It takes effort to look back on things we’ve done with intentionality. And at times it seems like a waste of time – we’re living in the now. Being present with those around us, doing what we’re doing now, is a good ting! But looking back can serve an important purpose. Evaluating our actions and behaviour can help us make better decisions in the future, and minimise the chance of repeating silly mistakes. This is most readily obvious for me when trying to improve my ultimate frisbee playing skills, but is just as useful for improving my writing and communication.

I’ve played sport of some kind or other since I was about five years old. It started with cricket and soccer, expanded to include racket sports (first tennis, then badminton, then squash), and eventually evolved to include ultimate (frisbee). My life has included a lot of ultimate since then. Like many younglings, it took a while for me to understand there was more to this sport idea than running the fun activity of running around after the ball/disc/shuttle. As I got older, I coupled this awareness with a newfound love of problem solving, and realised it was an effective strategy for getting better at playing each sport.

The next step involved analysing why something did or didn’t work, and figuring out how to do more of the good more often. Some examples:

  • Dropped a simple catch while wicket-keeping: How was my footwork? Were both gloves positioned well? Was it really a simple catch?
  • Missed a save while goalkeeping: Was my weight on my toes ready to move? Or had I already committed, leaving an opening for the striker? Do I need to improve practice diving effectively?
  • A forehand tanked into the ground (works for racket sports and ultimate): Was my arm motion smooth? Did I connect/release at the appropriate time? How was my footwork?

These are individual skills. Some I can work to improve on my own. Others I know the problem but will require help from someone with more experience to find a solution.

There are also team strategies and tactics to work on within each sport!

  • Opposition scored a point in ultimate: Were we all in correct position for our structure? Did we each know what our role was? Did we almost force a turnover?
  • Turned the disc/ball over: Was the pass the best choice? Did we have players in the best positions to provide options?
  • How did we play overall? Maybe we played well, but our opposition was better on that particular day.

Knowing how we react when under pressure in game situations will help us better reflect on that past performance. We can answer honestly when talking things through. This will be tough, requiring thinking about past mistakes, poor decisions, and technical skills which are not at the level we want.

Identify the problem. Plan a solution. Implement.

This process works for writing too. Write the story/poem/song:

  • Are there parts which don’t quite fit? If so, what about them doesn’t fit?
  • Edit to improve? Or file elsewhere for use in a future piece?
  • Was writing to practice skills or to publish?

Drafting a story, or a poem, or a song is the first step. Editing it, refining it, reshaping it is where the magic happens. I’m finding this more each day as I edit my book manuscript, Balance of Honour. One particular scene I thought was destined for the editing room floor. But, with a few minor tweaks it became an integral emotional moment.

The same process can be used when thinking about effectiveness of communication. A big part of paid employment can be communicating effectively to get work done. If a certain interaction didn’t go well it can help to figure out why.

  • Did the meeting have a clearly defined purpose? Did all parties know what this was?
  • Was there sufficient time for everyone to speak?
  • Were all parties listening to, and hearing, what was being said?

Remember, it’s not only about the words we say, but also showing respect with body language and tone.

We can glean useful knowledge from every situation. Even if that’s as simple as telling ourselves, “That didn’t work. Next time I’ll try something different.”

* * *

Is communication with others something you find easy? Stressful? Productive? A time sink?

Do you evaluate decisions you’ve made and actions you’ve taken?

How can you improve these processes?

* * *

We each have our gifts, and it is a blessing to share them with one another. I pray you feel encouraged to share your beautiful gifts this coming week.


9 thoughts on “Reflection

  1. Cheryl, Gulf Coast Poet says:

    Hamish, an interesting and well-written post. Experience is the best teacher. We should extract knowledge from every experience, good or bad. The Greek tragedies say that we learn from our experiences and then we die. That is a dim view, I think. We should learn throughout life and put what we have learned into practice…long before we die! What you have learned from sports, you have applied very well into life lessons. ❤ Hope all is well with you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hamish says:

      Thank you Cheryl. I think even if we don’t use all the knowledge we gain in our own lifetime, we can pass on what we learn.

      I am busy, the his kind, which I’m finding fruitful. 😊 I hope all is well with you too!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Navin says:

        You’re welcome Hamish….Mostly bowling n a bit of batting (slogging)….I was a very good fielder as well…could hit the wickets from long distance….but that was over 15 yrs back….

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hamish says:

        Cool. Boundary hitter. 😎 Never too late to get back into it if you feel like you want to, and cricket is back to being played where you are. I used to be a wicketkeeper, and a batter who was good at not getting out! Didn’t score fast though!


    1. Hamish says:

      You are welcome. One of ways connection with the wonderful people on WordPress helps, is that I find the courage to share, and see the benefit opening up provides my own wellbeing.


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