As soon as I finish writing this, I’ll hop in the car, put on some tunes and drive 30 minutes to the gym. I’ll spend the next 2 hours playing basketball. If my friend Tony’s ankle allows him to play today, maybe we’ll go out for lunch and a beer afterwards. Catch some NCAA hoops action.
I love the game of basketball. I love everything about it. I love the gym. I love the feel of the perfectly round ball on my fingertips. I love the sound of a basketball bouncing on a wooden floor, the snap of the net. I love the satisfaction of seeing the ball go through the rim. I love the camaraderie of the game. I love the competition.
I love that when I’m playing basketball, I’m not thinking of anything else. I love the exercise, the work, the sweat.
I play in a YMCA league, usually three times a week. Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Pickup games start around 11:30 and continue to 1:30 or so. Of course, not everyone can play in such a league. Most people work during these hours. More than skill level, the prerequisite for playing in this league is having the freedom to do so.
I cannot imagine not having the freedom to play basketball (or travel, or ski) anymore. The choices I’ve made and the risks I’ve taken over the past decade or so have allowed me to create a life that revolves around my preferences. My life reflects my personal definition of success.
The more I feel free to do as I want, when I want, how I want, with whom I want, the more I see myself and my life as “successful.”
I mention this because I think it’s important to define what success means to you. Lots of other people will try to define it for you, and if you’re not clear on what feels best, then it’s rather difficult to create your life in purposeful way.
A good question to ask yourself is:
“I know how successful I am being by how _______ I feel.”
Notice that the question leads you to define success as a FEELING. When I send people this question, very often they do not read it carefully and fill in the blank with “… how much money I make.”
Now money is great and all, but no one really wants money per se. Money is just numbers on a computer screen, scraps of colored paper. Feelings make people happy. Not things. No, what we really want is what we believe money will buy us. In my experience, this is usually freedom.
In any case, having a feeling to orient around is super helpful for navigating through life. For me, when I come to a decision, I can ask myself whether a given choice with enhance or decrease my feeling of freedom. In this way, by choosing what feels best to me, I keep myself in the place of alignment where I continue to attract more of what I desire.
Going to basketball several times a week eats up a significant amount of time and energy. I could probably be a lot more productive if I did not go. Some would say I would probably be a lot more “successful” if I spent that time working.
But they’d be missing the point.
Because for me, I know how successful I am by how FREE I feel.
That’s how I win the game. That’s just what feels best.
How about you? How do you win the game?
Define and align.
And I’ll see you around the court.