Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Play to Your Potential

As early as I can remember, my parents encouraged my sister and I to love sports. As a little girl, I remember bundling up in warm clothes and heading out to a St. Louis Cardinals football game at Busch stadium. And in the summer, my mom would take me out to the basketball hoop in the alley and play "HORSE" with me. Needless to say sports became an integral part of my life and through my participation in sports all the way through college, I learned a lot about life. Some things that I would like to forget but others that I carry with me to this day.

One of those lessons had to do with playing to your potential. When two teams go head to head in competition, one of them is responsible for setting the tempo of the game. Often times, the better team will play down to the potential of their opponent. And other times, the underdog will play up to the potential of the better team. Playing great teams makes you play better, makes you try harder, increases your motivation almost ten-fold.

Just as teams tend to allow other teams to set the tempo of their game, so we allow others to set the tempo of our lives. I think that our real life tempo is set by the people with whom we surround ourselves.

My mom always used to say "you are who your friends are." And I believe there is a lot of truth in that. After spending enough time with people, your similarities or the things that brought you together become more pronounced in your life. The good that they bring forth in you becomes more prominent and maybe the bad does too. If your friends are kind and generous people, how can you not be? And if your friends are liars and cheats... how can you not be?

I would like to believe that throughout my life, my friends past and present have made me a better person. Each and every one of them has brought out a little bit of good in me. And I do mean EACH AND EVERY one. Perhaps it's the optimist in me. Perhaps it is the intense desire to continually see the best in others. Or maybe it is vanity and my refusal to believe that I have made bad choices when picking my friends. Whatever it is, I will continue to strive to set my own tempo and to surround myself with people who will help me play up to a greater potential.

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