Shape Your Environment...

By Chris Bewley                                20/6/11

Shape your environment. Do not let it shape you.

This is the advice I have heard and given time and time again. It’s one of the pearls of wisdom in life. Treat others the way you want to be treated, always listen to your mother and shape your environment. Do not let it shape you.

But what if the environment that was doing the shaping was a good one?

A positive, enjoyable, success-enabling environment? I’d say drown in it!

Positivity, success and enjoyment are my dream and drowning is my modus operandi.  This is an article about inspiring people and being inspired. My name is Chris Bewley and I have never won a PTQ. I have never made top 8 at a PTQ, a games day or a Regionals. Don’t even get me started on Nationals because I have qualified for that only once - And it was with Jund so it probably doesn’t count.

I have the hunger to win. I want to win, to learn, to become a better player. Sometimes when I read the stats and think back at all my attempts of Magic glory, it seems I’m only running around in circles like a dog chasing its own tail.

I’ve travelled to multiple PTQs, failed multiple times to grind my way into Nationals and have suffered back-to-back-to-back heartbreak at the National Qualifier events.

So why not just give up?

Why not throw it in? Accept the fact that I haven’t been successful in the past, I’m not successful now and all signs point to MTG failure for me in the future? Simply put, I refuse to. I will not let this “environment of negativity” put me down.

I will not be content with defeat and I absolutely will not accept giving up as a valid excuse for the postponement of my inevitable tournament success.

I believe I will make it. I’ll get there and if your tournament history is as depressing as mine, don’t worry! You will get there too! I read all the articles, I proxy all the decks, I buy all the cards and I go 4 and X. I go to events I know all the faces, I know all the names. I buy all the Jaces, I play all the games. From the day I began, I’ve given my best, and that’s because of influences that inspire me.

When I lose, and lose and lose (and lose) I am just going to get back up. The hope that provides me with this perseverance comes from the ideal of, in this Planeswalking world, that sometimes it’s good to become a product of your own environment.

Two years ago when I grinded into the Wellington-based New Zealand National Championships, the first person to shake my hand was Gene Brumby.  That inspired me.

When I was lost and needed deck advice, James White was there to tell me to play Megrim. (Was this a good thing?)  His ongoing advice inspires me.

When I needed a place to stay, Matt Rogers offered me a place to plank sleep.  That inspires me.

And when I needed a Nemesis to crush me every single round 3 of every single tournament we are both signed up in, John Denz was only a 2-0 results slip away.

That insp-

Having these awesome guys cross my spell-slinging path has done nothing but inspire, motivate and challenge me.

If I have ever needed to borrow a card, build a life-sized suit of armour to win a return trip to Armageddon with (on said trip Sam Weily who I went with, won the Paris PTQ) or give me a ride home after another 0-3 FNM, my fellow Magicians have been there.

Because of the things these people I call friends have done for me, the wisdom they pass onto me, the kindness they show me, the unhealthy amounts of laughter and fun we share together and the outstanding tournament results they consistently post, I have decided to become a product of my environment.

If you are like me., if you are looking for Magic success. Don’t give up. Keep going.

Be influenced by the people you know.  If you don’t know the kind of people you want your Magic game to reflect, find them! They are out there. If you want to have fun, surround yourself with fun people. If you want to win tournaments, surround yourself with winners.

I’m not qualified for Nationals. But I’ll be there grinding. I’ve never made a PTQ Top 8 but I’ll see you in Christchurch and I’ll see you in Brisbane in October for the Grand Prix.

I’ve learned lots of things over my few years at this game and I look forward to learning a whole lot more, but this weeks lesson is:

Do not shape your environment. Let it shape you.

- Chris Bewley