Originally Published on MomsGetReal
Raise your hand (safely, please… don’t drop your iPad) if you’ve heard someone say recently, “your thoughts create your reality.”
I thought so. I’ve even been one of them.
In the scope of changing your thoughts, there’s also the process of planting new, long-term ones… ideas about yourself that, no matter what, grow to become the rock that you hang onto when everything seems impossible and out of control. I’m in one of those situations right now, and I’m noticing my rock is playing a movie of the times in my life where I’ve created rituals for success.
It shocked me, too. 😉
My inner English librarian – who sounds like Dame Maggie Smith and dresses like the Dowager Countess of Grantham on Downton Abbey – says, “The girl who was constantly critical is now faced with one of the biggest challenges/opportunities of her life and her own brain is reminding her of times when she succeeded? Preposterous!”
But there it was. Staring me in the third eye. One of my own most-successful-rituals reminding me that this isn’t a time to be doubtful of my abilities.
So it goes like this. When I was in high school, I was the shy kid who didn’t have to work all that hard at school to be a good student and who played basketball. School came easier than basketball. I am not a natural athlete. When I run, in my head I think I look like Usain Bolt. However, if we go to the tape, I look more like the Tasmanian Devil of Bugs Bunny cartoon fame when he’s stopped and panting, because that’s how non-fluid and un-athletic I am. My mom always said that I made up for my lack of natural ability with plain guts, which was true, but I also made up for it with precision on the situations that I could control.
Enter free throws.
What better situation for a control freak than free throws? All play stops and every person on the court has to stand in two neat lines while they patiently wait for you to shoot. And I could practice them by myself as long as the sunlight permitted or the gym stayed open. I was a pillar of consistency, so much so that during my senior year when Coach had to pick someone to shoot free throws for technical fouls, I was usually the one stepping to the line.
Whenever I put my right toe to the line and let my left foot settle in, I’d dribble three times, spin the ball in my hand until it slid to a stop and I’d set myself. My mind was already seeing the ball go through the hoop by the time I raised my head to look at it. Did it go in every time? No. Did it go in 8 out of 10 times? At least. A stat any ball player would be proud of, right?
That image has been coming up a lot for me lately, as I leave for work before the sun comes up and get home long after it’s slipped down past the horizon for the day. I couldn’t figure out why, until yesterday when I was relaying to a friend how I wanted that feeling of certainty that I had when I shot free throws in my life now.
Then I realized, it’s not only in my life, it’s in my muscle memory and my ritual of thought. Am I going to get everything perfectly right? No. But 8 out of 10 will work.
What’s your 8 out of 10? What’s that one thing you do so blazingly well that you’re certain of it every time you step up to do it? That’s your free throw. Hang onto that.