“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
What sets us apart but our thoughts? Someone sees each shot (missed or made) as a way to improve their game. Another person thinks “why bother I’ve missed 9,000 times?” and both are right.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” – Henry Ford.
When we ‘miss’ an opportunity to ‘make it’ we have learned something if we chose to think about the ‘miss’ in those terms. People with regret often recount the 9,000 missed shots. What would it look like if they believed those shots helped them refine their skill? What would it look like if they chose to forgo regret, and instead embrace the idea they have been given 9,000 opportunities to learn?
Maybe we only truly fail when we fail to learn something. Maybe this failure to learn keeps setting us up to make the same mistakes over and over. We need but look at our life to see if this is possible. Do we have the same patterns in our relationships, reactions and world view? So how do we break those patterns? How do we shift out of old thoughts that keep us stuck.
1. We stop thinking people or ‘life’ are doing anything to us. Other people’s actions and reactions is about them and has nothing whatsoever to do with us. My daughter made a smoothie tonight and it blew up all over the kitchen. An old thought pattern could be “why is she doing this to when I’m so tired.” A new thought pattern could be, “yep I’ve done that before too, it’s a right to passage when using a blender.” Which thought pattern has the power to bring me closer to my daughter? Perhaps that is the one I hang onto if I want to be joyful.
2. We decide that we have the power to change our thoughts. Someone attacks us and we may think “what did I do wrong”? We may also think “people are so angry they are always lashing out and here is more evidence”. Instead, we can flip our thinking. We may want to consider what the course teaches us “an attack is a cry for help”. We may think “this person may be afraid or stressed”. Maybe we just accept that is just how they chose to be and no matter what we were are doing they are looking for an unconscious excuse to discharge their anger. When we consider these possibilities, we are able to step away from their reaction and be non-reactive.
3. We can chose to be joyful. When something happens, we may chose to see it as another opportunity for learning. Sometimes we may get the lesson right away. Other times, we may have to practice over and over before we notice our skills improving. In either case, we can choose to be joyful and recognize that nothing is happening to us. This lesson is for us. It is for our learning and improvement.
In my early twenties I had a tumor on my thyroid and had surgery to remove it. In my 30’s I had to have emergency surgery for a life threatening condition. In my early 40’s I was hospitalized for another life threatening condition. In all three cases, my thoughts were about learning and understanding my conditions so that I could take better care of myself. I did not dwell into “why me” or self pity. These were challenges, and yet behind the challenge, was the idea that I could learn something new. As a result, I have radically change my understanding of how to take care of myself.
Taking action to protect my health takes more time and energy than most people have to invest. I embrace this work as something that just ‘is’ and get on with living my life. I could have let these setbacks be an excuse to stop taking care of myself. I could have gone down a path of giving up and letting those set backs spiral me into a myriad of health problems.
When my daughter almost died, and was in a coma for 10 days, at the age of 4, I was able to use the wisdom I had gained to help her recover. If I had bailed out on my health, I may not have known what she needed. In that moment, 20 years of life experience and learning gave me the skills to help her on a deep and fundamental level. What would her story had been, if my own thought pattern had been different?
“A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results.” – Wade Boggs.