Transformation Through Celebration

Yesterday I was here in Colorado and got to spend the morning with my son Gabriel at his Upward basketball game. Gabe is 7, and in his second year of organized basketball, and yesterday I got a great opportunity to see how much he has learned. And not just about basketball. Yes, I'm proud of him for his play on the court (2 steals, both leading to breakaway scores, 4 other buckets, and solid defensive play), but I was even more excited to see how he handled both success and adversity during the game.

Early in the game, he collided with another player and went down pretty hard. But he just jumped back up and kept playing. He hustled the entire game, too. But what I really appreciated was the way he celebrated, both for his own success and that of his teammates. With utter abandon, he'd celebrate a shot, a point scored, or a good defensive play. After his scores, he'd run back onto defense, pumping his fist or jumping in the air. Then, he'd settle back in and play.

As I watched the video again this afternoon, I am deeply grateful for the way he has learned to celebrate his successes... and those of others. There is nothing negative or offensive about it. It is innocent, honest, and heart-felt. He's excited and pleased and lets it show, then gets back to work.

Contrast this to most people. Most people focus on the negative. They beat themselves -- and others -- up for failures. They dwell on the bad. They expect it to get worse. In the best of times, they talk about how it can't last. In the worst, they talk about how much worse it can get. If something good happens, they say something ridiculous like, "It's about time," and then get ready for something to go wrong again.

Quite a contrast. My 7-year-old has it right while these adults have it wrong: celebrate your successes, learn from your failures, and then get back to work. Here's what's interesting about this approach: your success multiplies when you focus on it. As with Gabe's game yesterday when shaking off his early tumble and his first miss allowed him to make 6 in a row, your ability to shake off both the tumbles and the errors of life while focusing on the success you imagine will make all the difference.

Let's go! ssh