Find gratitude and blessings. Every. Single. Day. I know it is going to seem like a lot of work, but the results are amazing. I always had a realistic and borderline pessimistic view of life, but it worked for me in the sense that if I expected the worst things could only get better. Over time this is draining, and I realized I became more and more cynical over the events in my life outside of my control. Then I remembered the prayer for serenity my grandmother used to say to me every day, God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. It seemed like an abstract thing that could have no meaning to my life but that’s when I realized it was missing a line. I added a line when I would say it in college, grant me the clarity to acknowledge the blessings around me (doesn’t rhyme as well I know). But shifting that mindset made a huge impact on my life, I found myself a more positive person.
I found solace on my hardest days and an abundance of joy on my greatest days. It helped me find something new I loved about my fiancé every day and the life we are building, which help to strengthen the foundation we had already built. It doesn’t have to be any huge overarching thing, usually for me it’s something small or as simple as a nice breeze on a warm day or not catching any red lights on my way to work. Finding the time to be grateful took much less energy than finding what was going to go wrong. Then the craziest thing started happening, when I was no longer as negative in my outlook more things started going right for me, and on the off chance it went wrong it wasn’t as big of a deal. I found more fulfillment in my life not necessarily by changing what was going on but simply by changing how I looked at it.
A lot of this came about the first time I had a season ending injury in college. I remember being devastated, I had worked my tail off the entire offseason and was hungry to come take a spot. I was having a great camp and then, boom, next thing I know I’m talking to the team surgeons and they are telling me I’m done for the year. In the moment I was so angry, sad and frustrated I blocked everything else out around me. I became a miserable person and withdrew from friends and family. However later down the line I realized it was the best thing that ever happened to me. It forced me to grow as a both a student of the game and a person.
On the field there was nothing I could do so I spent time getting stronger where I could with extra weight sessions, watching more film and rehabbing harder. Off the field it forced me to re-examine what was important in my life and begin to center my focus around those people and those ideals. Inky Johnson talks a lot about this in his podcast serendipity, where he speaks on life lessons and his experiences. I remember coming across his story right around the time I got hurt and it helped me to refocus my mind and spirit towards the goals I had set out to achieve. Take a moment every day for the next week and find at least one thing a day you are grateful for. Write this down and look back on it when you are having a bad day.