Thursday, March 13, 2014

Lessons From a Former Tomato

Shaun White, snowboarder extraordinaire, was being profiled in the New York Times, probably to help sell his new image (shorn of his trademark locks).
There were three points I found interesting:

(1) Along with the triple cork, White has been trying to learn life lessons like: If you’re nice to somebody, they tell three people; if you’re a jerk, they tell 10.

That is pretty much self-explanatory. 

(2) Still, White says, some have asked why he doesn’t just drop slopestyle, which has been dogging him to no end, and focus on the halfpipe and his business life, which he clearly loves. But White sees danger in not pushing himself hard. “I set out to do both events, and I don’t want to change my focus. It’s like you’re on a diet, and it’s no carbs, and then you eat a carb. It’s slippery slope, just half a sandwich. You lower your expectation, and there you go.”

White spends a fair amount of time these days assessing himself. His current appraisal: “Maybe things aren’t perfect, but they’re a lot better than they were before.

Complacency is when bad things happen. I find that there really is no state of static; there is only moving forwards, or falling back. After triumphantly conquering a flaw, unless the next one is tackled, the past will encroach, bit by bit, then lunge while the prey is blissfully unaware.
I'm not talking about aiming for perfection. If you shoot for perfection, you will never, ever hit the target. Just be real about what part of you needs tinkering, and sight for better. That target has a chance of getting hit.  

(3) Part of Yokomoto’s job is to keep White on track while at the same time reminding him that everybody has hard times. “He’ll allude to some high-profile person and say, ‘I just got off the phone, and they have bigger problems than you do, trust me,’ ” White told me. He finds this therapeutic. “It’s like when you see a couple, and you’re like: Why are they so happy? Why am I not? It’s funny. It’s nice to learn those things now.

That mentality shouldn't be encouraged. I would say it is less about hoping that everyone is more miserable than you, but more the understanding that everyone has their own burdens, some heavier, some lighter, and we are all the same in that.

I don't want to be the person wallowing in schadenfreude. But rather than putting up a wall between yourself and the world—that they have it easy while you have it hard—that's divisive, not conducive to achdus

The trick? BrenĂ© Brown, baby. Practice gratitude; it is impossible to have joy without it.   


Nechama said...

Agreed. My great-grandmother, who lived until nearly 104 told us that her secret to a long life is gratitude. The best attitude.

Princess Lea said...

That's the only way to reach 104!