Next Play

This was a piece I wrote back in 2017 when I lived in Manhattan:

I was walking around my neighborhood in New York City and came across a youth league basketball game. Nothing special, just talented young kids playing a game they love. I recalled the coach of one team repeatedly yelling ”NEXT PLAY” after either his team made a mistake or the other team scored against them. It made me realize how much life was about the “next play” more than anything.

These mistakes wouldn’t be overlooked, but they weren’t something to dwell on while the game was in session. The most important talent any one of those kids had during the game was their ability to forget any mistake they made that either caused the other team to score or their own team to not score. The time to assess mistakes could be during a time out or during a practice session.

Life can come at you pretty fast sometimes. But all you will ever have is the very next play. Logic may propel you to assess your shortcomings as they affect your life. But the key to success with peace of mind is allowing the universe to come to pass and making the most out of any given moment regardless of how the previous plays turned out. The heaviness of perceived failure is often our greatest barrier that hinders us. But failure is an internal illusion – a fragment of reality that is often misconstrued as our reality. But by definition, a fragment is only a portion of something and not all of it. And without that fragment, something seizes to be all of it. Fragments of perceived failures are the portions of our characters that strengthen us the most. They become the foundation by which the happier fragments of our beings can grow. The key to guiding our perceived failures into strength is being able to assess them for what they are and when the time is right. Yes, they hurt and yes they can burn, but you wouldn’t want a foundation made out of anything else. Live every moment as if you’ve never made a mistake. Forget about what went wrong because your complete mental and emotional presence is the most valuable asset your bring to this world. And then, when the time is right and life slows down – assess what went wrong – learn – grow. God Al Mighty put 5 prayers in a day for you to slow life down. They are your time outs. And whether it’s during your prayers, in bed at night, or when you’re out for a walk – those are the times to reflect on the previous plays.

Yesterday is only as valuable as the lessons it provides, not necessarily the reality of which we wished it to be. Tomorrow is only as valuable as the state we are in today. If we want our perceptions of yesterday and tomorrow to change, it starts with the mindset we foster today. Be all in. Be at the next play.