We all do it, every day.
The important thing is that we recognize that we are chasing it. Why? Because, it’s just like breathing. You don’t focus on it, it just happens. I didn’t realize it myself until I heard Bob Mackenzie use the term chasing normal on The Hockey Insider on TSN. The topic of discussion was on the effect of concussions on a hockey player’s abilities, confidence and how their judgement continues to be impaired when assessing future hits. In the old days (Don Cherry’s days of glory) players never thought twice about getting back on the ice. Tough guys. Oblivious. These days, with the advancement of medicine, education and the sensitivity to the human condition players are forced to be more aware of the potential damage that can be caused by serious hits. The panel discussed the notion that players start to second guess their ability for recovery; that they are forever chasing that feeling of normal.
“Is it another concussion?
Not sure, never really sure anymore.
How did I feel before the first hit?
Is this the same?”
Not only are advancements in all aspects of life affecting their decisions in today’s world they also have too many people questioning their ability to make decisions; agent, coach, trainer, doctors, media, family, you get the idea. What is a guy to do? He starts to think back about simpler times (Don Cherry simple). The times before his first concussion and starts to wonder about the feelings he is now experiencing after his latest diagnosis. He just wants to play the game. He is told he cannot or should not. What to do? What’s normal now? Normal is no longer a feeling he can clearly define. Everyone has an opinion and his own is no longer trusted or valued. After all, what does he know best? Hockey.
Now, in pro sports caution is the name of the game. Big contracts; big risk. It probably isn’t much different with the ones you love, is it? You won’t put your kid back on the ice if they have been hurt, would you? Big love; big risk.
What’s the deal here though?
The issue is not a response to physical injury. That is a given. We are taught from a very early age to respect authority and for good reason. Without it we would have anarchy. Because of humanities intelligence we are bound to fail without some form of authority regardless of our station in life. What I took from this repartee is that through the highly exposed attention to issues in our life experiences we are over saturated with professional opinion about what we should feel or consider when dealing with a situation. So when a guy is hit he listens to the authority around him and personal choice is really not the result anymore. He simply follows the bouncing ball. Greater authority rules. But?
There is a big, big but.
Through our innate ability to chase normal we are also forever chasing the feeling of comfort that surrounds it. Stay in the center of the pack. There is always someone else who will help us figure it out, right? We can take comfort in that. We can sit back, relax, and watch the game. Good. Now don’t get me wrong there’s nothing wrong with taking a break or with getting a professional opinion. There’s no real issue there. Chasing normal, however, takes up a lot of our time and also takes a lot of effort. In doing so what it really does is it detracts us from what is possible because we spend our time primarily concerned with outside influence; agent, coach, trainer, doctors, media, family, you get the idea.
Think about this for a second.
“Everything around you was created by people no smarter than you. You can change things, influence things and build your own things people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.” Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs did many important things in his time but there is one moment captured in this very short vignette (selected link) that we all should at least consider. If anything, Steve’s comments are simply inspiring. Steve was also, by nature, never chasing normal. Sarah Kay, (associate link) in a very different way, also inspires us with her poetry and spoken word. In a world where there is so much negative influence she finds a way to articulate the beauty in a simple thing: life. Both these unique individuals are visionaries for completely different reasons but what they have in common is that they are running or ran in the opposite direction of normal, and fast. They chose not to be influenced directly by normal.
So why not for us?
What’s stopping you? Give it a try. Try to stop chasing for a while. Think through the challenges in your life and ask yourself why they exist. Is it that you are afraid to be different. Are you trying to fit in? Is there no time to do your own thing or is it too hard?
Share your passion with me and I will return the favour. We can run in the opposite direction of normal together.
It’s a start.