In the game of Pool - Billiards - there is a spin that can be put on the cue ball called English.
For example, hit the cue ball high and it will follow the ball you hit, hit the cue ball low and it will either stop or back up after hitting its target. Delivering cue ball English is crucial to play the game at a higher level. English helps deliver the ball to an area on the table - after your shot - to best position you for your next shot.
I learned to play pool in my late teens, hanging out in a pool hall called "The Golden Cue". There wasn't really anything golden about it, except of course the experience. I marveled at the players’ skills while I worked on my own technique. Like most things I was interested in, my skill developed with passion, effort and time.
One of the golden insights that came from this time in my life was that what mattered more than where I left the cue ball after my shot - using English on the cue ball - was the importance of first making the shot at hand. Priorities!
To many times I was so focused on where the cue ball would be after the shot; I missed the shot I needed to make to continue my turn at the table. Even the word "shot" fits well here.
Today is your best and only shot to make a difference; tomorrow is promised to no one. Consider how your impact today may be diminished if you're spending too much time thinking about where you'll end up on the table after the shot. Being fully present for the shot at hand improves the likelihood of success today and of course will create a momentum for tomorrow.
Early in my career, I applied this wisdom to my working life. I came to understand that great days add up to great weeks, that add up to great months, and now with 30 years of experience in my profession, I marvel at how far the journey has brought me. And what life has also taught me, is that maybe I have learned far more from my missed shots than from the ones I made. My values and character was formed out of those experiences, the Golden experiences that burned away the dross.
May you come to see that; in the words of Byron Katie: “Nothing is Wasted”. Count it all as joy. Did you miss a shot? Good for you. Welcome to your character building experience!
Now, refocus today, this very moment, knowing that doing this next thing well is more important than where you might find yourself on the table tomorrow or in the years to come. Leverage English, keep in mind your vision for tomorrow, but then refocus on this very moment and give your best to the shot you have been given today - and no doubt you will be more Golden for it.
Make it a great week!