I am not going to participate in the books-I-read race, because I didn’t read that many books and I don’t like to lose. 😛 So instead, I want to share the article, the speech, the book, and the blog post that changed me in 2020.
The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance
by Timothy Gallwey
This book was published in 1972. It talked about the mental game of sports. It has all the mindfulness/woo-woo-ness of the flower power generation. It required professional tennis players to believe there was a “self 1” and “self 2” trapped inside their brains.
It is also the book which Steve Kerr, the NBA player/coach with 8 Championships, and Pete Carroll, one of only three American football coaches who have won both a Super Bowl and a college football national championship, would re-read every off season.
It had a profound impact on how I considered my approach to coaching. What can I do to make mindfulness part of leadership at the workplace? Why is it so hard to make it work? Can we become unconscious/self-less without incense and gongs?
A Farewell to the NBA Bubble
by Ben Golliver @ The Washington Post
Golliver reflected on his experience at the NBA bubble. It was an incredible feat. Not only did the NBA brought the season back from dead, they innovated the experience, protected everyone involved, entertained fans, and distracted us, albeit briefly, during the pandemic. It was a wonderful example of excellence and innovation. It was also the best summer camp for grown-ups. The NBA achieved what most governments couldn’t do.
“Most nights, I stayed up past 3 a.m., and I occasionally watched so much basketball that I left the arena dizzy and lightheaded. Work-life balance was nonexistent, and my iPhone screen time peaked at more than 11 hours per day in August. I coped by shopping online late at night; I now own the same polo shirt in seven different colors. I don’t even like polo shirts.”
McCain’s Concession Speech in 2008
I almost forgot that politicians could be honorable, graceful, respectful, secured, and confident, until I re-read McCain’s magnanimous speech.
“Sen. Obama and I have had and argued our differences, and he has prevailed. No doubt many of those differences remain. These are difficult times for our country, and I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face.
I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our goodwill and earnest effort to find ways to come together, to find the necessary compromises, to bridge our differences and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.”
“We Love Because We Care”
@ Blog of Austin Kleon
I finally found the secret to finding our passion. It’s “give a shit.” And the best part of this secret sauce? Unlike passion, which is not within our control, we can choose to pay attention. When we pay attention, we start to care. When we care, we start to love.
“We don’t care for children because we love them. We love them because we care for them.”Alison Gopnik from The Gardener and the Carpenter
I hope I take this to heart more often, especially during tough times. That’s because whenever I remembered that my mere attention could yield something that was mighty, something that gripped the soul, I persevered.