Opportunities To Fail

Asked to assume the task of fashioning a winning team from a motley crew what do you do with the clueless?

The assumption here is that we have a talent deficit and an excess of misfits. A dangerous and disqualifying assumption, but since we cannot afford the luxury of alienating a single player, the task at hand presents an interesting insight into how we think and opportunities to fail.

Why opportunities to fail? Isn’t that a concession to defeat before we even get started? It is. But that is not the crux of our dilemma. We are well along that greased path. The crux of our dilemma is how to think such that we can turn the ship that has long set sail and encountered rocks that have compromised our hull. 

Consider this question: What is the difference between two babies born the same day to two sets of parents, one rich, one poor? 

Some may say,” No difference”. Others may say, “Money”. Your answer may be informed by your observation or your experience. Pay attention. Before long both babies start to become aware of “features” associated with their respective parents, and the anxieties or assurances communicated voluntarily and involuntarily by their approach and reaction to life.

So, here we are trying to fashion a team using ideas that we have internalized that pits us against ourselves. In other words, the foundation of our concepts of reality is woefully and badly flawed, but, in the meantime, the beliefs and assumptions to which we have been conditioned, cultured or persuaded, unless we find through religion, links, fortune, or defiance to throw that yoke off and find more meaningful replacement, the momentum of our trajectory is predicated on our early assumptions.

But games are a saving grace for every motley crew even as we fail; so spectacularly. The problem is not that we fail, that’s a given synonymous but not caused by our background or legacy. It’s a given because we do not like to interrogate failures or examine our own complicity in affirming debilitating ideas, or worse challenge unflattering labels we are given to wear with our Sunday Best.  

The difference between success and failure is not talent or brains. It’s discipline born from or developed from confidence. The difference between the two babies whose lives will diverge is confidence.

So back to the task at hand. The first order of business is not to win but to restore confidence and allow latent and natural talent to displace the limits we had been fed. Raising horizons that have been hammered into the mud doesn’t need criticism of our missed opportunities, but instead the assurance that opportunities will come again as we practice, work on techniques, build bridges, allow our self-worth to be guided by something other than our circumstances and our predicaments.

For one truth we will discover as we take pride in our ill-fitting uniforms and hastily secured footwear is that the champion in each one of us sleeps until it is awakened by positive encouragement, or God forbid insults from the opposing team.

But rather than descend into the hooligan caricatures to which we have been so predictably provoked so that we disintegrate and implode, we have a better option that the rage to which we affirm our dignity. 

Our dignity is not under siege in and of itself. Rather, our thinly resourced relationship with our confidence is being challenged, whether you are pulled over for a taillight infraction, wearing a mask or driving a car that marks you as an imposter. But that’s not an issue as long as you know you are not an imposter. And if the police consider your blown taillight an infraction to undermine your confidence in who you are, challenge him in court.   

“But you do have a taillight out”, and some will say, “So”?   

We have been conditioned to affirm our guilt, and it is guilt to which favored members of our society are not subjected. Nobody is a second-class citizen until you agree that you are. And if the police suggest you are, challenge him in court.   

We lose more games by not engaging the levers that rearrange how we think and see the challenges that inundate us.     

For all the fire and fury of the team we face, our own disorganized and belittling ways drain us of the focus and energy that would make us formidable. Yet in the interim, practice, fidelity to process, raising horizons and correcting flaws are the keys to progress.  

Circumstances are no match for your resolve and confidence well resourced. Affirm the spark God placed in you.

Peter Peterkin, Readers Bureau, Fellow

Edited by Jesus Chan 

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