The journey is tough…nobody said it’d be easy though. I feel confident in saying that anyone reading this wishes there were aspects of their life that they could change. It’s human nature, isn’t it? We all have things that we desire, ways we wish our lives were different. The grass is always greener on the other side. If we were to just have one more thing in our lives: more money, that new car, a bigger house, a different job…then life would be perfect. We’d have everything we wanted. I’ve written before about my own struggles with my mentality and how that’s affected my life. It’s been that way as long as I can remember. In college all I could think about was playing in the NBA. “If I could just make it to the league…then I know all my problems will be over and I’ll have everything I need.” Yet here I am writing this and my list of desires hasn’t gotten any shorter, and I’m willing to bet that if all of you got everything you wanted you’d end up feeling the same way. My career has been far from perfect. When you set out to accomplish something it’s hard to not have an image in your head of how it’s going to go. We all have expectations of the future and how it will work out for us. The saying goes “expectation breeds disappointment” and in a lot of ways that rings true. No player ever envisions themselves taking the path that my journey has taken me on. Like everyone else I saw it going differently. Many days and nights were spent lamenting over my situation, asking myself “why me?”. I’m human after all and when you don’t feel as though your expectations are being met, and you wonder if they ever will be, it’s natural to experience these negative reactions. Sometimes it feels good to wallow in that self pity, to feel yourself surrounded by the negativity and take on the role of the victim. After all, in the moment the world seems to be out to get you. I know for me that’s exactly how I felt. I was being cheated, wronged, and hurt by forces outside my control. However, we each have a choice in whether or not those feelings beat us. I asked myself, “Do I want to feel miserable for the rest of my career, always feeling victimized?” I knew that if I were to stay on that path, what could be a long career would be over before it really even got started.
I heard a story once about Phil Mickelson. Now, in no way, shape, or form am I a golfer, but the lesson I took from this really transcends sport. In 2010 Phil was on the 13th hole at Augusta playing in the Masters. His first drive left his ball resting behind three trees. Now, from the little I know about golf I do know that a conservative (aka smart) play would be to take a stroke and lay up back on the fairway for an easier shot at the green. Phil took the more dangerous approach and hit straight for the green from behind those trees. In doing so, he placed the ball directly on the green and went on to win the Masters that year. When asked about that shot and what was going through his head in making that decision he responded, “I love being behind the tree because that’s where I am.” That really stuck with me. What I took from that is here is this guy in an incredibly tough position, one that could cost him the win, and instead of feeling sorry for himself he was happy with his position because that was the hand he was dealt. There was no reason to be upset about what could have been or what should have happened because that was out of his control, and therefore, irrelevant.
In my life I’m learning to be happy with the position that I’m in, because it’s exactly where I am. Now, when I say happy I’ve got to clarify that there’s a difference between happy and satisfied. I am in no way satisfied with my position. I have dreams and goals I want to accomplish that I’ll never stop aiming for. However, I am happy with my life and where I am because it’s mine. I could sit and wish it was different in so many ways but where would that get me in the long run? It would only exhaust me and fill me with more negativity and drive me even further down. So even though this journey is tough, it is my journey, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Neither should you.