There were two times in my childhood where I blew my own mind.
One was in 2nd grade when I looked up from the book I was engrossed in and saw that everyone was in the middle of a spelling test. I had somehow gone so far into the story that I missed the end of reading time, the new instructions, the commotion of everyone getting out their spelling materials. The teacher was smirking. I wanted to physically crawl into my book in shame.
The second time was right before 9th grade.
I was taking PE as a summer class so that my awkward, sports-inept self wouldn’t have to deal with it for an entire school year.
I remember groggily sitting up in bed on the first morning of basketball week. As a 5’2 bookish Asian chick, I have a history full of anxiety — trotting around the court, pretending to care about getting at the ball while gladly allowing all the athletic kids to run the show.
But I was too tired to worry. In the moments of sleepy consciousness, fluttering in between reality and dreamy visions, I saw myself darting around the court; dodging deftly between the bigger kids, jumping, making baskets. In the back of my mind, I knew I had decent agility and ability to aim. I had never been able to clearly see this before, but somehow in that wavering state of consciousness, I happened to glimpse the possibility of my strengths instead of the pathetic story of my past.
I eventually forced myself out of bed and habitually got ready for school, not really thinking much about anything. By the time I got to the high school gym I was simply indifferent, my mind neither positive nor negative, just ready to get it over with.
But when I got on the court a different part of me took over. When the ball bounced past, my arm darted out. I weaved through swinging arms and straddled legs. I wasn’t necessarily calm, but my mind was very focused, quiet, clear. I arched up towards the basket, missing once, making it in the next try. Perhaps I even made two? I don’t entirely remember. What I do fully remember was that I was actually participating and that my mind was so clear.
I wasn’t caring who I was up against, who might be watching, or if I did something stupid. It was just me, playing basketball, right that moment.
In the past my brain had been jumbled up with rampant self-consciousness and doubt. I was caught up in fear of accidentally doing something lame (I had once mistakenly assisted the opposing team and was hated on) or fretting about my lack of skill. It just seemed like the only possible reality because it’s what had always been.
So I didn’t suddenly become a super skilled basketball star. But I surprised myself. Shocked even, that just from having an almost subconscious vision of what to focus on, I was able to create a difference in my actions. If just that moment of clarity could affect a person in this way, can you imagine what would happen if this became a fully conscious, dedicated practice of focusing upon full potential rather than what’s been previously experienced?
Henceforth I’ve referred to this as my Basketball Experience. I relive it in my head whenever I need a reminder of how possible it is to make a significant change in a short time, with not much more effort than choosing a new focus.
Focus can be so powerful that it can block out everything else — as seen in 2nd grade. Imagine harnessing that power for what you really want in life.
There’s always two realities. The one you’ve always experienced, and a different one that is fully possible.
Now I like to ask myself: What am I currently focusing on? What could I be focusing on that is better? What parts of this new focus are totally plausible? Am I willing to practice focusing on this new possibility?
Do not underestimate a perspective shift. Focus itself is invisible but it is all the momentum and power you need to begin to make any change.
Life is a game that we choose every day how we show up to. Don’t just go through the motions. The gameplay begins before you even make a move.
Where’s your head at?