Don't Get Mad, Get Better


My whole life I have absolutely loved basketball. Since I was in about 5th grade I dedicated nearly 3 hours a day simply to hooping in my dusty driveway. Raine, shine or even snow, didn’t matter, I wanted to play and I wanted to get better.


I still have multiple basketballs in my garage that were shredded to pieces and then popped as well as shoes that went through so much your toes stick out if you put them on. I loved basketball and I loved every single thing about it.


In middle school I started playing for the school team and by the time I was in 7th grade, I was Varsity Point Guard. For those of you that don’t know basketball, it just means I had the ball in my hands a lot. 


Now although I practiced all the time, I still wasn’t very comfortable in a real game so I always played well, but nothing amazing. Most of my playing time came because I dedicated myself to working harder than anyone else.


I would leave practice, PRACTICE not games, with cuts and bruises all over my body from diving on the ground and scrapping in the paint. Something that most players just weren’t willing to commit to. So although I was never the best hooper ever, I always got coaches attention and everybody loved playing with me. 


So once I was in highschool I immediately found myself as a freshman starting with the Junior Varsity team. A pretty high honor I thought! And although I loved playing, there was one main problem, I just wasn’t very good. 


I practiced all the time by myself. I always worked hard. I wanted it more than anyone. I just wasn’t an “on the court with the lights shining” type of guy. And because of this, slowly and slowly I grew more and more bitter while playing basketball. 


Coaches always wanted us to compete with one another at practice and over and over I was getting beat down on and embarrassed by older Varsity players. I just couldn’t keep up. I just couldn’t score. I just couldn’t do it. And rather than take it as a learning opportunity, I went the other way and just like a lot of other people…


I got mad. 


I grew frustrated with the fact that I wasn’t where I wanted to be. I grew tired of being shown up by older hoopers. And even worse, I grew tired of being shown up by younger hoopers! 


I grew so mad that I just stopped competing and since I stopped competing, I stopped learning. 


Guys were advancing their games and passing me, so rather than humble myself and compete to learn from them, I just got angry and quit.


And I think so many of us do this every single day.


We have some hobby or some thing that we want to excel in and be really good at, then look around at every else who is better than us, see we are not as good as them, and get angry.

 

It’s a terrible comparison game and the craziest thing is, I think it’s all wrong.


See when I started the public speaking game, I went through the same thing. I kept looking at the legends of the game that I knew like Houston Kraft and John Norlin and saw how far away I was from their skill and influence. 


I spent about a week being angry with myself, questioning why I could not speak like them ore be like them, and then it hit me. 


If I want to get better, why am I wasting my energy being angry? 


DON’T GET MAD, GET BETTER.


I had to slow myself down and look at the situation I was in. Here I am comparing myself to 30 year old professionals who have spoken and taught in schools for years and are the co-founders of a massive worldwide social emotional learning curriculum. They are both brilliant, literal professionals in their craft, and I’m mad cause I have been speaking for ONE YEAR and I am not like them.


Are you kidding me? I’m ridiculous. OBVIOUSLY I am not as good as them yet.


But don’t get mad, get better.


I started to reach out to each of them and ask for advice and support. 


Don’t get mad, get better.


I started to listen to them more carefully.


Don’t get mad, get better.


I did an internship with their company.


Don’t get mad, get better. 


I continued to ask them for help.


Don’t get mad, get better. 


And I began to flip my mindset from the need and desire to compete with them, and instead chose to try and learn from them. And only then did I start to learn. 


See I think once we can swallow a big fat pill of humility and focus on getting better, not getting mad, only then will we ever succeed. 


I wish I would have asked every single hooper I knew better than me to play me one on one every day after practice. And go in with the intent not to win, but to get better. And I can only imagine the player I would have become. 


And although that’s a really easy thing to say, I think it’s actually really hard to do. 


Its not easy to admit that we are not the best at our craft. It’s not easy to ask for help from everyone that is better than us, but I think it’s necessary in order to succeed. 


I think the simplest reminder we can tell ourselves everyday… 


DON’T GET MAD, GET BETTER.


And just wait and see where life takes you with that mindset.


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