One of the things I found most inspiring about the recent NCAA Men’s College Basketball Championship Finals was that the sports announcers kept using the word “fearless” to describe the Duke players – especially the freshmen players – who just drove the ball in amazingly aggressive, wild and yes, fearless ways.
Sometimes it didn’t work. But that’s also what was thrilling about their taking the risk.
And that’s why those freshmen showed us all, really, how to play ball in life.
We are all naturally fearless – especially when we’re young – because our memory bank hasn’t yet been fully loaded with the repercussions of what’s to come from risk taking; meaning the setbacks, rejections and challenges we will inevitably face.
I’m not saying there aren’t challenges in our youth – but because our brains are still developing and we’re still open to trying so many different things – we generally bounce back quicker and are less likely to personalize everything.
So we continue to participate in things regardless of the consequences. And we don’t yet ascribe personal meaning to our setbacks. In other words, when we fail at trying something, we don’t shame ourselves by calling ourselves, “Stupid,” or telling ourselves, “We’re never going to make it.”
At one level that’s inspiring because we’re creative risk takers and innocent and wild.
At another level it’s also scary because we’re creative risk takers and innocent and wild.
(This is why car rental companies won’t rent vehicles to people under the age of 25! Their reptilian brains are still developing. i.e., they’re risk takers, innocent and wild!)
As adults, we need to try to get back to that way of creating. Taking the risks. Going for stuff. Being fearless. Knowing that you’ll fail but taking the leap anyway. We need to stop ascribing meaning to every action we take that doesn’t work out the way we thought it would and stop punishing ourselves for attempting it in the first place.
We have to give up being risk-averse to being more like our freshmen selves.
We’ll make more errors driving to the basket, perhaps, and some of the risks won’t pan out. But with no attempt there is no success.
And that’s how you end up winning an NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.