Friday, 8 June 2012

When We Believe

We want to believe. 

It's a universal human trait. Sports can bring this to center stage because instead of armies and religions, we can invest into our favorite teams without (usually) bloodshed. Last night LeBron James made many believe. Not that he's one of the greatest to ever grace the NBA--we already knew that. But we believed that's what a man looks like when he realizes his potential.

Let's step back a moment to 2008. It's the Olympics and Usain Bolt is the fastest human alive. The gun pops and the 100m race is off the blocks. Bolt immediately jumps ahead of his competitors, showcasing his aweinspiring speed and talent. For 9 seconds, the universal human spirit is enriched by the reminder of how great we can be. About how it's worth it to be the best at whatever you do. Not for the adulation, but for the sake of doing something no one else can do.

But then sometimes happens, something spirit-breaking. 

Usain Bolt showboats, eases up at the end, and effortlessly wins the race. He kicked his legs into the air and held his hands up. While he still beat the world record, he didn't fulfill his potential. Just take a look at the video for proof.
 He was young and in peak condition and his world record could have been even better. But instead, he wanted to brag during the biggest moment of his life. And that's what I remember most about him: that he acted like a jackass and let us all down by scoffing at destiny. And now, he's slower than he was and is complaining about the new Omega starting blocks as an excuse for his time slipping.

He awakens the conqueror within.

Fast forward to last night. LeBron has the taste for blood in his mouth and the hunger for victory burning in his soul. His eyes flash focus. He dominates the court, every inch of it. Slamming down rebounds, exploiting every defensive gaffe, and puzzling the Celtics with  twisting, vexing driving lanes to the hoop. At halftime, he said he only wanted to be aggressive and keep up the aggression. And that he did. And we love him for it. He took what was his. He awakened the conqueror in us all. The pursuit of excellence that drives the building of cities and great romances. LeBron dominated for four quarters and rightfully annihilated Boston. And I believe once more that potential fulfilled is beauty incarnate.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Are you as good as you think you are?

Well, are you? 

Think about the last mistake you made. Betting it was wrought from the karmic crime of hubris. Hey, happens to me all the time. Whether I'm playing hard for the win in a match or even reading some work and incessantly analyzing. It's our nature to think we're good. We have to or else we get depressed. Comes from a very basic drive to breed--"my genes are better than yours," said your school-yard zygote to your competitors.

But what if they're not (and they probably aren't). There's always someone better than you are. Never forget it. In fact, cherry top it with that there are more than a handful people better than you at living, or cooking, or tennis, or riding a carousel, whatever. That motivates me, after I shrug off the feelings of inadequacy of course. If it doesn't motivate you to be better, examine why. Competition cleanses us of the extraneous and if you can't even be competitive with yourself, Houston--we have a problem.

"Brent, you're being judgmental." I can imagine you say, "it's only your first blog post back since 1989 Tiananmen." Alright, I'll ease off on the unsolicited advice. I was writing a book today (for work) and was reminded that most of my best work comes when feel good, yet don't trust what's coming off my finger-tips is my best work. One's first try is often the right direction, but usually never the complete, illustrated map. Kick your own ass every once in a while (not too often or you'll bleed on your favorite shirt accidentally and you don't want high dry cleaning bills).