Sudden Change

How do you prepare for things you can not foresee? That seems like a silly question, but it something that I ask myself the most. Throughout life there will be unexpected turnovers—occurrences that immediately changes your circumstances. In the past, these situations have derailed me for days or weeks at a time. It’s a design flaw I’ve been working on for years.

Getting Caught Out of Position

In college, the majority of my studies took place in film rooms at the Bright Football Complex at Texas A&M. Coach Kines, my position coach, was old school and full of one-liners that would occupy your mind indefinitely. I learned to question and examine everything — establishing the importance of well-executed details. The lessons I learned from him have stuck with me beyond my football career and continue to lead my life. One of the most important concepts Coach Kines verbally hammered into my head was to slow down before speeding up or “Read slow. React Fast.” When adversity comes it is common to immediately react. Most of these moves are normally irrational or at least not optimal choices for the given circumstance. In many cases it has landed me in even stickier situations.

When the ball is snapped on a football field small misinterpretations can cost you points. The offense has the advantage of having the ball and knowing where it is going, but they are also burdened with having to act first. The defense can study tendencies and select plays that put them in the best position to stop the offense, but they cannot be 100% certain of the offense’s play. As a rookie, I would take a step as soon as the ball was hiked. This was silly, unecessary and almost immediately took me out of position to to make the play. It took time but I finally began to realize that I had time to understand the play before moving. I began to freeze upon the snap of the ball and assess what my eyes were telling me. After referencing the opposing team’s tendencies — that I had studied in the film room — I would react. As soon as I understood what was happening, think time was over and I took off at full speed to make a tackle. The difference in making a play and being caught out of position was found in a split-second pause that impacted everything. This idea transfers well to many areas in life, especially change.

Read slow. React Fast.

When the unexpected occurs, slow down, listen and understand. Failing to listen and gain a clear understanding of a situation can lead to unnecessary action. Allow time to gather information to select the best option and swiftly act. Speed is so important, but so is taking off in the right direction. Don’t expend double the energy retracing steps in order to get back on the right path. I love to move on things quickly and have been impatient with this tactic in the past. The more I practice it, the more I find it only takes a few extra moments to clear your perspective and correctly address sudden change.