Having participated in organized (and not so organized) sports my whole life, I am a firm believer that you learn much about life from sports. There are so many life lessons that I think we can learn from both individual and team sports that I could ramble on forever. I’ll start with just one today.
You can’t be great every day, but you can always give it your best. We’ve all had those days when everything goes right and we feel great, we know we look great, the presentation or test or race or whatever we have on the schedule that day goes even better than we hoped – we have a great day. In sports, it happens when you are ON. You make the saves or score the goals or set a PR or hit the target. It may not even feel like you have to exert much effort on these days, you just move and things go your way.
The lesson to realize is that these days are few and far between. Most days, we are less than perfect. We make mistakes and we don’t score. Our hair looks funny and we forget to bring some important papers to a meeting. What is important, on those more typical days, is that even though we may not be having a great day, we still need to give it our all. Doing your best and not quite getting there is so much better than phoning it in. Even if both get you to the same place – knowing you tried is so much better than knowing you didn’t. I’ve been trying to explain this to my son, who had one of those “great” games yesterday followed by a loss today. He got caught up in the high of the “great” and found the fall back to normal a bit discouraging. Won’t be the last time, so best to learn this lesson early.
I have always liked this lyric – “There’s no such thing as a failure who keeps trying. Coasting to the bottom is the only disgrace” (Blues Traveler, “Just Wait”). I think that sums it up well.