On Fridays I like to share experiences I’ve had during the week with patients and in my personal life that I’ve found significant. I like to share them in hopes that you might find value in them and have something resonate with you in your life.
A concept from coaching that applies to life. When I coach my football team, one of the things my assistant and I try to teach the kids is how to deal with bad plays. Even the best players make mistakes, so it becomes crucial to deal with them in a constructive way. We teach them to quickly evaluate the error and whether it was mental or physical so they can try to avoid it going forward. More importantly, we teach them to have a short memory by forgetting the bad play and instantly getting focused on the next play. This helps make sure one play doesn’t turn into two, a bad game, or lack of confidence.
This simple concept has profound applications in life. When things go wrong (and they will), the key is to accept them and move on as quickly as possible. Learn what you can from any errors you make and use that information going forward. Making a mistake is never an excuse to stop trying, reduce your effort, or allow passion or enthusiasm to fade. When you screw up, dust yourself off and get back in the fight.
A question we should all ask ourselves. Anyone with gardening experience will know that for flowers to grow properly they will require the proper nutrients from sunlight, soil, and water. Without the proper balance, nothing will grow as efficiently or effectively as possible. As humans, we require our nutrients from what we ingest, how we treat our bodies physically, and what we put into our minds.
Therefore, an important question is what nutrients are you putting into your bodies from these areas? Examples of poor nutrients are heavily processed and non-nutritious foods, alcohol, smoking, lack of exercise, heavy consumption of television and social media, avoiding challenges, poor relationships, and more. Conversely, a healthy diet, avoiding toxic substances, exercising regularly, quality time with people that make you better, and avoiding excessive screen time will all stimulate your body and mind to perform better. There is not a single thing in your life that will not be improved simply by increasing the good “nutrients” and decreasing the things that rob you of them.
Something that helps me. When I played football in high school and in college, I must have heard the phrase “the eye in the sky doesn’t lie” a million times. This refers to the process of games, (and sometimes practices) being recorded, evaluated by the coaches, and then shown in front of the team. Regardless of excuses, the “eye” always shows proof of effort and performance. It was always nice to have personal highlights pointed out by the coaches, but the memorable times were when the coaches showed my embarrassing moments and total misses. Those hurt, but they made me want to adjust, so they never happened again.
Having absorbed this concept from football, I find it helpful to apply it to my daily life. I like to imagine that the eye in the sky is always on me as I treat patients, interact with my wife and children, coach my team, exercise/train, compete in races, and more. My goal is to behave in a way that if I were to see those actions replayed to me on a screen, I would be proud. Sometimes that happens effortlessly, while other times I would be mortified to see myself. Imagining that all my actions could be played back to me has assisted me in striving for greater integrity and quality in everything I do. What would the eye in the sky say about you?
A concept I utilize. I have encountered many losses in my life. These can be defeats in sports, business ventures or decisions that didn’t go right, coaching blunders, failures in races, and many more. Regardless of the failure, I always like to do what I call “getting back in the lab.” This means I do an honest assessment of what went wrong, how I failed, and why I failed. Then, just as a scientist would, I begin to fix those mistakes by introducing innovative ideas, controlling variables, and eliminating things that proved not to be useful. This is done alone with no fanfare.
Like anyone, I hate to fail. That said, I really love the process of getting “back in the lab.” It is an opportunity to heal my wounds, restore my confidence, discover new approaches, and re-dedicate myself to meeting my goal. I always find it empowering and I would estimate 90% of my greatest triumphs in life have come after I’ve done this. If you have failed to succeed in something important to you, do not hide from it. Accept your failure and get to work on how you’ll do better the next time by working through it on your own.
Some quotes I love.
“Out of every one hundred men, ten shouldn’t even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back.” – Heraclitus
“You cannot see your reflection in boiling water. Just like you cannot see truth in a state of anger. You only find clarity when you are calm.”
“Remember, when you are dead, you do not know you are dead. It is only painful for others. The same applies when you are stupid.” – Ricky Gervais
“Victims make excuses. Leaders deliver results.” – Robin Sharma
“You become unstoppable when you fall in love with the process. Not just the progress.” – Marcus Rice