Mind Over Sports

PEOPLE REFLECT US.

Posted on: May 17, 2015

If you want to know how you’re showing up in the world, all you have to do is look around you. If you see those around you as kind, pleasant and nurturing, they are only reflecting the signals you’re sending out. If you see them as hateful and mean-spirited, then you can be sure those are the signals you’re sending out.

I’m reminded of the story of two young Jewish couples who moved to a new town and met with the local rabbi. When the first couple asked the rabbi, “What are the people like here in this town?” – the rabbi responded: “First, tell me what the people were like in the town you just moved from.” And the first young couple told the rabbi that the people in their former town were very kind, very helpful, and were good neighbors. And the rabbi responded: “Well, I think you’ll find the people here in this town about the same.” And then the second couple asked the rabbi what the same question: “What are the people like in this town?” and the rabbi again responded, “First, tell me what the people were like in the town you just moved from.” And the second couple told the rabbi that the people in their former town were mean and vindictive, always looking for an argument and not good neighbors at all. And the rabbi responded: “Well, I believe you’ll find the people here in this town about the same.”

We are often quick to blame others for our own shortcomings, and we often see ourselves as victims. I once received a letter from the mother of a college-level volleyball player and the mother told me what a difficult time her daughter was having with her teammates. It seems they were treating her daughter badly and the mother asked if I would meet with the coach and explain the situation and then meet with the team to straighten out the problem. I explained to the mother, in as gentle terms as I could, that more than likely the problem wasn’t with the team but rather with her daughter. Her daughter should be looking at her own behavior rather than blaming her teammates.

There’s an old Hebrew saying that “Liars believe everyone around them are lying.” So the lesson to be learned is that if we feel good about ourselves and our lives are in harmony, then we will see the world around us differently than if we don’t feel good about ourselves and our lives are in disharmony.

If you’re an athlete and see your teammates as pleasant and nurturing, they are reflecting the signals you’re sending out. Another player on the same team may see the same set of teammates as being hateful and mean-spirited, because those are the signals he or she is sending out. So if you’re a coach, and notice a player is not getting along with teammates, it’s important to step in and help solve the problem by having your team become a support group. Many times you will find that the person who is negative is having problems in his or her personal life, and a support group environment will allow him or her to interact with other team members in a positive way. The result will be better team chemistry and cohesiveness.

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