Do You Want a Job with ESPN?
I’m a big sports fan, and like most sports fans I like to watch the post-game show. I enjoy hearing what the commentators have to say about important plays and key players in the game. So, I say this with love and respect, the post-game is kind of silly.
Think about it, the game is over, we all just watched it, we can’t change the outcome and yet we spend hours talking about it.
You know what would be sillier than that? Talking about the post-game. Imagine if after the post-game show, I sat around and talked about the way the commentator talked about the game after the game. This is the Post-Post-Game Syndrome. We go out and live our lives, then we talk about our lives and then we go home and evaluate how we did at living our lives and talking about our lives. This situation creates a never-ending loop where we aren’t present for the moment. We are always weighing and evaluating and commentating about the past. We miss the key play because we’re still talking about talking aboutthe last game.
This habit comes from the honorable but unnecessary pursuit of perfectionism. We’re trying to improve for the next time this happens or else trying to figure out if we need to issue a pre-emptive apology.
I was invited to a movie screening and after-party with a friend I seldom saw. We had a wonderful time seeing movie stars and snacking at a fancy hotel restaurant. We sat at the bar and enjoyed a long, rambling conversation about our lives, our families and some of our difficult days. I went home feeling the satisfaction of getting to attend a special event and connecting in a real way with another human being.
As I pulled out of the parking lot, I received a text from my friend. “Sorry about that lame comment about the Simpsons. Failed attempt at humor. Hope you don’t think I’m a total idiot.” As soon as she had gone to her car, she had begun to evaluate what she said in the bar and determine how I might feel about it. She was suffering from the Post-Post Game Syndrome.
I replied, “I had a wonderful time. I hope we can do it again soon.” What I wanted to say is how sad I was that she had indulged in this kind of painful thinking, I know this behavior so well, I’ve done it for years. The trouble is that I always found myself lacking. My potent inner critic never gave me a good review. This the same thing that happened to my friend.
What should we do when we negatively evaluate our performance, our conversations or our appearance after the event is over?
In honor of football season, I came up with this acronym NFL = No Fault-finding Language. Now, every time you see or hear NFL try applying it to your thoughts.
Another thing I learned from my mentor is to simply say to myself, “Well, glad that’s over” or “It’s safe to let it go.”
I also try to avoid apologizing* as much as possible, I try to notice whenever I use the word ‘Sorry’ to see if it is really warranted. Often I find myself apologizing for simply being, like when someone else bumps into me and I instantly apologize for their accident. Above all, I find that encouraging myself to stay in the present is the best medicine.
*See my blog entry Color My Apology Pinkfor more on the unnecessary apology.