As parents, we spend a lot of time advising our children to be good sports. The ump’s call stands. Not every debate judge will deliver feedback in a warm and fuzzy manner. You won’t always be invited.
In truth, I find this easier to teach than to adhere to on my own. If the waitress spills a glass of iced tea on me or another shopper cuts in front of me in line I may not throw a fit, but chances are I’m seething for a while.
Being a good sport is really about acceptance, a goal many of us will strive our entire adult lives to achieve. Acceptance that you can’t make everyone like you. Acceptance that some things aren’t fair. Acceptance that sometimes something that could have gone to you – a contract, a job offer, 2nd chair in the band – will go to someone else because you had a bad day.
When one of my kids has a setback, here are a few of the things I remind them:
- You cannot control how someone else responds – you can only control your own response.
- You can’t change what’s already happened, but you can choose what to do next.
- Buried within most disappointments is an opportunity to learn something.
Sounds preachy and mom-like doesn’t it? But reality is life doesn’t always go the way you want it to and you’ll need to decide whether to accept it or resent it. Acceptance feels a lot better when you can get there.
How do you turn negatives into positives? Send your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org – if I use them I’ll feature your business.