- Thoughts for inspired living

April 18, 2008


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:49 am

I’m reading a book called, THE ART OF LEARNING by Josh Waitzkin. He’s the young man the movie SEARCHING FOR BOBBY FISHER was based on. He was a chess champion and also a martial arts champion. I’m only about a third through it but he wrote about a position that we have all found ourselves in. He calls it:

“The disconcerting chasm between what was and what is.”

What an enlightening phrase. The realization of this consternation becomes a choice point in our lives.

“What was” and “what is” can be worlds apart. The author’s observation is that when chess players entertain this comparison during a match they usually spiral downward and lose. He makes the same observation about life.

If we are present enough to notice this fork in the road, we shorten our suffering and get walking on the path that offers the most promise. Reminds me of a story . . .

The exact details are sketchy but my son and my grandson were having a discussion about something that didn’t go as planned. My grandson was hooked on the position that if his father hadn’t done such and such, the situation would have turned out differently. He kept coming back to that logic and continued to make his point over and over again. Later in the day, I caught up with my grandson and engaged him in a football question. He’s a big New England Patriots fan. I said, suppose there were only 30 seconds left in the game, with no time outs and the Patriots were trailing by 4 points and had the ball on the opponent’s 30 yard line. Tom Brady (New England’s Quarterback) hands off the ball to Kevin Faulk (a halfback) who’s supposed to run left where all his blocking is set but chooses to go against the play and run right and gets tackled. The clock can’t be stopped at this point. It continues to run. I then asked, “How productive would it have been at that point for Tom Brady to run to the spot where Kevin was tackled and take time to berate him for running in the wrong direction as the clock was ticking down?” My grandson said, “not very.” I then asked him what he thought the best strategy would be at that point. He said to hurry to the line of scrimmage and throw a pass into the end zone. I told him I agreed with his strategy and left him to process my real message.

We can focus on what was. It’s always a choice – a choice that keeps us stuck. When we focus on what is, then options begin to appear. They will never show their face when we wear the blinders of what was.

Take time to observe how many times you make the comparison between what you have no control over – what was – and the current situation. Only one option has the ability to pull you out of the quicksand. It’s not a guaranteed touchdown, but the odds are much better than the zero odds of focusing on what was.

Think of this as the choice between two champagnes – one flat and one bubbly.

You’re better served to choose the FIZZ of WHAT IS.

All the best,


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