I believe it was Albert Einstein who defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. A seemingly simple concept, yet many of us wrestle with its unseen complexity.
Most likely you have watched gymnasts and, if you are like me, freestyle BMX riders, take their three runs in their individual events. With each of the runs, these athletes are given an opportunity to improve their score.
Now, to an untrained eye, like mine and perhaps yours, many of these second and third attempts at a single event appear to be identical to the first. However, they are often not. In order to alter her/his score, hopefully for the better, the athletes must also alter their performance. So, however slight a difference it may be, an adjusted foot position or take off speed; doing something different will have an impact on the results.
Most of us are not gymnasts or X-game riders, and some of us are not athletes at all, but we are all participants in the game of life.
Sometimes we don’t get it right the first time. Failed relationship, terminated from a job, failing grade on an exam, unplanned pregnancy, time in jail. Sometimes we need another run at it-another opportunity to redeem ourselves.
The hard part though, is that in some of these cases, we get another run, then another, then another. Yet, we are still abusive to our partners, late to our jobs, putting off studying, having unprotected sex, and breaking the law.
The same behavior is producing the same results in our circumstances. The same is true for those working to save money, increase sales in a business, get a job, or even to meet someone new. If you are doing the same things, the same way, then, it is time to rethink those things and do something different.
I am one of those people who make notes about everything, not only so that I can remember them, but so that I can see things as they are.
Oftentimes, when a team plays and loses against another team, they go back and study that game. They watch game film and make notes to determine what things cost them that game. Then they practice something different in preparation for the next one.
Coaches and athletes understand that plays and strategies that worked against one team, may not work against another. They understand that they cannot go up against every team or even the same team with the same strategy and expect a different outcome.
Neither can you. As participants in this game of life, we will face a number of challenges with life’s events. When we don’t do so well our first run out, we have to go back and study that event. Learn from mistakes and missteps. Make notes about what you could have done better, more of, or even what not to do again. Doing so won’t guarantee a “win”, but it will get you out of your rut. Remember that successful people are those who had the courage to take another run at it after learning from multiple past mistakes. Stay with it and it will come together for you.
Contact columnist LaTonya Dunn at firstname.lastname@example.org.