Social status is unholy and thinking about it makes you incompetent. Allow profane contamination into your head-temple => desecrated temple => temple doesn't work. Satan is lord of This world, meaning the social world, in contrast to the next, which is the real world.
While I agree with the general thrust of this post, the specific example is a poor fit for the topic. While it is true that a watched pot doesn't boil and when you're looking/hoping for things, they happen less often, in the specifics here you can and should brute-force the issue.
“This time I will win. I will absolutely do it.”
You're not thinking about engineering a win. You're thinking about the social position of having won. To be worthy because you succeeded.
Maybe this is even the right mindset if you're playing social games. I don't know, I play video games, not social games. When playing a video game, or performing any other challenging task, it's time to set aside all social things and focus on the task.
If you thought you would win and you didn't, that means there's something you thought was true that wasn't. Find the untrue belief and fix it. Try again. If you win, you didn't have too many untrue beliefs. If you lose, you still had too many untrue beliefs; find it, fix it, try again. Or: do your set 1s, the solar set.
You can also play weird psychological games to set aside your ego and thereby engineer a win without thinking about it explicitly. Ego, in this case, means your self-assessment of your social position. Having set aside your ego you have cleared up space in the mind and will perform slightly better. Perhaps you will trigger some lunar path reflexes. This is unreliable, however. Doing it the solar path way is much more direct. Dare I say, more honourable? Further, lunar path improvements are invisible until a threshold is reached, whereas solar path improvements are always tangible.
Put it this way: "I will win this time." Okay, why? What are you going to do that's different this time? If it turns out you're wrong again and that doesn't work, how is your behaviour going to differ yet again for next time? As some say, feelings aren't facts. (Literally untrue but you know what I mean.)
"The answer is that, aside from the benefit of physical development and the sociability involved, it will eventually put him in a situation—say on some pub trip with his teammates—where he forgets his desire for a woman and at that moment, when he has genuinely forgotten, he will become attractive through indifference."
The problem with the incel is basically narcissism. His problem really is social development and demonstrations of same, but he's not willing to admit that's the issue, so you have to dishonourably trick him into it.
The modal psychological need for the incel is to prove they're worthy just the way they are. That they're lovable and deserve love. Generally their mother was far too distant and they crave the childhood validation their mother failed to provide. It is not a coincidence that incels usually seem arrested in childhood, like they never grew up.
However, the point of women isn't to fulfill psychological/ego needs. The point of women is to get them pregnant and then raise children. As such, they want to know your genes will make healthy children (good at soccer) and you will be a good father (have friends).
Or: the point of women is to make them mothers, not to have them mother you. This is a problem when you're more interested in being mothered than in making a mother.
However, if the incel puts aside the status games and lets go of the "need" to have their ego in a particular state, then they can decide that, okay their mother didn't count as a mother but having sex is still important to them, so they can pursue women directly rather than getting tangled up in baroque angst that has to present itself as something other than itself. They can't change the past but they can at least stop buggering the future, and have some dang kids. That Darwinian imperative is insistent; life is better if you can tell it to sit down and shut up.
P.S. "oddly enough, I never seemed to get stuck on the final level—the most difficult—only in the higher intermediate stages." Happens to me too. I wonder if it has something to do with wanting to demonstrate "effortless" victory? The task isn't so trivial anyone can do it effortlessly, but not so challenging that anyone would require focus and dedication. It's an edge case where some are naturally gifted enough to do it effortlessly, and we want to demonstrate we're the haves rather than the have-nots.
Only we've wrongly estimated the difficulty. Just on the far side of possible. Oops, haha.
More importantly, nobody is watching and virtue-signalling is pointless.
Either virtues are obvious and you signal them effortlessly, or they're not worth the effort, or nobody will credit the signal even if you emit it. This goes double when there's nobody to see the signal. Okay it's a video game, but if you want to win, just win; don't diddle around and try to prove random nonsense.
Further, signalling that you usually just win, regardless of the effort involved, is itself a virtue signal. Trading a failed signal for a real one.