As the year of 2018 is winding down how about we give ourselves a nice reality check to refocus on life. Reality check can help us realign our way of life and give us perspective. It is very easy to lose our reality as we get so caught up in our own circumstances and it is even easier to forget to check ourselves.

As a teacher and coach I am part of the great fraternity of “borrowers”. I found a good reality check posted up in a room and I took advantage to recreate it for my room in bold colorful lettering so that it might catch the eye of a person who comes in. It provides eleven reality checks to consider in life. They are not ranked in any particular order and have seeds of truth that reach each of our lives.

  1. You Will NOT Be Rewarded For Bad Behavior

    Lazy, lying, cheating, stealing will not be rewarded in life. It might lead to a quick fix, but never will it truly satisfy. What will be rewarded? Work, honesty, diligence, that is what works. What also works, you! You have skill and talent. To get rewarded trained skill will lead to better outcome. Take the time to develop skill and see the great results over time. At the end of the day what is rewarded by the world is production. No matter the job you must produce. When you produce for yourself, team, organization you become an invaluable asset ready to be rewarded.

    Watch Eric Thomas “Everybody Wants To Be A Beast”

  2. Being Told “No” Is Part Of Life. GET OVER IT.

The word ‘No” is never pleasant to hear. It means whatever was on the other side of the rainbow we can’t have. When I was younger I thought of no as a negative word that I got more or less because of my age. That is far from the truth. The word “No” will be in life forever. When it is heard we must get over it. Get over it to me means that we don’t cry, complain, or argue. We can’t throw our hands up and put on a negative attitude. Seriously, if you get told no get over it. If we understand what we control we can however go back to the drawing board and find a solution. If we problem solve and find ways to no into yes then we learn to work through it. Honestly, sometimes we will be told no and that is that we can’t fight it.

Listen to Adam Grant’s Podcast “How to Love Criticism

3. You Are Free To Make Your Choice. You Are Not Free Of The Consequences.

We have many choices in life. We have small choices like what we eat for lunch or big choices like where we go to college and who we spend the rest of our life with. We make choices consciously, not respond to a text, and unconsciously, keep scrolling through our phone. We are free to make some choices in life. Life circumstance and background do dictate our choice limit and options, but overall we can make choices for just about everything in our life. The part people never want to truly face is the truth that from our choices we must live with the results. Charles Swindol says it this way, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”. Our reactions come in the form of choices based on millions of situations. The consequences can be real. Don’t do the work, get a poor grade. Stay at home to eat that extra doughnut rather than go to the gym, gain weight. I want you to make your choices, but maybe taking a second look to consider the possible outcomes of the choice might rid extra trouble.


4. Life Is Not Fair.

It has been said a trillion times. It will always be true. Some people find it out at a young age, some when they become legal adults. The question is not will we understand this truth, but when. Coming to grips with this ideal is not giving up, but I think it allows us to have a grip. We can’t get blown away and give up when things don’t go our way. We have many people in the world who give up at first struggle. I love the quote from Rocky Balboa (the sixth one). So powerful and true. Gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. “Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't how hard you hit; it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done. Now, if you know what you're worth, then go out and get what you're worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain't you. You're better than that.”

5. You're Not The Boss.

Yes, that is right. We forget that we all have someone to report to. I hear people (who usually aren’t pleasant) who want everyone to know that “no one is the boss of me”. In some capacity we have someone who oversees us and who we must in some way report to (directly or indirectly). This reality check means that we cannot go through life thinking that we do not have accountability. If we are that concerned about having a boss then I encourage you to take on your own business. Start your own brand and make it your thing. Ultimately, we must learn to accept accountability in life.

6. The World Does Not Revolve Around You.

Breaking news. There are billions of people in the world. All with many trials and tribulations. The world is not going to stop at our command (trust me I’ve tried it). The world like a clock keeps going and going. This is why we must unite to help each other. We need to take our issues and work through it. Using resources to make it better.

7. Respect Is EARNED, It Is NOT Given.

The misnomer in society is that until you do something to lose respect you should automatically have it. Respect is currency. Extremely valuable. Respect, admiration, trust is earned by how we live our life, the actions we make (or didn’t), and the words we use (or didn’t). Sometimes we directly have respect for someone like a coworker or teammate who through seen insight allows us to give respect. It can also come indirectly. For instance I have high respect for college basketball coaches Mike Krzyzewski and Buzz Williams. I have not yet had the privilege of meeting or interacting with them, but my respect for them both is there. How could I have respect for someone I haven’t met, because of the things I’ve learned, seen, and read about them. They did have to do something to earn my respect. I don’t believe that respect level begins at zero. Within seconds of meeting someone we have a base level of respect (disrespect). From that starting base we earn. The factor of entitled people lead to them demanding respect without doing anything to earn it. The great thing about doing good work and being an overall positive person is that word spreads and therefore we have the respect we desire.

8. The World Owes You Nothing. WORK FOR IT.

I love this. Not easy to accept, especially on the days where everything seems like it’s going up in flames. However, it is true. I have developed this hashtag that I firmly believe in. #WorkAlwaysWorks It means this. When you want anything in life (change, improvement, etc…) you must put in the work. That work will institute the outcomes. In sports all players want to play, but based on rules this is not realistically possible. Rather than complain about the role a player could work; stay after, arrive early, study film, workout, eat right, and a plethora of things that will help the player achieve what they want. People believe that they are entitled to a diploma or grade, ensured good employment with the nicest benefits. As a coach I am weary of getting “nice” things because of what it teaches students. If we start instilling this attitude that the work they put in will be a determining factor Most millionaires in America were not the greatest grade point average students, but they realized that a intense work ethic would give them success. Not all successful people came from high end families. That is why we love the story of someone coming from nothing and working for it all. We internally know that way is truly the best way, but we just think that it is someone else who will have to work for things in life. Work hard, it always works.

9. Fits And Tantrums Will Get You Nothing. Stop Wasting Your Time. *NO BCD

It is a shame this has to be said. Then I thought about it. Grown people don’t always throw gigantic fits, we understand for the most part, because some “grown” people do cry out like infants, that we can’t go crazy. Instead we have developed a society that loves it’s sarcasm and over uses it. We go to social media to rant about the person who did them wrong by looking at them. Our complaining wastes time and doesn’t take us forward. If we eliminated the time we waste due to complaining, whining , shrugging, rolling eyes…you get the point. We would have time to be more productive and going back to number eight put in some more work. No blaming our situation and what other people have done or not done and even more so defending our behavior when we have done wrong.

10. You Got Yourself. You Need To Fix You. Take Ownership

We have big dreams. We have ambitions. We have problems. We have responsibility. In life we point fingers before we look in the mirror. More and more the internal drive (intrinsic motivation) of people is becoming rarer. We sit back and wait for someone else to bail us out and fix the dilemma. We have to understand as individuals we need to own our issues and work. No longer will we accept people accepting staying back to play the back up role. The misnomer of this reality check is that we are alone. We are not alone, but we do need to take on responsibility for our life. That does mean using resources and others, just not because we are unwilling to take steps ourselves. If we have a problem in life we must take initiative to fix it. No pointing fingers at others faults, our life is on us. Taking ownership means that we accept FULL responsibility for our actions and decisions. You have one body, one mind, one life. Own it.

11. Close Your Mouth. Open Your Ears.

The old adage rings true. We have two ears and one mouth in which we should use in the same ratio. Steven Covey said “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” and we all should take this to heart. We can learn something from everyone we meet and we don’t take advantage. Radio is being brought back in the form of podcasts now which have been created by many people on many subjects. We want to learn and grow without lifting a finger, just open up our ears. Simon Sinek, someone I highly recommend listening to, maintains leaders should speak last. “The skill to hold your opinions to yourself until everyone has spoken does two things: One, it gives everybody else the feeling that they have been heard. It gives everyone else the ability to feel that they have contributed…And two, you get the benefit of hearing what everybody else has to think before you render your opinion.”. One method people should utilize is the technique called active listening. To actively listen one must be fully attentive to what is being said. There must be alertness to emotions and feelings being relayed which enhances the listening. An active listener will listen to fully allow the other side communicate, interrupting and inserting opinions does not work. Then in response the listener should use inquisitive questions to probe for additional information. Then once all the information has been gathered an active listener will restate what has been communicated to show that listening led to comprehension. To open the ears gives us new growth. To open the ears means we must put away the headphones at times. I enjoy listening to music, but no one should live life with headphones in their ears at all hours of the day. Even the classic one earbud in effects what we can listen to. One final note on closing our mouth. Our words get us in trouble the most. The Bible makes many references to the tongue. All of them ring true.

Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. - Proverbs 21:23

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. - Ephesians 4:29

Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. - Psalm 34:13

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. - Proverbs 17:28

It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” - Matthew 15:11

There is is. Eleven reality checks that allow us to become better individuals. It might not be feasible to work on all eleven. Try picking three that stand out and work on those three. Engaging everyday to make a conscious effort to consider their impact on our life. We live in reality and making sure our feet are moving in the right direction we have these checks among others to give us the roadmap to success.

Steven Hovermale