Hard-boiled eggs and the last of human freedoms - to choose one's attitude

I've got this thing with hard-boiled eggs at the moment.  I often boil one or two up in the morning to take to work in my packed-lunch.

And come lunch-time I go through the lottery of de-shelling them.  I say lottery because sometimes the shell just peels off with that kind of inner lining of soft skin falling beautifully off the egg leaving it super smooth ready to eat.  Other times I'll take off half the actual egg with a hundred bits of shell leaving the egg, well not egged shaped.

I've pondered this and wondered what the secret is to a consistent egg de-shelling performance - maybe you know and have got this down to an art but I've even followed google advice (there's a lot of information out there on how to de-shell a hard-boiled egg!), but still my daily lottery continues.

Anyway, I've chosen not to invest too much more time worrying about my egg-shelling challenges.  For the moment it appears to be an issue outside my control until some good soul provides me with the golden bullet solution.  It did make me think about what other areas in my life are outside my immediate control and influence and how much time and energy I give to worrying about them and that my choice today is to focus on areas I can directly influence, if not even control. 

And fundamentally that seems to boil down (get the pun?) to choosing my attitude and energy levels.  Yes, this serves up a reminder that we can choose our attitude and energy levels.   In chapter 9 of my book 'Everyball' I reference the story of Victor Frankl.  His career as a psychotherapist and neurologist was interrupted by the Second World War and the Holocaust.  He spent three years in four Nazi camps: Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, Kaufering lll, and Turkheim.  He lost his wife Tilly, and his father, mother and brother in the camps.  Surviving, he wrote Man's Search for Meaning and I quote a paragraph to you:

'We who live in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the hut comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread.  They may have been few in number, but they offered significant proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given circumstance, to choose one's own way.  And there were always choices to make.  Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you will become the plaything of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become moulded into the form of the typical inmate.'

5 ways to well-being....try these today to take control of your well-being!

1.  Connect with others - social interaction with your family, friends, colleagues

2.  Be active - walk, sport, gym, whatever - get going!

3.  Take notice - of the moment, your surroundings, nature

4.  Keep learning - read, write, research, memorise something, listen to a pod-cast, take a course

5.  Give - of yourself and your time

Taken from Jayne Wright's (Flourishing Futures) 'Curious Cow' talk recently held at HaltonUK

'Earned and deserved'

Learning from past greats to help shape us in the present.  Coach John Wooden affectionately knows as the 'the wizard' was the greatest college basketball coach in U.S history with his UCLA teams winning an unprecedented and never to be achieved again number of NCAA Division 1 Championship titles.

There was nothing magical about the 'wizard' however.  It was his commitment to meticulous research, hard work, strong old fashion values and discipline that won him so much success for his teams, many of which had no 'stars' to speak of.

Take for example his approach he called 'earned and deserved'.  

'Coach Wooden is also a stickler for fairness.  But for him, that did not mean treating all of his players and students exactly alike.  In the 1930's, he came up with an approach he calls 'earned and deserved'.  "I believe, in order to be fair to all students, a teacher must give each individual student the treatment he earns and deserves.  The most unfair thing to do is to treat all of them the same." (From 'You haven't taught until they have learned' by Swen Nater and Ronald Gallimore)

Over the last 30 years as a coach in my sport of tennis and as a parent of football, basketball and cricket playing boys, I've witnessed a growing cultural trend in sport (particularly grass roots and schools sport) that everyone has to be treated the same.  However, fairness does not equal 'same'.  Fairness does not always equal opportunity, playing time, selection, reward and recognition, or the same form of discipline or treatment - this needs to be individualised according to what is 'earned and deserved'.  

Like Dash said in the incredibles, "If everyone is special, no-one is special!"

Let's let children discover for themselves the arenas in which they can be special, where they can feel good at something that is of their choice whilst understanding that there is no substitute for good old fashioned hard work, time and commitment to get to that point and that there is always going to be someone at some point who does it better.  That's kinda how life works.