Inspiring Examples of Resistance: Impact of a Losing Attitude
This past weekend a different form of resistance stood out to me. It was inspiring, but not inspiring as we traditionally think of inspiration. It was inspirational to me because the action of the individual, and the spirit with which that individual acted, outlined a concept I have been repeatedly addressing in my blog, specifically negativity.
This example of resistance is not inspiring in the typical way I have been framing this series in my blog in that it it is not the kind of act that is going to motivate you to get up tomorrow and do something similar. Quite the contrary. It is an act of resistance and it’s outcome that I hope will inspire my readers to take pause and be more thoughtful about our actions, not only how they affect other people, but also how our actions, attitude, and intent directly impacts ourselves as well.
This past Sunday in the AFC Divisional Playoff game between the Texans and the New England Patriots, one of the Texans J.J. Watt spit on the Patriots logo during his pregame warmup, and then proceeded to wipe his feet on the logo in a show of disrespect. I am all for trash talking, and psychological element of competition, but this act of spitting on the logo stood out to me as unnecessarily negative and hateful. Some of the greatest trash talkers in sports have been the greatest competitors, immediately bringing to mind Muhammed Ali. The difference here seems to be that, for example, Ali dove into the psychological element of competition with forethought and intention, as a strategy, whereas this seemed to be simply a hateful act, not to mention non-direct, and passive. It almost seemed as if J.J. Watt was attempting to pump himself up internally by expressing what seemed to be intended as more of a private expression of hate and negativity driven way to inspire himself.
Ali always partook in his pre-fight antics and trash talk with the position “I am going going to win” or “What can I do to win?” At best J.J. Watt’s intentions seemed to be more coated with a negative hue: “I want to beat the Patriots” versus a positively framed goal “I want to win” or “I want to be the best I can be.” Not only did his team put on a definitively losing performance, but Watt himself was held to lower effectiveness in the game than he was all season. To me, this illustrates the essence of why overcoming negativity is vital to success.
It is so important to be aware of your intentions going into any new endeavor in your life. Are you going into it with a positive frame: to win. Or are you approaching what you’re doing with a negative frame: to not lose, to prove you’re better than someone else... to prove naysayers wrong. The only attitude that will actually work out in the long run is going in to win, or even better simply to enjoy whatever you’re doing (even if it is enjoying a heated, intense competition). Sure playing not to lose may result in winning sometimes, but being too cautious has definitely been a losing effort for way too many people. The best player in basketball, Lebron James, seemed to have spent many years losing because he got himself twisted up psychologically entering championship games with the intent to prove to everybody (and his naysayers) that he could win a championship. It wasn’t until last season that he finally got it right and got the monkey off his back by completely ignoring the monkey, and played with the sole intent of enjoying the game of basketball again. With a winning attitude he finally won.