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What Rules!

By Clyde Dennis

There are things that we do automatically internally that we don't even realize are the things that make us who we are. Our own rules for living that we hardly ever question, and even less frequently examine.

A few months ago I made a statement in a small group of co-workers concerning the fact that somewhere along the way, as a mechanism (as in "clear the... " (from the movie 'For the Love of the Game', see it if you haven't. It's awesome...)) for getting through tough situations, I developed the belief that I always win. ALWAYS! Until I said it and it was "out there" I hadn't ever really thought about it in terms of being a belief that I had. I feel though that having this belief has smoothed me out. I don't suffer drastic fluctuations in the way I feel based on how things are going for me. Basically I always feel pretty up in the game. It's because of this goofy voice in the back of my mind that constantly reminds me that no matter how bad things may look right now "you know you're gonna win, why even get bothered about it". I just believe I'm always going to win. What I'm saying here is that no matter what the situation I believe that if I keep my head, and dig into it more I will be shown a way to see myself as better off for the new experience that I've just encountered. No matter how rough the experience may appear to observers on the outside, you'd better understand and believe on the inside Clyde's winnin' baby.

A little education here, bare with me...

Back when I was playing in lots of racquetball tournaments, and losing more than I was winning, it was rough mentally. There were times at the end of certain matches when I had just got beaten so badly that I really seriously considered trying to dig a hole into that hardwood floor and covering myself up. This rather than go out of that stinkin little door and face what was on the outside of the court. Racquetball is not a huge spectator sport but there were some tournaments in California and Texas, two states where the sport enjoys it's largest participation, when somewhere around 500 to 600 people would turn out to see the action. Now that doesn't sound like a lot of people when you consider how many people show up for some other sporting events, but in racquetball the fans are a lot closer to you when you exit the field of play than they are in most other sports. So close in fact that you can feel their stares and hear their comments about your performance, and we all know everyone has an opinion. They get to look into your eyes, and you into theirs. That's close, and not always comfortable. It's one of the now small things that I had to learn to deal with.

In racquetball if you get beat without scoring, as in 15 - 0, it's called "taking a donut". Let me tell you guys and girls something right here right now, you gotta have a strong constitution to take a 'double donut' in a 2 out of 3 game match and still show up the next weekend to possibly face the same opponent with many of the same people looking on. At one point my practice buddies took to calling me 'the baker'. I must have set some kind of record with the number of donuts I took in tournament play. I got so tired of hearing the question "Man, what happened?" that I developed a personal policy to never talk about the score off the racquetball court. Whether I came out ahead on the scoreboard or not I never talked about it. Period.

From this policy of never acknowledging the scoreboard grew inside of me a complete lack of focus on it. I would go into matches with personal goals that had nothing to do with what was on the scoreboard or how the match turned out. What I began to figure out was that the less energy I put into keeping score the more I had to put into playing the game. Which I guess made me a better player because the better I got at controlling this focus the more I played on Saturday and Sunday. (Which is a good thing.) Mentally letting go of the scoreboard freed me up to just play, which I had no problem doing once I figured this out.

Here's the meat.

When it comes to what you focus on, realize it's your decision. In life you can choose to focus on what everyone else thinks is important, or you could pick 2 or 3 things for yourself. Things that are important to you. You can be told what's important and accept what you've been told, or you could figure out for yourself where your focus should be based on what works for you.

Do not be afraid to be different. That's the beauty of the system were all in here together. We're all going to the exact same place but we all have different road maps for getting there. Your journey shouldn't look exactly like mine, because my journey is not your journey. How you get to where we're going is between you and your internal guide.

In closing I want to encourage you to be you. Examine the things that work for you and do more of them. The things that don't work for you, discard them. If being focused on the scoreboard doesn't work for you then forget it exist. Establish your own scoring system. Make your own rules. Define things in your own terms. Of course there is an established frame work within which we must all work, but I have found that the borders of this frame work are a whole lot further out than they first appear to be.

Don't wait to be led to where you want to go, be your own leader. Go there.

Thanks for your time.

Live some. Love some. Learn some. Everyday.


About The Author
Clyde Dennis, a.k.a. "Mr. How-To" has been writing and publishing Articles and Newsletters online since 1999. Clyde's company EASYHow-To Publications provides "How-To" information on How-To do, be or have just about anything one can imagine. For more information visit Email correspondence for Clyde should be sent to: cdennis at


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