PUBLISHER'S NOTEBOOK: Time to 'go with the flow'
Wednesday, January 02, 2013 4:54 AM
"Change is happening in your life, so go with the flow," stated my rolled up piece of paper from the fortune cookie that completed a recent Chinese meal.
The "change"portion seemed appropriate as there are some personal changes occurring. Besides, we are all dealing with changes as the consequences of the senseless school shootings weigh on our minds and the ramifications of the looming fiscal cliff, whether we fall off or our leaders come together to make adjustments, will hit us soon.
The "go with the flow" part is tricky, though. I've always embraced change, but the quantity of change lately seems to cause more worry about potential problems than an attitude of sitting back and enjoying the ride.
Soon, I had put the fortune cookie out of my mind and was checking out an exercise and health blog called "Human Limits" by Mayo Clinic physician Michael Joyner when "flow" came back into my head. His topic for Christmas was "mindfulness," or paying attention and being more engaged in what you are actually doing.
He cited a book, "Finding Flow," which explores the psychology of engagement with everyday life. The author writes about flow, which is sometimes referred to as getting into the zone.
Now, as a nearly lifelong basketball player - of the pickup game variety, yet still my favorite sport to play - I can relate to the zone. It is a magical experience that doesn't come often, but when it does, it is like a dream that is hard to explain - your body just goes while your mind seems blocked out, or, in reality, totally focused.
Joyner's quick summary of flow is that it is the "internal satisfaction associated with engagement in a challenging activity and doing it well for its own sake independent of an external outcome." He adds that it isn't too different than the definition of success and other ideas promulgated by legendary basketball coach John Wooden, formerly of UCLA.
Since basketball has taught me a little bit about flow, even if I don't really understand it, perhaps a basketball coach can provide a little guidance for what seem like especially crazy times. I followed the link to Wooden, and although he was before my time, I found he has a lot of wisdom and thought I would share since we all seem to be seeking a bit of wisdom as we begin navigating what could be a rocky 2013.
Here are a few of his life lessons, referred to as "Woodenisms," that have withstood the test of time, as compiled by the staff at ESPN. Just sit back, go with the flow and enjoy them.
"Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out."
"Never mistake activity for achievement."
"Adversity is the state in which man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then."
"Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are."
"Be prepared and be honest."
"You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one."
"You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you."
"What you are as a person is far more important than what you are as a basketball player."
"If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?"
"If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything. I'm positive that a doer makes mistakes."
"It isn't what you do, but how you do it."
"Ability is a poor man's wealth."
"Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be."
"Consider the rights of others before your own feelings and the feelings of others before your own rights."
"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."
"Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability."
"It's not so important who starts the game but who finishes it."
"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts."
"It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen."
"Talent is God-given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful."
"Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming."
"Success is never final; failure is never fatal. It's courage that counts."
I hope you found something helpful in these Woodenisms. Thank you for your support during 2012 and hoping that you find your flow in 2013.