Monday, November 4, 2013

Obstacles or Opportunities...You Decide

     As a coach I have always told my athletes "hills are opportunities". They can be seen as obstacles in your way or slight inclines that provide opportunity. In training they are opportunities to get stronger, in a race they are opportunities to pass those who are weak. Obstacles can ruin your day, but opportunities allow you to seize moments.  

     What are the hills in your life? At any given moment you may have several answers to that question, we all do. Struggles and challenges in our lives can be difficult but they are what define us as individuals. We may often wish we didn't have them, but then what would life be without hills that cause us to struggle?

 - Would you learn as much?

 - Would you appreciate as much?

 - Would you ever experience the thrilling joy of a victory, or the humbling emptiness of a defeat?

     The point is we have struggles for a reason, it is called LIFE! Sometimes we will overcome our struggles, sometimes we simply won't. How we react though is what is important as we deal with the obstacles placed in our way. Does our attitude at least give us a chance, or does it make like Dikembe Mutombo and block any hope of a successful outcome.

     It is the difference between the "I gets" & "I haves", the difference between the "I'm blessed" and "Why me's", the difference between seeing an "obstacle" or seeing an "opportunity".  Again, that does not mean the opportunity always turns out as a success, but at least your attitude gives you a chance. This is true when it comes to online learning and educational technology, but big picture it is true when it comes to the thing we call LIFE!

     What spurred this blog post today? Over the weekend I was reminded of the story of Heather Dorniden, a middle distance runner for the University of Minnesota. In 2008 she entered the Big Ten Indoor Championships as a favorite in the 600m race. Sweat, perseverance, and hard work had gotten her to that moment, a moment where she had an opportunity to take home a championship for herself and more importantly score for her team. At the start of the third and final lap, while in first place, Doriden's feet got tangled with a runner from Penn State. She took a terrible fall as the other three runners all passed her up. At that point with 200m left and 20m behind she had a choice to make, she could make excuses and stay down or she could get up and finish...

     I would argue that she made her choice long before she ever fell. Unconsciously we all make split second gut decisions everyday based on who we are as people. The questions for us is this...
 "Do we automatically begin making excuses, or do we attempt to make jaws drop?"
Make some jaws drop this week, perhaps your own as you amaze yourself with what you can do if you will just get up!