Life lessons can come along at the most unexpected times.
I was taking racquetball lessons from my instructor last week.
After I did my required hitting-for- accuracy drills, we moved into simulated play. (By that I mean, I served and we played. Unlike a real game, I kept retained serve even after I failed to return a ball.)
My coach is an exceptional player in his own right.
I hit a ball really well. (I wish I could say it was technique. It was luck, more than skill!)
My coach swung his racquet and missed the ball.
I was stunned.
But what stunned me most were the words that came out of his mouth. “Stupid ball.”
Stupid ball? I laughed.
It wasn’t until later that I realized I’d learned an important life lesson.
When I miss a ball, I say, “Stupid me. I can’t believe you missed that. Obviously you didn’t have your eye on the ball. How could you be so stupid?”
I thought about that more and more. Emotionally, a bad shot has to be easier to shake off if you think “stupid ball,” rather than “stupid me.” “Stupid ball” makes it easier to get back into the game, makes it easier to focus.
I can apply that philosophy to other areas of my life. Don’t get me wrong. I will continue to accept responsibility for my mistakes. But on things where I beat myself up needlessly with negative and defeating self-talk, I’m moving away from “stupid me,” and into “stupid ball.”