The journey is the destination
From high school, all through college, and almost all the way through grad school, basketball was the driving force behind what I did. It was the reason why I did just about anything. It defined what I would read, study, even the job offers I would reject. It defined how far I was willing to push myself: to be the first on the court, the last off it. I loved every second of it. I even relished the injuries that came with it for they were crucial in my development as a person. And so in my journey to become who I am. Rehabbing from sprained ankles and torn ligaments, all I could think about was getting back on the court.
What drove me was not the idea of riches of the NBA, of becoming one of the elite (although that was a pretty big motivation and an beautiful dream). But what drove me was something simpler, to be the best that I could be.
Basketball was how I learned to enjoy the journey and not just crave the destination.
A source of truth
When I started college, the campus lacked a proper basketball court, leave alone a team. My parents were somewhat happy, thinking less time on the court would mean more time spent studying. But the results were quite the contrary. Unable to give my best in basketball, I pulled back in other areas and my studies suffered as well.
It would be years before I fully realized what basketball meant for me, what it did for me. Basketball was my source of truth: the yardstick by which I could measure what I was giving to life, to myself. There was no way to lie to myself on the court. It was clear, either I was faster, or I was not. Either I made more shots than before, I did not. There was no grey area.
My epiphany came after a few substandard years in the US. Years where I let go of the vision of my life, and settled into a complacent routine. The job was nice and cushy., work not so hard, a steady paycheck. All came together, and I settled. And so the epiphany: Compromise is infectious. Not so much to other people, but to oneself. Compromise in one area, and pretty soon, it spreads into every other aspect of life. Basketball prevented that for me. When I let go of my vision of “being the best that I could be on the court”, I did not replace it with another vision. Without a compass to guide me, I lost my way.
Belief and vision
We need to find our vision, our source of truth. This vision feeds belief. And we need to break it down into smaller steps so we can measure our progress against it. In some ways it is essentially goal setting, but I think it goes beyond that. Goals are simple, measureable. Vision I believe, is the constant pursuit of perfection, where each finish line is a new start line in disguise (check out the video below), ending directly or indirectly in realizing the infinite being that you are.
My own journey inwards and upwards began when I started pursuing fitness again. I had found again someone who would not let me lie to myself. Pushing me to excel again. And the thing about excellence is that it is infectious. You start to push for it in one area, and it will take hold in other areas as well, as long as you are true to yourself.
Do you have your source of truth picked out?