Give Victory a Chance

An amazing thing happened this past weekend.  It helps if I set the stage a bit.

My family has never been accused of being particularly athletic.  The greatest accomplishment I ever experienced on the field of sport was with my high school marching band.

Now, people generally assume that a guy my size had to have played some kind of ball at some point in his life.  When asked what position I played in high school, the answer is always easy.  I played bass drum.

So, it was with a certain mix of trepidation, bemusement, and hope that I watched as my son began his first experience with organized football.  I am not one of those sport parents who imagines that their child is destined for a pro contract.  My interest is to present him with enough opportunities to discover what may or may not click with him.

All of that said, an amazing thing happened this past weekend.

His team won.  His team won and he played a big role in the success.  I saw the light in his head come on and saw him begin to understand the game and enjoy himself.

In watching him play, I was struck by a simple thought.

You can never know for sure that you don’t like something if you never experience a measure of success with it.  You owe it to yourself not to quit without first experiencing a taste of victory.

Sure, it’s easy enough to decide to stop when it’s hard and you don’t understand and it all seems pointless.  But only until you get to a place where you have pushed past the initial awkwardness and difficulty and experienced a little epiphany, you won’t be able to distinguish between your dissatisfaction with the activity/job/responsibility/role/etc and your apparent lack of success.

It may not be that you dislike what you are doing.  It may simply be that you have yet to see what it’s like when you are successful in it.

Give victory a chance.  Then decide if you want to quit or not.

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It’s not the tools…

I love Norm Abram.  You know.  The guy from PBS.  Yeah, “This Old House” and “New Yankee Workshop”.

The guy is like a magician to me.  Most weekends I will get caught watching Norm talk his mysterious woodworking language, setting his table saw, and ripping through word with a silent confidence.

And, you know, when he’s done, he’ll have a beautiful piece of furniture or accomplished some great renovation.  It’s all very magical.

After every show, there is this little voice that says,”Well, if you had the right tools, you could produce results like that too!”. But deep down I know, it’s not the tools.

The tools are neutral.  It’s the vision and giftedness of the user that creates the end product.

Often, people hope to solve a problem (or expand a business, or achieve some other result) by acquiring new tools.

The real answer lies with Norm.  Find the person with the vision and the giftedness and see what they can do with the tools you already have.

Think about it.

While products and tools change, the only consistent thing has ever been Norm.