Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Game of Life

The so called 'game' of life, is just like most games, is generally measured based on winning or losing [or achievements & failures]. And for most teams the ultimate goal of any game is to WIN.

Think about it. The emphasis that most coaches put on their athletes is to win, the recognition that most parents give their kids is based on if they win & the pressure that most athletes put on themselves is around a win. Now, I truly believe there is nothing wrong with this at all, as it forces people to strive to be the best that they can & perform at the highest level that they can, every time they play. However, there is a catch. Here it is:

A definition of a WIN is - to achieve victory or finish first in a competition by outscoring the opponent.

If a team's [any team's] collective goal is to WIN and the definition of a win is above, then you would think [and 99% of people do] the general emphasis on playing the game should revolve around SCORING goals [or in life - around achievements & possessions]


You might ask - what the hell are you talking about? So, I am going to elaborate.

So many people focus on the end product and don't try to understand what GETS them to the end product. If every player went into any game to score goals and then evaluate their level of play by the amount of goals they score then most players will be either (a) be a 'ball hog', (b) always be disappointed with their level of play [as very few will score goals every time], OR (c) be BOTH. What people have to understand, is what they actually contribute to the overall TEAM's success (or ability to win games).

Cal Ripken Jr is a perfect example. Cal Ripken played Major League Baseball for more than 18 years at which he played 2130 games consecutively for 16 years straight. He never broke ANY MLB home run records, stolen base records, or hitting records. What he did beat was the number of games that someone consecutively played (without missing) in a row. Now, Cal Ripken will not only enter the hall of fame because of how many games he played in a row but because of his unbelievable defensive play. In the 1990 season, he made only three errors. He also set a record for shortstops by playing 95 games without committing an error. In 1990, the Baltimore Orioles [his team] finished only in fifth place, but Ripken continued to hit over 20 home runs and was runner-up for the Golden Glove award. In 1991, Ripken won the American League's most valuable player award for the second time and was voted the major-league player of the year. That year he would also win the Golden Glove award for the best defensive player and was named the most valuable player for the all-star game.

Now, using this example, if Cal Ripken evaluated his level of play by the amount of home runs he hit, he would have been disappointed every game he played and, most likely for his entire career. However, he knew that home run hitting was not his role on the team. It is not to say that he didn't hit any home runs or that he never wanted to hit home runs, it just means that he went into every game trying to be the best & most consistent defensive player that ever played the game of baseball - and he did just that.

So, for yourself - Determine what your role(s) is/are on any team that you play on [whether it be in your career or in life]. And then focus at being the best at that particular role. Now, if you have an opportunity [and it is 'your shot'] you MUST be confident enough to take advantage of that opportunity and must know when to hit the home run [or score goals]. BUT don't evaluate your level of play by the amount of goals you score [or possessions/achievements that you have] if your major role on the team is something different than scoring goals.

Remember, the scoreboard only displays the amount of goals being scored, the scorecard records the number of assists/faults that contribute to every win or loss. And if you don't know already the rest of the players & coaches all know who contributed to the overall WIN of the there is no need to show that you are better or worse than anyone else.

Just play the game!

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