This week’s blog has turned out to be the hardest one written so far. I wanted to create an inspiring piece about starting anew, about not giving up when the going gets tough. I found some harmless strategy for improving well-being and decided to adapt it in FPL terms. It got personal. I got angry. I made a discovery about myself. I am still working through it.

I’m publishing anyway.

Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception

Machiavelli, military theorist

Here in the UK, it’s mid-winter, dark,gloomy, we are trapped at home,shadowed by uncertainty, struggling against adversity.

Much like in FPL, which should be a joyful escape from reality, but this season has turned into a battle of attrition.

‘the sustained process of wearing down an opponent so as to force their physical collapse through continuous losses in personnel, equipment and supplies or [wearing] them down to such an extent that their will to fight collapses’

Attrition warfare defined by The International Encyclopedia of the First World War

With random and chaos still looming large on the horizon, as the halfway point approaches and the cliched echoes of of ”New Year, New You” ring out, is it actually possible to jump-start a faltering season, regain control and navigate into a far more rewarding position ? I say yes.

I’m not talking about playing my shiny new wildcard, with all it’s magic carpet properties, that will instantly transport me into a land of abundant points and unlimited free Just Eat deliveries. I am going to use cognitive reframing.

The essential idea behind reframing is that a person’s point-of-view depends on the frame it is viewed in. When the frame is shifted, the meaning changes and thinking and behaviour often change along with it.

Time for some introspection to reset the mind (and subsequently the game play too).

Firstly I want to address 2020. And I don’t mean ‘a review’ of the season so far, which makes it easy to focus on negativity.

Wanna get playful and access the subconscious?

Get a pen and paper, draw 2020.

Seriously, don’t think about it, just draw what 2020 represented to you.

Now like me, screw it up and bin it. 2020 is over, let it go, you can’t change the past, release yourself from it’s chains.

And so a new dawn, a blank canvas, before focusing on schemes, hopes and plans, enjoy the moment and choose an empowering word for the road ahead. Growth ? Serendipity ? Persistence ?

For me it will always be Discovery.

So that’s what I will go with, to inject some fun and adventure, I am going to turn the upcoming game weeks into a treasure map to lift the spirits.

I intend to keep it simple and plot down the important things.

Wildcard. There’s 1 prize. I can add all 3 chips too. No need to squander them too soon, just admire their potential.

How is my crew, my core group of trusted players ? Looking good as a whole.

Now my starting point on the map. It’s strong, tucked just inside the top 200k. Also, as a consequence of joining the Elite community I have joined various mini leagues, I’m not too badly placed in any of these either.

Focus. Look for golden moments, simple achievable goals that will bring control back. For example I find rolling transfers very empowering,. Also to spice things up and make life more interesting, seeking out better content providers and cultivating new friendships; hearing new, challenging opinions to educate and strengthen the mind.

Talking of taking control back, how to be agile in an energy sapping campaign – plug some of those energy leaks. Ditch the negativity bias, lose the time wasters, the people who like to make a drama out of a crisis, and stop wasting time working through variables that haven’t even happened yet, live for the now.

On the hunt for unpolished gems, where might there be opportunity ? The blank game week 18, double game weeks 19 & 26 (and I will also log the high possibility of more double game weeks as future spoils for the taking) Go get them.

Now for the big question. X marks the spot. What is my ultimate treasure, what do I really want ?

What do you want, and what do you really want?’ Go make yourself a cuppa and think about this. I did.

I want to achieve my highest ever overall rank. Of course I do. This was my preseason aim.

Now if I delve deeper; what I really I want is respect and recognition from a community I have grown to know and love.

STOP right now, thank you very much .I’ve thought about this overnight, yes yes I’ve addressed the adventure, revealed what I want, and what I really want, but what about what I really, really want ? Where is my fun ?

I had to stop writing my blog when I started to deep dive and really, really think about what I want from FPL.

I had to walk away.

Who am I to preach philosophy in a crisis ?

Visualising 2020 in art form, then binning it. WTH ? Who do you think you are ? Just because I am top of the moderator mini league and randoms in chat say ‘perhaps we should be playing like Blonde’ …

And how am I playing ? Passively, defensively and conservatively. Balance and patience. Rolling transfers. Making safe picks.

My rank, make the call, luck or skill ?

Actually I prefer dullard (Copyright Joe from Fantasy Football Scout) and if you get it right, you will make steady progress and be able to achieve a top 10% finish. But it’s so boring.

Realisation point – will I ever be satisfied ? I met my mid season target but now I’ve changed the goal posts and want ‘fun’ instead.

I turned to my online support network for some help and let’s face it, distraction.

How do people get their fun playing FPL ?

My long suffering Elite doubles partner JayC

Fellow blogger and intellect DreadFPL

DreadFPL said he had fun from re-calibration and the subsequent green arrows. Also fun from purposely not having Spurs assets. ‘The plans I have given birth to’, not those generated by others. ‘People might assume I’m the worlds best player, they hear the sound of confidence’… ‘I like to think I’m giving balanced information’ … ‘I’m happy with what I’m doing’

Respected player and Twitter phenomenon LinnFPL

Elite development guru and sage, Firetog

Firetog says fun is green arrows .. ‘or maybe the fun comes from when your plans come to fruition…add mini-league rivalry to the fun list – the banter and competition of not being bottom of the pack, as long as you have other people around you …family.’

Straight talking Yorkshire man Pauly

Shed builder (and presenter for Elite) Jason

As he often mentions, gets his kicks from hitting, 80 points lost this season – but his fun quota is overflowing

Long time player and hangout protagonist Andrei D

And so here I am.

Like a Schizophrenic lead in a B movie, fighting with myself and hogging the dialogue until 2 become 1.

What to do. I’ll think about that tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day.

To be continued.

Inspiration for this week’s blog

my whole life up to this point

Harbourboy popping into chat and live streaming his New Year’s Eve party (including the music)