Friday, July 23, 2004

Show me some determination

Cecilia's murderer caught?

I think I've been talking about the problems of the human race enough lately. Let's talk about something on the other side of the emotional spectrum.

Who do you think will win?

Going back to ludicrous situations. I recall this time when I was in Toronto for a CCC summer urban ministry project. I was eventually delegated the photocopy guy, among other things. So one day I'm given this poster to photocopy. I walk outside and it's a REALLY windy day. What happens? The wind pulls the poster out of my hand and sends it flying down the street. Fun. Providence had the street clear because of some red lights on both sides of me, but you have to consider where I was. I was at Bloor and Spadina, not exactly the quiet corner of downtown. And this paper was happily dancing down Bloor, one of the busiest (if not the busiest) streets downtown.

So I'm running after this paper and can't catch up. Then the lights in front and behind me turn green and the cars start coming. Yippee. So I start sprinting as hard as I can and finally get the poster into my hands and my feet on the sidewalk before I get hit by a car. Surprisingly, the paper wasn't dirty at all, and I recall the street actually being quite clean. How strange.

Thank you Rodi for bringing back memories I'd prefer not to keep.

But this brings to mind an interesting thought.
Taken from the Stanley Cup Journals General Doug Brown talked at length about the key to success being mental toughness. This struck a resounding chord with John Tortorella, who listened intently to the general. "I've got to get this through to the guys," Tortorella said. "General Brown, would you come speak to my players at some point?" Brown agreed, and gave a special medallion to Tortorella and Wilkinson.
What does it mean to totally give your all? Watching Game 6 of the Canucks-Flames series made me feel like I was about to have heart attacks multiple times throughout OT. Throughout the game, these guys were pushing each other so hard and the Canucks were able to finally prevail in triple OT. What poise by Morrison to wait out Kipper and put that puck home. But in the end, the Flames won on pure guts and determination and were able to advance all the way to the Stanley Cup finals in the same fashion. Every game was grueling and the level of attrition soared. In the end, the Flames just couldn't close it out, they had spent EVERYTHING.

It reminds me of the time I was at Whistler with YJ and Arthur. YJ had inadverdantly guided us towards a mogul run earlier in the day and I sucked at it. It must have taken me 20 minutes to get down. So when we hit another mogul run, what could I do but tackle it? Then my skis slipped and I thought, what the hell, and I went straight down the slope, daring the mountain to make me fall. Mental toughness. How much can we accomplish if we had even a little mental toughness? It seems to me that you have to push yourself physically to truly understand what mental toughness is all about. You have to understand what that little bit more is, why willing yourself forward can give you the edge you need to beat the odds. Even for something as trivial as a blue ski run.

Or as trivial as chasing a piece of paper down the street, with cars closing in behind you.
How much can we accomplish in everyday life if we applied a little mental toughness? Working through the night to meet a deadline. Staring an audience in the eye while making an important presentation. Knowing how not to unnecessarily give in to pressure during a negotiation? Et al?

And what do people need to do to gain that mental toughness? Does it sometimes go too far? My arm is still killing me from the volleyball tournament. I really should make my workspace more ergonomic... it's not helping my arm at all. Should I have continued playing through the pain in the first place though? /shrug
And when will my level of mental toughness finally truly be tested?

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