Today will be either a "good day" or a "bad day". Today will contain both successes and failures. If we were to keep count, we either had more of one than the other OR we view specific successes or failures to carry more weight than others. Today will be full of all kinds of actions and circumstances and behaviors and we both consciously and subconsciously evaluate those moments as either successes or failures or "good" or "bad" or "wins" or "losses". What should our response be tomorrow? If we have a good day (success), then we should use that positive experience as fuel and as momentum to have more success and an even better day tomorrow. However, if we had a bad day (failure), then we can either have a bad attitude and tomorrow will be repeated and possibly worse OR we can see tomorrow as a new day. A clean slate. A "do over". Better yet, we can choose to learn and move forward and be better. We have a choice to respond appropriately to our circumstances and not merely allow them to dictate our life.
Temptation is not a bad thing. Temptation is the opportunity to do what is right or correct. Fear is not a bad thing. Fear is an opportunity to trust. Stress is not a bad thing. Stress is a demand placed on our mind and body and that demand often allows us to improve and to become better. Rejection is not a bad thing. Rejection is a "redirection" toward something that will be better for us. Challenges in our lives are not a bad thing. Challenges provide an opportunity to learn the skill of resilience which is the most valuable skill a person can acquire. We can choose to be limited by our current and past circumstances by how we label and define those circumstances OR we can define our life by choosing our attitude and the manner in which we view our circumstances.
As Jan Term classes end this week and students begin to make decisions on how to spend Jan Term break, most have a plan. Sure, there are some that have "no plan", but that, in essence, is their plan. Others haven't gotten around to a plan yet and figure that they will make a decision when the time comes. That works, for some, but it isn't the most efficient use of time. When it comes to road trips, few rational people simply get in the car and start driving aimlessly, hoping that they arrive to their destination at some point later that day. Some have better plans than others. Where to stop for food or a bathroom break (Starbucks are much better than the Exxon)? Where to fill up with gas? How long it will take? The best route to avoid traffic or poor weather conditions? Unfortunately, GPS has ruined a lot of the planning and has resulted in a lot of people to simply use the Waze app as their "plan". Showing up to practice and simply doing things (ie - following the coaches directions) with the hope of "arriving" at a specific destination is as flawed of a plan as getting in a car and simply driving without a direction or destination in mind. As practice begins, athletes should come to each practice with a plan. What do you want the result to be at the end of practice? Work harder than you have ever worked before? Learn something new? Do things more intentionally? Be more focused? Be more coachable? Be more encouraging to TEAMmates? Get more uncomfortable? Believe in yourself more and take more risks and accept that failure is not failure but simply a step closer to success? "Wanting" to be "better" is not a goal. It is more of a wish than a plan. With no classes today to bog you down, take a moment and plan out your practice and you will get closer to your season goals today.
Merry Go Rounds (or Carousels) are fun! Merry Go Rounds that have the plastic rings that you can grab and throw onto the stick or into a hole are even more fun. Then there are the Merry Go Rounds with the very unique and special "Brass Ring". If you can reach out far enough and risk getting uncomfortable, you can grab a hold of that special brass ring and then turn it in for a big prize (often a free ride). When Merry Go Rounds first came into existence over 100 years ago, the animals in the center of the ride moved up and down and everyone wanted to ride those. The animals on the outer edge of the ride were static and didn't move so in order to persuade riders to get on those animals, the operator of the Merry Go Round added the rings, including the brass rings. Some kids still chose the "jumpers" in the center because the risk and challenge of reaching out to get the rings was too scary and the immediate reward was automatic. No risk involved. That is fine, if you don't like free stuff. That is fine if you are only interested in being normal. That is fine if your goal in life is to participate but not to achieve more. Reaching for the brass ring has always been synonymous with striving for more or being our best or living life to the fullest. There are few times in life when we actually have a choice to play it safe or to take risks to achieve more. A day is coming soon for us all to make that choice.
There are a lot of great reasons to help others. Unfortunately, helping others is often seen as in opposition to helping ourselves. "If I help others, then I am taking away from my own prosperity. I need to focus on "me" so I can maximize my efforts". And when it comes to a choice, we usually choose "me" over "we" and definitely over "you". Obviously, having the mentality and the heart to put others first is a desirable characteristic. However, if that is too much to ask, then look at the research. Motivation is one of the keys to personal success. When we are more motivated, we are more likely to repeat desirable behaviors (like working hard, putting in time and effort, giving our best). Research shows that the greatest untapped source of motivation is a sense of service to others; focusing on the contribution of our work to other people’s lives has the potential to make us more productive than thinking about helping ourselves (Give and Take by Adam Grant). It makes sense. Most people struggle with confidence, doubt, fear, anxiety and depression because they are focusing too much on themselves and not looking more at others. The more we are "inward focused", the more we get caught up in our failures and weaknesses and have a hard time seeing our strengths. In contrast, when we help others, we see that life is more than our own selfish desires and that life is more than just about us. So when you find yourself falling short of your own goals and hopes and dreams, then take your eyes off yourself and spend some time to help others so that they can reach their goals and hopes and dreams, and you may find that you both end up winning in the end.
"Glass half full or glass half empty". The question refers to whether you are an optimist or a pessimist. Do you see life in a positive way: "glass is half full", or in a negative way: "the glass is half empty"? An important distinction. But another question to ask is this: "What is your glass filled with"? The content of the glass is important because when the glass is tipped over and the contents spilled out, they end up all over the place. A glass filled with water can be easily cleaned up with a dry towel. A glass filled with motor oil causes a bigger mess and a mess that may last for a while. A person filled with love and respect and a positive attitude toward others is not exempt from being spilled over. But when they are tipped or knocked over, the love and respect and positiveness spills out all over other people. When a person is full of bitterness and anger and resentment and negativity is spilled out, then that is spilled on to others, as well. And if the glass is full to the brim of these things, when the glass is merely jostled a little bit, the contents get out and impact others. We may not be able to control the volume in our glass but we can control the content.
"Give and Earn"! Not a real thing. "Give and Take" is actually a saying. It refers to a mutual agreement. You give something and you get something in return. Pretty fair system. LIFE DOESN'T ALWAYS WORK THAT WAY! You may give and never get. You may give and give and others may be the only one's who do the taking. We may give our time and effort and talents to achieve a specific goal and then "expect" that in the end, we will be allowed to "take". Unfortunately, some people need to give more than others. Some of us may have to give more and do more and sacrifice more in order to achieve the goals that someone else may achieve in a less painful manner. If our goal is worth pursuing, the amount of sacrifice shouldn't matter and measuring that sacrifice with others is a fruitless endeavor. As the season winds down, goals will be achieved and others won't. As we look back on the time and effort and sacrifice, could we have spent more time, put in more effort and sacrificed more in order to achieve our goals. Could you have given more in order to earn your goal.
Control what you can control, and Pray about the rest!
If success were easy, everyone would do it and then it wouldn’t be so special.