One habit stands above all others—or should I say below. It provides the foundation for meeting the moment and applies to all roles and situations. In one of the most important books ever written, Man’s Search for Meaning, holocaust survivor Dr. Viktor Frankl, offered that our greatest freedom is our power to choose our attitude.
In this sense, attitude is not referring to the popular use of the word (“You have a bad attitude”). It’s not a descriptor. Attitude is the direction we are pointed in, meaning we intentionally choose our movement into future. We have no control of the great complexity we meet in the world—except how we choose to act.
The space between what we perceive and how we respond is the essence of a human being becoming. The habit of entering that space is the greatest of all. Disciplines that teach us to rein in the wild horses of the mind begin with this intention. To honor this space.
The ways to reach this space are few and the obstacles are many. In a world that reflexively searches for answers with deft thumbs misses something critical… The search for meaning does not have an algorithm. Reflection and contemplation happen in silence, stillness, and solitude.
Those three “S” words make many shudder.
In the role of athlete, coach, or parent, the space for our greatest habit can grow giving more perspective and more room for developing knowledge and skills. If this space doesn’t grow, we repeat the past. Or we act out scripts without our names in the byline.
And that makes me shudder.
(This post originally appeared in A Father’s Path and was edited to suit for athletes and coaches)
images credit: J. Plenio (J Plenio Photography) and Daniel Gonzalez (unsplash)