At the end of a championship game or series, you will often hear a rookie or a freshman from the losing team say, “we gave it our best shot and I know we will be back next year.” Unfortunately, the world of sports is filled with athletes with a “maybe next year” mentality; their attention is so focused on the future that they fail to appreciate the day-to-day grind that makes great athletes stand out from the crowd.
This mentality begins to go away in most athletes as their careers come to an end and the reality sets in that opportunities to achieve something special, to win championships, are gone. When athletes retire or graduate, many acknowledge that they wished they had taken advantage of opportunities that presented themselves during their careers. We can learn from these examples and make sure we take advantage of the opportunities presented in our lives.
In daily experiences as athletes or as former athletes, there are always opportunities to make a noteworthy, positive impact in our communities, on our teams, in our workplaces, and even in our families. In these instances of making something special happen, we can ask ourselves: How are we going to react when these opportunities arise? Do we acknowledge them, then take them for granted; putting in an effort that is ultimately not our best? Do we believe the opportunity will come again so we are not fully engaged in the present work? Or do we attack these opportunities with passion and fervor; giving our maximum effort to achieve the best possible results? Do we concentrate on this one opportunity in this one moment?
Our challenge in these situations is to be intentional about placing our Focus on The Now. We need to block out the distractions around us that hinder our ability to achieve the best results today. When we are intentional about having a Focus on The Now mindset, we can put ourselves in position to achieve the best possible results by being physically, mentally, and emotionally present. Being actively involved in a Focus on The Now mentality will open us up to a greater emphasis on our day-to-day performance, allowing us to be better citizens, leaders, athletes, employees, and family members. We can now achieve championship results without allowing ourselves the “we will be back next year” crutch.
A PARTING THOUGHT
My challenge to young athletes, parents, and, frankly, all of us is to think and act with a Focus on The Now mindset. Without the distraction of a future for which we presently have no control and a past that has already happened, we will have the energy, concentration, time, and will to strive for the best results daily. Habitually embodying this mindset will lead us to live in the present, daily!