attitude, unnecessary risk, and 8th grade football

In deep thoughts, learning, motivation, stories by Jay Clouse

I’ve written before about my varsity football record being 5-25 over three years. BUT, we were actually pretty good and mostly undefeated from grades 7-9.

What I’m trying to say is, we had some dominating 14-year-old athletes.

One of those athletes was our backup quarterback. He was a backup, but at that age it’s more like “second” quarterback, because he split time.

He ran with the ball a lot, and he had this really weird habit of running straight AT defenders when he broke into the open field. Not just that he would take them on, but he would literally zig and zag across the field in order to directly take defenders on instead of run away or avoid them.

Most of the time, he traded a sure touchdown for barreling into a defender and ultimately losing his balance and falling down. It was infuriating.

I’ve thought about how to write this piece for a couple weeks now, because there are two conflicting messages I could make out of this.

The first is you could interpret this as “taking challenges head on” as opposed to “running away from them.” Which sounds like something to applaud, but that’s not really what was happening.

What I really think was happening was an insecure attitude manifesting in a need to prove himself. (I’m not trying to rip on a 14 year old kid for being insecure — we all were). But that attitude of insecurity and the need to prove himself led to an unnecessary risk, which usually didn’t pan out. Such is often the case with risk.

A lot of people will tell you that entrepreneurs are big risk takers — I don’t necessarily agree with that. I think that entrepreneurs are great calculated risk takers, but are often doing everything in their power to actively de-risk situations.

I still feel insecurity from time to time, and it can bear it’s head as a need to prove myself. And when I do that, I have the temptation to take unnecessary risk and make stupid, destructive decisions.

The key is being aware enough to identify when I’m reacting from a place of insecurity, and squash it before I run at a defender. Before I take an unnecessary risk.

That way, I can keep running out in the open towards the goal.


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