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Without These Keys, Growth Stays Locked (Guest Post by Paul Bagnall)

“Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to be better” -Pat Riley 
Who doesn’t want to be excellent in their lives? In basketball there is a phrase “Bring something more to the floor than scoring”.  As a basketball player, you need to be able to aide your team by doing things other than putting points on the scoreboard. Playing hard-nosed defense, diving for a loose ball, and being a leader are just examples of actions that allow you to influence the game beyond scoring and become excellent. Basketball revolves around players learning how to score points, but how many players are truly willing to play hard-nosed defense, dive for a loose ball or be a leader? These skills will allow you to stand out as an island amongst the ocean of “scorers”.
Life is like that as well. We need to bring more to the floor of others lives than just being present.  Life does not allow us to just exist, but rather we must strive to better the world. Sometimes that means lending an ear to a friend in need. Other times it’s a friendly “hello” to a stranger on the street. Or pushing a stranger’s vehicle out of a snow bank even if it means you’re going to be late to work. Society has created a vacuum of individuals who just want to exist, without bringing something more to other people’s lives. On a personal note, I am trying to implement some “Evolutions” to my own life in order to create something better the lives of others. 




"Selfish Listening” evolves to “Selfless Listening”
Having recently been dismissed from a relationship, I have had a lot of time for some introspection. One of the numerous “we need to talk” talks my ex-girlfriend and I had revolved around how I listen. I didn’t realize I was doing it but when I was responding to her, I would use “I” a lot which caused the focus of our conversations onto myself. I now understand that I need to become a selfless listener. One who doesn’t respond immediately with “I know what you’re saying…” or “I had something like that happen to me…”. Selfless listening involves listening to the other person and asking questions to move the conversation forward instead of turning it towards yourself. I now see that I can evolve just being ridding myself of the “I”s in my life. (Yes, I purposely used “I” a lot in this section…)
        
    “Making excuses” evolves to “Owning what happens”
I think we all have had bad things happen to us at some point in our lives. Whether it be a speeding ticket, a broken relationship, or a failed exam. When bad things happen, it’s really easy to look externally to create causes for our disappointments. We blame speeding tickets on the police trying to make quotas, we blame a broken relationship on the other person, we blame a failed exam on the teacher. When we blame others for our hardships, we give them power over our lives. This evolution in my life is to take back the power that I would normally give others and give it to myself instead. Giving myself power has to include both the positive and negative parts of my life. If I take all the credit for getting a good grade on a test, I have to be prepared to take the blame for a bad grade. I think the reason people have a hard time owning what happens is that you become vulnerable to yourself and others. Yes, you are opening yourself up for blame, but you are also opening yourself up for growth. Vulnerability is not as negative as society sometimes makes it out to be. Being vulnerable to another person (or yourself!) allows for trust to grow. With that trust, the relationships (even with yourself) strengthen.

"Waiting for experiences” evolves to “Creating experiences”
I love Jim Carrey. I became a fan when he was Ace Ventura and have followed his career ever since. I feel one of his most underrated movies is “Yes Man”. The story revolves around a man who starts to say yes to everything that is asked of him, no matter what. Go to a concert? Yes! Give a homeless man some change? Absolutely! Take Korean lessons? Sure! While the story is fictional, the premise behind the story holds merit. By saying yes to what is asked of us, we create experiences in our lives that we can grow from. Each experience creates a situation we can reflect on, whether the outcome is good or bad. But instead of waiting for experiences to find me, I have started to try and create my own. My neighbors recently invited me to their house-warming party. I said I would try to stop by but later that night I wasn’t feeling very social. Instead of waiting for the experience to come to me, I summoned up all my socializing might and sauntered my way next door. It wasn’t a life-changing experience by any means, but it could have been (I could have easily met my future wife). And that’s the point! Do not wait! Create your own experiences because it might just change your life.


Even through muddy waters, a river always flows. Even at the worst of times, we must always be moving forward in our lives, striving to be better. Be a better friend, better husband/wife, better athlete, better employee. Implementing an “Evolution” strategy into our lives will push us to become better people. Striving to be better will allow us to bring more to the lives of others by being the best possible person that we can be. It’s really easy to be a scorer as a human, but it’s what we bring to the life beyond our scoring that makes us a person.  


Paul Bagnall (Right) is a teacher and coach for multiple sports teams- most notably assisting for men's basketball at St. Mary's University as well as head coach at the highschool level. Paul has a fire for life, which includes his passion for mentorship. This mentoring is how Paul's path crossed The Five You Need, as his guidance and support for Jordan in all dimensions is already unquantifiable in such a short window of time. 

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