No Time to Worry, Basketball is Back


The resolution of the NBA lockout this weekend and the news that the games will resume on Christmas is yet the latest example of how when it comes to vastly over-exaggerated predictions of doomsday and worst-case scenarios never coming to pass, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Even a casual follower of professional basketball heard over these past few months the media’s over-heated "analysis" of the lockout.

How the two sides were so far apart that it was almost a certainty that we would miss at least one, and maybe two or three, seasons of basketball.

The hand ringing continued on to player's careers being shortened, arenas being shuttered, and hundreds, if not thousands, of administrative, concession, usher, and ticket taker jobs being lost.

And throughout this din were heard the editorializing on the “greed” of the players and the owners, and how unseemly it was for millionaires and billionaires to be bickering in public over how to split such a large financial pie.

Little remarked on was the fact that since the 1980’s about every other year there has been some kind of work stoppage (or the threat thereof) in one professional sport or another.

And even less remarked on was the amazing fact - even in circumstances where whole seasons are lost - that once the games resumed the various sports leagues have grown to be bigger and more profitable than ever.

Yet, the media gives this reality probably 1/100th as much attention as it does to the anger, discord, and disrespect between the warring sides, and to incessant and discomfiting prophesizing on the “worst case.”

This systemic pessimism and negativity is emblematic of what is in my view one of the main conundrums of modern life and business - that in a world of the kind of plenty and opportunity that our grandparents could only dream of, that we too often remain focused on what we don't have, what we can't do and on those things that can go wrong versus the infinitely more consequential and probable number of things that go ever so right.

Exactly why this is the state of affairs is anyone's guess.

But what is equally true is that the real winners in life and business simply do not play this game.

Sure, being human beings they do occasionally indulge in the baser emotions of gossip, envy, and the schadenfreude of watching the mighty fall.

But far from it being their dominant way of thinking or life, those that win embody Peter Drucker’s famous definition of the effective executive and focus on opportunities and not problems.

They invest their precious energy on the doable and the possible.

And they are so wonderfully absorbed in their "micros" that they simply do not have time to concern themselves with the media - saturated “macro” worries of the world.

So, come Christmas, Dirk, Kobe, Lebron and the gang will be back on the hardwood.

It will be, for them, about and only about exactly what it should be – just playing the game.

Each game, every shot - both to win and to the absolute best of their ability.

Everything else is just noise.

The great ones ignore it. Or even better yet, they are just too busy to hear it.

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