Another aha! I am realizing again something I already have learned. The con game is ubiquitous, well entrenched, and a worthy enemy. Almost everyone I talk to knows about the game and yet still plays it, mostly out of fear for themselves and their children. We might love our own Promise and the game we could play in fulfilling it, but we are more afraid of not playing the con game.
And this is the balance I am aware of I need to keep in mind everyday. I have to actively confront the fear of not playing the con game at the same time I am getting better at the game that fulfills my promise. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said something to the effect that peace is not merely the absence of tension but the presence of justice. Fulfilling my promise needs to be approached the same way. Seeing the con game for what it is is not enough. There must be a search, a pursuit to know and fulfill my own promise.
Here’s what I know. In the world in which I live, the con game is relentless, well funded, and omnipresent. I have to look behind the curtain to see the damage it does because it is in the loneliness of night that I know exhausted people cannot fight it off. Most of us hide behind the curtain at some point each day.
But equally I have to be able to see, no, to feel, the pursuit and fulfillment of the promise that is me. The more I do that the easier it is to see behind the curtain and hopefully pull it back for good on the man from Oz.
Watching Brett Favre play last night reminded me of that. It was clear the Vikings lost the game because the coach did not take advantage of Favre’s ability to play with promise when it mattered. The play calling at the end of the game was a play not to lose mentality and Favre knew it. Favre more than any recent quarterback feels the game and therefore, sees the field in front of him. He knows what to do. His disagreements with the coach have been well documented the last few weeks as the Vikings have sputtered a bit going into the playoffs.
Malcolm Gladwell once wrote that the physical genius sees the field. He sees what’s possible. In seeing that, he believes in what he sees enough to trust himself to test if he is right, to risk that might he be wrong or that his skills might not be up to the challenge. This is the trust that leads to being able to fully execute the task at hand. This never happens in the con game because the consequences of failing, the loss of approval is too scary. The fragility of confidence replaces the rock solid nature of trust.
What the physical genius is not afraid of because he sees things so clearly, is the judgment of others, the disapproval that comes with failure. He sees “the thing.” He is not distracted. He commits to it and tries to make it happen. If he fails, he wonders instead of worries. How do I do it better? He learns and grows.
This is the daily struggle of seeing the con game for what it is– a distraction. So I wonder ever day how does approval make me better? How does the personal criticism help me learn? If it does not, there is no need for it. It is the con game, a game that does not keep its promises.
Brett Favre “plays” better than any athlete I have ever seen. Play keeps wonder alive and therefore moves the ball down the field in the fulfillment of promise. And to quote Gladwell, at the core, at the heart of the physical genius, is that they “found something that, on some profound, aesthetic level, made them happy.”