Do Not Allow Circumstances Define You

“I have a basic philosophy that I’ve tried to follow during my coaching career. Whether you’re winning or losing, it’s important to always be yourself. You can’t change because of the circumstances around you.” ~ Lowell “Cotton” Fitzsimmons …

This is such a great philosophy for coaching, and an even greater philosophy for life. Coach Cotton had an amazing awareness of who he truly was at all times: whether his team was winning or losing, finding success, or facing failure and defeat, he remained true to the person he was. He was similarly noted for stating that, “You’re not going to make me have a bad day. If there’s oxygen on earth and I’m breathing, it’s going to be a good day.”

Many of us tend to put too much emphasis on winning. When we do not win, we assume that there must be something wrong with us. This creates an environment where we rarely are ourselves, regardless of whether we win or we lose. In addition, many of us are not the most humble or gracious winners, focusing more on our victory and success than on things like gratitude for the ability to compete with our opponents and to challenge ourselves to become better than we were before. We similarly tend to be sore losers–making excuses, directing anger towards others and ourselves, and blaming the opponents for competing unfairly.

If we can accept ourselves in wholeness, we will accept all the situations and circumstances of our lives with equanimity, realizing that as long as we are doing our best and following our hearts, every situation we are faced with is a unique personal experience and valuable opportunity for growth. And because we “cannot change the circumstances around us,” we have to learn to not let those outside circumstances control who we are and how we act. Honor the authentic and unique spirit that the Creator has so marvelously given to this world by always being your true self and giving of all of your gifts and abilities with pride and dignity.

Let the authentic person within you be the person everyone gets to see.

Questions to consider:

Do you ever find yourself acting in ways that are not authentic to who you are? If so, when?

When do you let circumstances determine how you act?

How often are you completely yourself? How might you be your authentic self more often?

For further thought:

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” ~ E. E. Cummings

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Filed under Commentary, Food For Thought, Living, Opinion

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