“Don’t pass the ball!”
Those were the words that I sometimes reflect back on when thinking about playing basketball pick-up games in middle school.
I enjoyed the experience until the one day that one of my friends uttered that short sentence in exasperation.
In his eyes, I’d become too comfortable with passing the ball to him and my other teammates on the court instead of shooting it.
My other teammates echoed my friend’s sentiments.
I wasn’t angered or saddened by his words, but I was confused and disappointed. I thought I was helping the team with my selflessness.
Unlike the simple mathematical formulas that we learned in the classroom, there aren’t clear right and wrong answers on the basketball court.
Game situations are constantly evolving; what works effectively in certain instances won’t work effectively in other instances.
Different circumstances call for different responses because of different factors.
As one of Buddhist teachers said, there are many tools you can use in your meditation. If stick to only one tool, you’ll limit your progress and possibilities for finding happiness in the practice.
What are the Options?
Understanding the factors involved in making decisions and taking actions is complicated because we’re following our intentions and being influenced by our perceptions for even basic tasks like choosing what to order at a restaurant.
There are certain foods that I know are disagreeable to my stomach, so I’ll careful to avoid them. From a psychological standpoint, I also try to be mindful of my mood too; I know I may be more prone to indulge in an unhealthy dessert if I’m feeling kind of down.
Decision making is even more complex when our actions directly affect other people who have their own intentions and perceptions of the world. There are countless mental decisions being made when groups of people like a families or co-workers eat together at a restaurant.
Calculus may be complex, but there’s nothing more complicated than the mind.
There are some cases where you need to pass more, but there are other cases where you need to shoot more. And there are other options that you’ve probably never even considered.
Sometimes you need to call a timeout to evaluate the options that you can see in the moment.
But you can’t stay in the huddle and off the court forever.
The game clock won’t stop ticking until the game is over.
Sports like basketball are meant to be played.
Life is meant to be lived.
A great basketball coach can draw up a play for you, but you still need to pass or shoot the ball for yourself and know when is the best time to do so.
In life, the ball is in your hands.
What will you do?