Last week we somehow found ourselves watching an interview-style documentary with Snoop Dogg** that highlighted different stages of his life and career. As we watched the colorful depiction of Snoop’s life and success, I couldn’t help but think, “Man this guy is never stressed out.” I mean if you were Snoop, what on earth would be stressful for you? The guy’s a millionaire with an entertaining career and I’m pretty sure he’s been high for the past three decades. Even though his life is far from what I’d ever desire for myself, I still found myself with a nonsensical pinch of envy.
It went something like this: Snoop never has to worry about anything. I want to never have to worry. Snoop has millions of dollars and an entourage. I want millions of dollars and an entourage. This whole thing is embarrassing and ridiculous, especially because as I recant the moment in my head, my own voice sounds like Veruca Salt’s British whine. The point is, I was having a bit of a blah day and fell into the vulnerable place of comparison.
A few minutes later, the musical score became darker as the topic changed to Snoop’s convictions of felony drug possession and subsequent murder charges in the 90s. And just like that I no longer wanted to be like Snoop.
The point here? There are a few. Comparison is a dangerous and pointless game. The grass that appears greener is often astro turf, and no one has a life without challenges. The highlight-reel glimpses we get into each other’s lives tend to convince us there are no bloopers or outtakes, but there are. There ALWAYS are. And personally I really like bloopers.
**Saw him in concert in Tucson in 2001. He showed up four hours late to HIS OWN SHOW.
Moving right along, I figure if you can extract life lessons from rappers, why not also find a few from pro athletes.
I’ve watched hundreds of baseball games in my life; seen some incredible plays and disastrous gaffes. The Red Sox hold a special place in my heart, and with that love comes an engrained affinity for tenured stars like David Ortiz, Big Papi.
During yesterday’s game, Papi struck out in the seventh inning with two runners on base, losing an opportunity to take the lead in a series the team was trailing. While unfortunate, there was nothing that significant about the moment; all batters strike out, it’s part of the game. Still, I was hit with a realization that this is one of baseball’s greatest, most-esteemed hitters, and when he struck out, everyone just moved on. It didn’t tarnish his history of success and no one held it against him.
I was suddenly astonished with the fact that someone who’s defied incredible odds to rise to the elite ranks of professional baseball, someone who earns gazillions of dollars and is a national icon, can still strike out/screw up/have an off day. And it’s just a blip on the radar…no one dies, life goes on.
Later in the game Ortiz hit a homer, driving in three runs to win the game. He effortlessly did precisely what he failed to achieve just minutes earlier, and all was well in Red Sox Nation once again. You can watch below, it’s a thing of beauty:
Here’s what I walked away with though–people who are the best in the world at what they do still mess up sometimes. And they get through their flubs not by obsessing or over analyzing, but by staying confident and refocusing on the next opportunity.
There are days and weeks when I know I’m not on my game and I tend to get down on myself about it, but the best way through the downturns is staying forward focused. Yesterday’s game was a reminder than everyone hits bumps in the road and it’s no reason to chastise yourself. People remember your golden moments, and a strong reputation won’t be tarnished by a single strike out.