I'd lose contain about 70% of the time in that first series of late summer practices before my freshman year in high school. I was still learning, even though I'd been playing since I was about 8 years old. The running back would make the corner, I'd lose the edge, and the corner back would have to come up and make the play.
I remember complaining to my coaches that if the running back was faster than I was - most were, which was why they were running backs and I was a safety - how was I supposed to get to the edge before he did? Even worse...a fullback or a tight end always seemed to get there first and cut me at the knees. How was I supposed to get to the edge, protect my legs, and still make the play?
Now if you've played the game, you know the solution to that particular problem. It's all about the angle you take to get to the spot. If the other guys are faster than me on a straight line, then my only chance to beat them to the edge is to widen my path and be there waiting. That starts with correctly reading the offensive formation, understanding where I needed to line up, then hustling to the spot. Get there first, fend off the blocker, nail the back to the ground.
When I finally understood that solution, the rest was CAKE.
Well, it was easy as CAKE when I read the formation correctly. When I missed a key, I could find myself in the wrong position to defend against a pass. That was a whole other problem I had to solve. But I was mostly successful, which is why I was a pretty good football player with a chance to play in college, if I hadn't had my knees destroyed.
If I want peace, I've got to focus on the solutions to those things that threaten my inner peace, because peace can't ripple from me out to my expanded circle if I let things keep me from settling the peace in my own soul.
- Data - I've got to be active in determining what is preventing me from having peace in my daily life. Is it the traffic during my commute? Is it the noise level in my office environment? Is it the weather?
- Preparation - I can't change the traffic or the noise or the weather. So I've got to think about my attitude toward those things and determine what to do when they happen. I need to understand the way I react when traffic sucks, or when my need for quiet conflicts with my colleagues' need to collaborate, or when it rains for 19 days in a row.
- Solutions - The bottom line here is to counter the attitude I have in the moment about lousy traffic, a noisy environment, and rough weather. I do that by trying to vary my commute times to slip into the quarter hours rather than the top and bottom of the hour when everyone else is trying to get to and from work. I take a quick walk away from my work area when the noise level gets too hard to ignore and I can't keep focused on my own tasks. And I find things in the weather to enjoy rather than dwell on the gray or the wet, like the clean smell of rain or sleeping on flannel sheets.
If we accept that peace comes from within each of us, then we must first understand the things that keep us from achieving inner peace. Once we know what keeps us from being peaceful in our individual souls, then we can focus on the solutions that bring us inner peace.
Once we secure our own inner peace, we can't help but radiate that out to those with whom we interact daily. If we're calm and peaceful in our dealings with others, then we're not adding to the stresses that cause those others to lose their own inner peace.
So the next time you despair about all the things in the world that keep nations from being peaceful with each other, narrow your focus to the solutions you can apply to your own life to find your own inner peace. Maybe you can't be in the room with world leaders when they try to address the complicated relationships between nations. But it just may be that way back in time, a peace ripple began from you and reached through ever widening circles until it rested in that room. And the person it touched is going to have a solution that leads to a peace.
Remember that impossible only means that you haven't found the solution yet.
Dona Nobis Pacem