The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts


Every profession has a context that impacts one’s thinking and the approach one has to develop one’s craft and career.

In the context of football, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Young once described it as follows:

“Don’t waste a snap, don’t waste a moment. Every time that you get in practice, scout team, I don’t care, if there’s a moment that you’re…working on your craft, you act like you’re going to be the greatest player ever, and you take every opportunity to learn from it and make sure you’re ready. Because if you don’t waste this time, and you prepare like you’re going to start every day, then when your chance comes, your window opens and you’ll go right through it. If you don’t, and you wait for it to kind of come around and complain and moan…then the window opens, sooner or later a window will open, and you’ll have wasted your time, and you won’t make it happen.”

A lot of it applies outside of football.

As life unfolds there are a multitude of opportunities that appear and can be taken. They usually don’t align as much with where one is as with the potential someone sees. An opportunity thus is a challenge as well as a chance. It asks one to trust oneself to step into a task that is bigger and more challenging than what existed until then.

That is where it is important to trust oneself and one’s ability to grow into the opportunity and its requirements. For Scott Young, it meant acting as someone who is going to become the greatest player ever.

But he also knew that whatever he was doing the more visible he was becoming the better he had to be. It meant to endlessly prepare and learn. He knew that he would never master his craft and that there would always be something he could learn or become better at.

He wanted to make sure he felt prepared whenever a window of opportunity would open up. He knew that his humility in addressing his craft would not only make sure that he was enhancing his ability as a player but also contribute to his ability to trust himself in the face of bigger challenges.

Independently of how good a player he was, whatever challenge he would face would be more difficult than whatever he had faced until then.

That is if he wanted to be able to grab a chance that showed up.

Being ready didn’t mean being perfect, mastering any challenge, or feeling safe in front of a task. It meant to be willing to engage with it with everything he had learned until then.


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