If you ever feel like you’re stuck, like you’re not going anywhere, the best thing to do is to take a clean break. Just disconnect.
Once a year, I travel back to Morocco with my parents. In this line of business, I don’t get to see them that much.
Even when I’m home in Sweden, I don’t really see my parents: I always just hit the PC and practice. It’s important to me that I travel with them at least once a year, to enjoy some family time and reconnect with them.
I used to think that taking a break simply meant ‘not playing League of Legends’ but it’s really much more than that. I could stop playing the game for a while but I’d still be connected to social media, keeping up with everything going on. My brain wasn’t taking a break.
Even though I was not actively playing the game, I was seeing it every day on my timeline.
With that in mind, when I went to Morocco in 2018, I deleted every single app on my phone.
It was the most blissful week of my life. I could finally think for myself.
That week gave me a chance to reflect on what a journey my career has been so far.
After I finished school, I started my journey as an electrician but I quickly realised I wasn’t on the right path. I spent a while trying to find myself and find out what it is that I enjoy doing.
I was playing League of Legends at the time and I really liked the game. On a whim, I decided I would try to go pro.
Then I tried, and I realised just how garbage I was.
I sat at home in the darkness playing solo queue for the whole of 2014. By the end of the year, I hadn’t really improved that much at all. I had a terrible attitude towards the game.
By mid-2015, I still hadn’t got anywhere, and I thought that maybe I shouldn’t continue wasting my time on something that wasn’t going to happen.
I went to Morocco to visit my family, and I didn’t play for a whole month – my family there didn’t have the Internet.
I was disconnected.
I was enlightened.
Whilst I was there, I went on a journey with a group of people with Moroccan heritage. The organizers offered to show you the roots of the country: they took us to Casablanca, Marrakech, the Sahara desert as well – we were just enjoying life, seeing new things.
My family is from Casablanca, so I ended up staying there for a while.
In that journey, I got the chance to take a step back and look at things from a different perspective.
When you play immediately wanting to achieve your goal, you get impatient. Looking back, I was immature back then, I was trying to achieve things when I hadn’t even taken the time to fully understand.
If you do the same thing over and over, you stop seeing things for what they are.
After taking a step back and going a month without playing, I realised exactly how the game should be approached: I shouldn’t be mindlessly playing solo queue and hoping that I become better, that’s just not how it works!
The mindset shouldn’t be: “I want to go pro, so I’ll just play solo queue until it happens.” It should be: “How do I go pro?” It’s only then that you start taking the time to study your own VoDs and learning from your mistakes.
Once I returned to Sweden, I started playing League again, only this time I took a different approach.
It took me a week to get my mechanics back. After that, I achieved in a few weeks what I hadn’t been able to do in two years and climbed to Challenger immediately.
I was more patient; nothing could tilt me. Teams started noticing me and I continued working my way up the ladder. Just a few months after returning from Morocco, I was already experiencing competition in Europe’s national leagues: London with Team Infused, then Spain with CooLife Gaming.
I had always wanted to go to the LCS and I was worried that I would get stuck in Spain if I played there for too long. There was absolutely no money involved in the regional leagues at the time – you didn’t get paid.
I remember returning home after a split in Spain and my parents being like: “You’ve been sitting home being a useless potato for two years. You should do something.” I needed to start earning some money.
I thought about going to Turkey, but there was some shady stuff that made me think twice about it: the team I was speaking to there were saying there was no salary on the contract, and that my compensation would depend on my performance. Good luck with that!
Obviously, I did not take that offer, and I’m really glad I didn’t: I would have been stuck there for three months at the least.
Instead, I went to Russia to compete with Team Empire in 2016, before heading back to Europe to try and qualify to the EU LCS through the Challenger series in the summer. Even though I failed, I was still glad I got the chance to play in the Challenger Series.
To my surprise, I then got the chance to play with ROCCAT, in the LCS – I didn’t expect that one at all. I moved from ROCCAT to Giants for the 2017 Spring Split.
That was a testing experience. I lost every single game and got relegated, but I did learn a lot about the importance of team atmosphere.
I went to Schalke 04 in the summer and to be honest with you, I remember I wasn’t really that motivated to play League of Legends anymore. I had lost so many times by that point, I didn’t feel the enjoyment of playing League anymore. I didn’t show my true potential.
The major turning point was when I returned to ROCCAT in 2018.
I really enjoyed playing League again, and I gave it my all. It showed: some people thought I played really well, saying it was probably my best ever split, but I don’t think that I was even close to my potential.
I’m still working towards becoming that complete player, and I’m hoping to show that with Schalke 04 this year.
Being in the pro scene, you have a lot of things on your mind all the time – what to tweet, how much to practice, when to rest – it’s important to disconnect from it all from time to time.
Every time I come back from my trips to Morroco, I return with a renewed perspective – I’m myself again, ready to be the best I can be.
Image Credit: Riot Games