, I was eager to prove myself and prove to others that I was fast. This phase was also in a period where I was able to spend a lot of time practicing, and a lot of WCA competitions occurred. The feeling to prove myself really drove me to be hyper competitive in Skewb which was and still is my main event. This did lead to me getting good results but it was a double edged sword.
I vividly remember getting my first National Record in the semi finals of Mumbai Open 2014. I was ecstatic to finally get this result, and I started my finals with the same momentum and got a really good single on my first solve. This really caused me to start getting freaked out and over zealous, and I messed up all my solves after that and ended up coming 3rd. This event changed my mentality to become more leisurely as I realized I took myself too seriously.
The Leisurely Mentality
Because of being leisurely, I was able to develop an interest in other events, and as life caught up, I couldn’t devote enough time to practice as I could in the past. This led to me taking cubing less seriously and eventually not practicing much at all. This coincided with my 11th and 12th and I completely lost interest in cubing. Looking back at that time, I regret not staying in touch with cubing, and the loss of passion was something that really messed with my times in general.
The Fusion Mindset
I returned to cubing in 2020, practicing for my first competition after 2 years, but thanks to the pandemic the competition got canceled and my motivation was hurt. This completely shattered my will to cube again, but recently it has been revived again. This revival was brought about by the simple fact of watching fast people solve. I was going through YouTube and saw a video with two world class solvers racing, and the passion in me was reignited. I then realized that the perfect balance for cubing was one with motivation to practice, but also enjoy yourself and avoid burnout.
This mindset was present in my competitions where I went out of station to compete. NCRO and SRM were two competitions that I went to, solely for the sake of meeting new people and enjoying myself with the community, but those 2 competitions had a few of my best results of all time. A big tip to cubers who joined in quarantine, is to keep yourself motivated by setting small benchmarks, and trying to find like minded people to practice with. This really will help you to keep in touch with cubing and improving yourself step by step.
Conclusion: The Best Mindset for You
In and of themselves, mindsets simply describe how a person looks at a task. Each of these mindsets are important to have, and you cannot simply forgo one of them. Trying to understand what you want out of cubing as a hobby is important to realize the mindset you should adopt to make your speedcubing journey the most enjoyable and fruitful.
Avoiding burnout is another crucial part your mindset helps with, and balancing your ambition and enjoyment is key for achieving the perfect mindset for you. Give a try to each end of the spectrum, and see where you lie and what you think is best for you. Personally, I lean towards being more competitive and I find myself towards the competitive mindset, but at the same time, I don't treat this as a job either. Finding a similar mindset is crucial to succeed in cubing.