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Managing Life’s Ups and Downs

February 2, 2013

Don’t we all struggle with the “ups and downs” of life?  I know that is the case with me being a school teacher.  Perhaps part of that has to do with the fact that I have a one hour drive there and back everyday so I have time to reflect on my plan for the day (Am I totally prepared?) and reflect on my day (was what I did what I wanted it to do?).  Maybe it is because I care so much about what I am trying to do.  It  certainly had some element that I know that I have a LOT of improvement to go as a teacher.  Some might argue that it is simply because I am getting old and cranky.  Who knows.

That is one of the reasons I really admire what Coach Brad Stevens of the Butler Bulldogs had to say the other day.  His team had just beaten Gonzaga University on a last-second miracle shot when everyone thought they were doomed to lose.  As the winning shot goes in, there is bedlam as the fans and players rush each other to celebrate the miracle win.  Coach Stevens, on the other hand, can be seen calmly walking to shake the other coach’s hand.  When asked about his ability to keep his composure in such a situation he said:

“It’s not about the shot.  You don’t evaluate your team on whether the shot goes down or not.  You evaluate your team on how well they played, how hard they played, how much they put in to get there.  I’ll let everyone else react or overreact to winning or losing.

We overexagerate winning.  We’ve had a ton of articles written about how great we are.  But we are no better than if that shot would have missed.  It has very little to do with that final shot.

My job’s not to be the guy that jumps around.  My job is to keep this thing moving in the right direction.” (source: Dayton Daily News)

Hmm.  So it is his job to “keep things moving in the right direction”.  Evaluation is on effort, not strictly on the results.  He leaves the overreacting to others.  That is awesome.

Here is a guy being paid a lot of money.  Every move of his is scrutinized every day.  He is dependent on young adults for the ultimate determination of his success.  A college basketball coach at his level is under a great deal of stress. But he has the ability to control his emotions to separate the final result from a discreet event (one play in one game) from the overall goal (have a team that plays with passion and toughness every second of every game).

That seems to me to be a great way to live our lives.  Have a well thought out plan and stick to it.  Know the few most important things you want to accomplish daily and measure your success against those. Be content that you are doing what you planned on doing.  Don’t let the lows be too low or the highs too high.  Pretty cool.

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