In regard to playing red vs blue, one might divide the motivation for playing into two basic categories winning and fun. That is to say that some people might say they are basically playing for fun or to win. Some might further suggest winning might be fun.
There is an interesting comparable observation we can make in relation to poker, which has created the player that habitually rages over lost monies in the name of winning. This player can’t possibly claim winning or fun is their motivation, yet they must believe their reason for playing is some combination of both (otherwise why would they play and get so upset when they lose!?)
In today’s poker game it is this player type that is believed by the “old school” players to be the fuel for the game. For this reason the archetypes shark and fish has arisen in the vocabulary of the professional (and ignorant) player.
I want us to observe something deeper, that these “winning” players can’t possibly have understood for themselves, and this is in relation to learning.
When a poker player plays poker primarily to win (without much thought of improving through learning), often times (enough that I wouldn’t bet against it!) they do not progress over time. They try to win, by trying to win harder, and if this strategy and their skill set is not enough to win (especially over time when the field is also no doubt improving) then they become the fish that was described above and lose their shark qualities.
Of course there can be natural winners with natural talent, but can one hope to become a player of natural talent? And can’t natural talent improve (some can’t)?
So truly, in order to win, be a winner, or bask in the fun of winning, one should concentrate on improving through learning rather than winning. Such a strategy of always improving has a FAR greater chance of creating a more winning record over time. If one could combine this with certain magnitudes of improving, or even just incremental steps, one could probably guarantee this success.
There is a great trick here of course. The general player will want to suggest that the want to win is enough to inspire improvement through (natural) evolution. Furthermore they will present strategies that focus on the want to win, but as though they are strategies designed to help them improve.
Playing to learn is fundamentally different than playing to win. They are quite far apart from each other. What I what to suggest is that playing to learn is what is fun, and it just so happens to be the best way to win, over time.
The opposite then to me, competing in order to get good, is quite illogical.