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Write a bad first draft

There is a common misconception about football and football players. There seems to be a belief football players are not as smart as other athletes. The implication is you do not have to be intelligent to play the sport. The "dumb jock" motif is so far from the truth. Having coached baseball, basketball and football, I can say for certain the concepts and amount of game preparation needed for football far surpasses the other sports I have coached. More often than not it is the mental (not the physical) aspects of the sport which result in a player being unable to excel. We let every player know they need to treat our practices more like a classroom and less like a workout at the gym. To drill down on this point, we encourage our players to get out of there comfort zones and start failing because learning is more often a process of failing, re calibrating and learning from our mistakes.

The concept of learning from our failures is nothing new and most people when they consider their accomplishments can remember the setbacks which led to their current success more than they tend to remember the things they did correct. The mistake so many people make is not failing more often and becoming too content with their current level of achievement. Psychologist, Dr. Jordan Peterson, characterizes this in one of his lectures as the inability to "write a bad first draft". He tells his students to stop thinking about the massive term paper required in his class and simply go write. Of course what you write will be horrible. That is the point. You have to build upon your failures as the next draft should be better than the first.

You are either moving forward or backward as an athlete. You are either getting bigger, faster, stronger and smarter or you are going backwards. There is no level of stasis. The world around you is resetting the bar every day. What it takes to compete and win this year may not be good enough next year and it certainly won't be good enough at the next level of competition. Better your best every day.

For me this is summed up in the bible in what is known as the Matthew Principle:


“For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” Matthew 25:29


This principle is recited to remind us to be faithful to God. What God measures to us is to be cultivated and developed. We will often fall short of his standard but as long as the aim is righteousness we will be given more responsibility, more more enlightenment and more greater peace . The converse is applicable as well. Less faith and no desire to improve your relationship with God will result in a separation from God.

God calls us to daily write the bad first draft and then to improve on it each day thereafter. He encourages us to rely upon him and not our won understanding. He calls us to have faith and reap the benefits of strong faith. We are called to have faith just like the Centurion who told Christ he did not have to come to his house to heal his servant. He had faith that Christ's words alone were enough to heal those afflicted.

Wherever you are in life, the Matthew Principle applies. Want to reap more, start sewing more. You want to have a better job, study the craft, learn from others and work you butt off! You want to be a better athlete, workout, eat right and study your sport. So, get up from the latest setback, dust yourself off and start writing a new bad draft.

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