When you are most upset and I mean really upset do you ask yourself, what about the long game?
I can’t remember a time I didn’t struggle with my anger, really. Maybe it was some time before the fifth grade. Before my classmate in the sixth grade called me a monkey because I was the only black girl, right in front of our teacher and she did nothing about it. Or when my mom called the school to stand up for me and the principal still did nothing about it. So I took matters into my own hands.
As we left the Chicago Shed Aquarium from our sixth grade field trip, I finally told the kid I was going to “kick his ass” when we got off the school bus, though I was fully afraid of what kicking his ass would entail, I knew enough was enough. We made it back to our school, walked home and I punched him in front of everyone…clear across the cheek.
I was never someone who was violent. He was actually the first and last kid I hit. But in my mind, it had to be done. At the time, I was a crossing guard and had decided that day, I would abandon post and punch the kid. When the school found out, I was suspended from my crossing guard duties and could not participate in the annual crossing guard field trip to see the Chicago White Sox play. My mom and I were furious to say the least. The racists had won, despite our best efforts of bringing the problem to the attention of the school, the right way.
In my life, through all of the disappointments, and pain… I have found that it’s much easier to let off some steam and lose my temper. Handle things for myself. But it always comes with a price. I always forget to ask the vital question, “what about the long game?”
You see, letting off steam, hurts others and ultimately hurts us. Being a mom of an eight year old, I’m always trying to teach Jona that his actions have consequences but so often, we forget this as adults. When you sign up for that workout class and abandon ship, it comes with a price. When the spirit moves you and you join a women’s bible study then realize you can’t stand the women, it comes with a price.
In my opinion, life is about enjoying the small moments, being intentional in our decision making. When we act irrationally, living for our emotions we make decisions that damage our relationships and our future.
I’ve heard so many people use this quote and have lived by this myself, “if it isn’t a hell yes, it’s a no.” But what about the long game? When you think about the way you show up in the world, do you start with the end in mind? Not every necessary decision you need to make is going to be a hell yes. Some decisions are simply boring but necessary to keep a steady flow of income (your job) or encourage your kids — even though they are jerks sometimes. Every decision, every step, is connected to the long game.
I will leave you with this, how will acting with the end in mind change your decision-making? How will it shape your future?