The spring season brings rejuvenation and tryouts. Soccer tryouts, hockey tryouts and I’m sure many others. The constant evaluation of players is now a cultural norm. While it may seem like a necessary evil, it is our job as the adults or forward thinkers to ensure that it doesn’t become pure evil in the mind of a young player. The constant question can go swirling through their head “Am I good?” While it may be a common question, it is probably the wrong question.
Comparison is all around us. There are grades, likes, follows, rankings and so many other ways to compare people and anything else. Some of them are objective and others completely subjective. They are easy to focus upon because they feel real. A sense of power and prestige can be derived from comparison but the opposite is also true. It is often easier to feel powerless and insignificant because we are usually comparing our worst with our projection of other people. Neither of these pictures is completely accurate but the feeling of inequity can be overwhelming. So we often look for validation from others, such as coaches, teachers, parents or others with the question, “Am I good?” The answer is never going to satisfy in the long term. It becomes a button that needs to be hit every so often to keep things in balance. Multiple choice is not your friend in most instances.
Although most people avoided them in school, it is two open ended questions that allow for a more compelling look at one’s self. “How am I better than I used to be?” “How can I progress forward?” Both questions are asked with a leaning toward positive self discovery. Our brains are an amazing piece of machinery that will answer almost any question that we ask of it, even if it needs to make the answer up. Consistently asking “Am I good?” will inevitably lead to plenty of instances where the answer will be “No” because metric and competition change frequently. However by asking the open ended questions, the question sends a subtle signal that in some small way you are better than you were. Also there are ways to progress forward if you’re willing to look for them.
These are obviously not the only questions that can be asked. They are simply two examples that can break the comparison chain. Done consistently, proactive questions like these can be life altering because we are evaluating ourselves and our lives continuously. Wouldn’t it be better to stack the deck in your favor?
Have a great day!