In sports, whenever a team is not playing well, or has consecutive negative plays, the coach usually calls a time out. This stops the game clock and allows the coach to talk to the players in private, rethink original strategy, inspire the players’ morale, and modify what is not working. Once the players’ minds are settled, they return to the normal flow of the game. Hopefully after this brief pause, the momentum of the game will turn back in their direction.
Our lives are just like a game, where we are like players competing in a big event. Ideally, we should have prepared and have a strategy set for each day. But then something does not go according to plan, and we make a mistake. We forgot our packed lunch in the fridge! Then if something else does not go our way, like our car has a flat tire on the way to work, or we get into fender bender, our mind starts to worry, and we head to a dark and gloomy place. “There goes this day!” or “Why does this keep happening to me?”
Just like coaches watch games from the outside, we could apply this technique to see our lives as an impartial observer. It’s important to move away from life’s frantic state to our mind’s quietness, maybe breathing or meditating. We can then notice if mistakes are our own fault (forgotten lunch) or just life events (flat tire). Let’s also remember that life is not only bad, let’s focus on remembering the positive moments in between. When we commit errors, it’s important to remain objective, determine why we failed, and make sure we correct them, so they do not happen again. For example, from now on I will leave a handwritten note next to my car keys with the word “LUNCH.”
Also, like coaches, we can call time outs anytime we want! And the beauty is, unlike in sports when time outs are very limited, we don’t have to save them for the end of the game. We have unlimited amount of opportunities to stop the flow of the day, and assess how we are doing, what is going well and what needs improvement. We can change our own morale by being kind to ourselves, by remembering how many obstacles we have overcome, and by recognizing that it is a long season. In life, we are both the player and the coach, but we tend to mostly concentrate on playing because the game is so fast paced. Remember you are the coach of your life, and it’s OK to call time out.