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  February 15, 2013
In All Fairness...

 

The other day, I was watching my favorite college basketball team play on TV. The game was incredibly exciting with the score all tied up with 2 minutes to go.
 
The opposing team attempted a shot but missed.  The rebound of the missed shot was collected by a player of the opposing team due to him pushing one of my players to the floor in what was an obvious foul.  No whistle... no foul.  An easy "put-back" basket was made by the rebounding player (since his defender was now on the floor).
  
As a passionate fan, I found myself screaming at the referees (although since I was sitting in front of my television some 1500 miles away... I highly doubt that they heard me).

I yelled out-loud, "How could those guys miss that play... it was right in front of them!!".

Then as the ever present optimist, I thought, "well they will surely make it up when we get the ball".

On the ensuing possession, our man drove to the basket only to be thrown to the floor by the defensive player... whistle blown... OFFENSIVE FOUL on our player!!.

The TV play-by-play man couldn’t hardly believe the foul call and described the call as a travesty...

At this point my blood was boiling... now with less than 45 seconds left and down by 2 points... it was time for a defensive stance...

My team played hard man-to-man defense for 30 seconds but as the shot-clock wound down, an out-of-control guard from the opposing team ran into a solidly set defensive player for an easy charge... whistle blown... DEFENSIVE FOUL!!...

At this point, the players are going crazy... the coaches are going crazy... the media announcers are going crazy... how could the call possibly have been made that way!!...

Three plays... three horrific calls... which ultimately decided the game...
  
The final buzzer sounded and my team lost by 4 points...

With the game now over, I regain my composure...
  
The events of the last few moments gave me a moment to reflect... and once again use the experience to gain some insight and review a couple of life’s lessons...

It’s only a game

Although the game was meaningful at the moment... win or lose... it’s still only a game (although it can be argued that college football and basketball have become billion dollar businesses as well).

As fans, we can get wrapped in the emotion of the game. I suppose it’s healthy to display some passion from time to time proving that we’re alive inside and that we have the capacity to care about something.
  
A game, no matter how important it might seem at the time, can never bring true meaning to a person’s life.  It is strictly entertainment.

True meaning comes from helping others, while leading a rich, productive, and fulfilling life not by living vicariously through sports teams, Hollywood celebrities, and/or business icons.
  
We need to forge our own paths and create our own life worth living.

Success isn’t always in our own control

A few months ago, I lost a large sale to a competitor... even though I know in my heart... that we were the best-fit solution for the customer. In addition to having the best solution, our pricing was much better than our competitor’s.

But in the end, this customer decided to go with our competitor because they had a longer history and a stronger brand name in the market... not because they had better products or pricing.

After receiving the bad news, (and in order so that I could at least learn a lesson from the experience), I asked the buyer (of whom I had now developed a good relationship with), what more could we have possibly done to win their business.

He answered me candidly by saying that we could have given them the better parts for free and we still wouldn’t have been considered...

The decision had been made by others far before we had ever given them our proposal... the deck was stack against us from the beginning...

Both basketball teams had played extremely hard that night... but in the end... the game’s outcome (success and failure) was in the hands of those not even playing (referees).

Sometimes these things happen... and there is very little we can do about it...

We’d like to believe that we’re in total control of our own destinies... but in reality... most of the time we’re not.

Trying hard doesn’t always equal success

In the classic movie Rudy, a young man without any outstanding physical attributes for playing football, manages through sheer heart and determination, to join the practice squad at the University of Norte Dame. After a series of improbable events, he is allowed to suit-up for the last game of the season and through crowd support, manages to play in one-meaningless play at the end of the game making a tackle.
Rudy is then carried off the field like a conquering hero.

Daniel "Rudy" Ruettier’s heart-warming story of overcoming adversity is perfectly suited for a feel-good Hollywood tale.

The reason we love stories like Rudy’s, is because they are the exception rather than the rule.

The truth is... a lot of people try real hard at trying to achieve a certain level of success... but success can be elusive... with only a narrow margin separating those at the top from the rest of the pack.

Competitors put in the time and energy... training and preparing... executing to the best of their ability.

In a horse race, a horse may win by only a nose over the course of a mile... but yet that horse will win 50% of the purse as compared to the second-place finisher who will win just 25% of the purse. The winner of the race wasn’t twice as good as the second-place finisher... rather just a nose better... but sometimes this is all it takes to separate a winner from an "also-ran"...

Most contests, regardless of how hard the combatants try, will produce only one winner...

This doesn’t take anything away from the losers who tried just as hard... there is no joy in losing... but there is no shame either...
  
Life isn’t always fair

Today several youth sports programs now regularly distribute trophies to all participants rather than to only the winners.

The idea behind this practice is that all of the participants were giving an equal effort so that they are all entitled to be winners.

Although this practice might be considered good for a young person’s self-esteem, it is a bad way to teach them life skills that they may need in order to truly compete one day.

There are times, when things will not go our way... we might get knocked down... we may have others determine our fate (good or bad)... we may be unlucky...

We may lose...

And that’s okay... life isn’t meant to be fair...

But what we can do is to pick ourselves back up... brush ourselves off... and try again... and keep going... to battle another day...

This is not always an easy thing to do... nor should it be...

It just makes the wins taste sweeter when they do come...

Thank you for your support for OptiFuse, where we might lose from time to time... but we’ll never stop trying...

 

Jim Kalb
President
Email -
jimk@optifuse.com
Website - www.optifuse.com

Blog - www.optifuse.blogspot.com
Twitter - @OptiFuse


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Life on a Rollercoaster...

Love or Trust?...

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Opportunity Lost...

The Foreseeable Future...

Your Best Shot...

A Life of Resolve...

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