I coached a player a number of years ago who always had some new injury or sickness that she was battling. It felt like once a week that she would come into practice and explain to us her latest challenge. It was rarely something normal, like the flu. Most of the time, it involved three or four steps for her to arrive at her pain. Here is an example, only slightly exaggerated:
Me: Alex, what’s going on?
I don’t know Coach, whenever I sniff really hard and look to the right with my left eye, I get this throbbing pain in my throat.
Me: Gee Alex, I’m not sure what that could be.
Yeah, it really hurts.
Me: So, it only happens when you sniff really hard?
Yeah, while looking to the right with my left eye.
Me: Okay, I think I would try really hard not to sniff, while looking to the right with your left eye.
Okay, It’s going to be tough, but I’ll try.
And this happened often with her, or at least it seemed that way.
I get the same thing as I teach elementary students.
Um, Mr. Hendley, I’m not sure what’s going on, but when I bend my finger back like this (kid takes his finger and stretches it into unhealthy angles and positions) it really hurts
Me: Gosh I’m really sorry. I think maybe you should try not to bend your finger back like that.
Student: Okay, I’ll try.
You may think I’m joking with these examples, but I can assure you, I’m not. And as foolish and obvious as these examples may sound, I think we have some of these same challenges in our lives as well. I read this the other day in Mark Batterson’s Book, Wild Goose Chase.
“Our problem is not so much that we don’t know what we should do. We know perfectly well, but we just don’t want to do it”
I think there are many times in our lives that we know the answer as to what we should do, and maybe even more times when we know the answer to what we should NOT do, and yet, we choose not to listen to what we know.
Like Dwight Schrute said, “Before I do anything, I ask myself, would an idiot do that? And if the answer is yes, I do not do that thing.”
It’s certainly not ALWAYS that easy to decipher, but many times, I believe that it is as simple as not doing that thing.
If your finger hurts when you do that, don’t do that.
Regardless of what society says, or you think the Bible says, if spanking incessantly is not working for you and your child, don’t do that.
If a particular decision that you are making is consistently leading to a negative outcome…I’m not sure, but maybe you should not do that thing.
I think I sit and ponder sometimes, just long enough to rationalize a bad decision or to connect enough dots to make something sound better than it really is. When in reality, if I would just quickly consider past outcomes, I would have a pretty good idea of whether I should continue or not.
Maybe this is giving power to another individual, who doesn’t deserve it.
Maybe for you it is how you are interacting with your spouse, and what that generally leads to.
Maybe it’s how you approach your coach, or your players, and what you usually get back in return.
If there is something you are dealing with where you are consistently getting a negative or unpleasant outcome, I would encourage you to think about what role you are playing in that scenario. And if there is something that you are consistently doing, that is leading to your consistently frustrating results…maybe you should consider approaching that thing differently.