Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Winning Isn’t Everything October 27, 2014

I’ve never had too much of a competitive spirit. Playful? Sure. But not necessarily competitive. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt to lose. Even when I know I had friends and family rooting for me from all over the place, it still stings a little more than I would like it to. A little more than I expected.

It is with a sad heart I share with you I did not win the costume contest I entered a couple of weeks ago. In spite of the support I had from all of you, my beloved WordPress family, the award went to someone else. When I heard the news, I found myself feeling something with which I am not familiar. Loss. From the ground up, it does not become me.

May The Force

Almost simultaneously, I felt the wheels in my mind churning to find my silver lining. Sure enough, it came to me in droves a mere second or two later. You. The person reading this, standing by my side in this moment. You are my silver lining. Because I may not have won the prize, but I didn’t lose it alone. I lost it with the love and support of every single one of you, regardless of whether you’ve been by my side since I started sharing joy from the ground up in 2012 or you just hopped on the joy wagon today. That is my silver lining.

I know not everyone’s mind works like that. It isn’t everyone’s first reaction to something bad to try to find something good. But it wasn’t always the way my mind worked either. It’s taken making happiness a habit for me to realize that there is a silver lining in any situation; it’s just not always that easy to find.

It is a rare instance for me to disagree with a famously brilliant person, but today that is exactly what I’m going to do. “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing,” said legendary Packer coach Vince Lombardi. As it pertains to the Packers, he’s right. But in every other aspect of life, I can’t say it’s true that winning is the only thing. Especially when losing isn’t half bad.

 

It’s A Win-Win January 5, 2014

It’s not about winning. That was mom’s opinion of a failed attempt by the Green Bay Packers to continue their journey to Superbowl 48. Today our beloved Packers fell to the San Francisco 49ers 23-20 in a playoff battle to remember. My Little Team

It was Carter’s first Packer game, and (while he didn’t stay awake for any of it) that brought with it a new kind of excitement. Packer Sundays are filled with traditions in the Schmidt home, and this Sunday was no different. Except it was. My people prepared the usual delicious smelling food, dressed up in their Packer Sunday best, and cheered on the beloved team.

And it was an exciting game, filled ups and downs. Packed with moments of joy and moments of frustration. So when the clock ticked down to nothing and the loss was imminent, mom’s words brought to the situation into perspective for me.

This game, or any game for that matter, is much like life in that way. Filled with ups and downs. Moments of joy and moments of frustration. All of this is experienced as part of a team, which is sometimes greater than the sum of it’s parts. I was reminded in that moment how blessed I am to be part of this particular team. I know we aren’t going to win every battle. But that’s okay, because I wouldn’t trade any of them for the world. They are happiness to me.

“Winning isn’t everything,” Packer coaching legend Vince Lombardi suggested, “it’s the only thing.” And in most other ways, I agree with him. But he was wrong about this. It’s not about winning. It’s about enjoying the game.

 

Life Worth Living August 3, 2013

I learned some unexpected lessons yesterday. I asked for help, and it wasn’t so bad. But the responses to my request, as well as my reaction to them, brought me to some interesting conclusions.

It wasn’t news to me that I have an incredible support system made up of larger than life hearts and creative minds. I’ve known that for a while. But my defensive emotional response when it was suggested that I take a break? I wasn’t expecting that. Let my mind rest until new stories come to me? Stories happen around me every day – I just need to pay attention. Alone With My Thoughts

Indeed it has crossed my mind to take a day or two off from my 365-day journey, but I realize (or perhaps just reaffirm) now that I am stubborn about finishing what I’ve started. Being stubborn is not a very attractive quality to be sure, but I’ve never been a quitter and I have no intention of becoming one now. How can I be when I have words like commitment, perseverance and passion on my mind?

“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor,” suggested American football coaching legend Vince Lombardi. My chosen field of endeavor is bringing joy to the world, and I can’t exactly do that if I don’t challenge that little blinking cursor of doom I know as the occasional case of writer’s block. You will not defeat me writer’s block.

It’s no Armani neck tie. It doesn’t hold a cake to a Gucci handbag. It’s definitely not an Hermes scarf. Stubborn is one of those people accessories that just doesn’t look good on anyone. And yet I can’t give up. Instead I’ve decided to be stubborn about that in spite of how it looks on me.

So when I struggle I shall instead embrace excellence in simplicity by taking a page from American naturalist and essayist John Burroughs. “I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see,” said Burroughs. I know I have a lot more thoughts to think, places to go, things to learn and friends to make in this life. These are the things that make life worth living.

This post is dedicated to my pal Trev, who shared with me the John Burroughs quote in addition to his friendship. Thanks for being you, dear Trev.