Never does the human soul appear so strong as when it foregoes revenge and dares to forgive an injury.” Edwin H. Chapin
I am a huge NBA fan. I have learned a great deal from watching basketball – lessons about teamwork, winning and losing with grace, leadership, and so on. But nothing frustrates me more than when I watch grown men resort to infantile behavior when a call doesn’t go their way. We often see professional athletes who are making more than anyone I personally know, who have the eyes of millions watching their every move, who possess an amazing talent and the opportunity to use that gift, throw temper tantrums, get into fist fights, refuse to play fair and, basically, threaten to pick up their ball and go home if they don’t get their way.
Rudy Tomjanovitch, legendary NBA Coach for the Houston Rockets and the LA Lakers, learned a hard lesson about holding a grudge. When he was a forward with the Rockets he got into a very physical altercation with another player, one that resulted in him taking a number of extremely hard hits to his face. It had taken several security guards to hold Rudy back and, as he sat in the emergency room of the local hospital, he was still angry and couldn’t wait to get back to the stadium to continue the fight. Forget the game, never mind his team that had to play without him, certainly give no thought to the fans that paid good money to see a basketball game not a boxing match – the taste for revenge was strong in Rudy’s mouth.
At that point the doctor told him, “That’s not revenge you taste. That’s spinal fluid. Go back into that fight and you won’t come out alive. You gotta let this one go.”
Those words of wisdom brought a reality check for the young player. He realized that whatever else he might think about the unfairness of the punch or the way the other player behaved, he had to let it go and get on with his life. His injuries required five surgeries to correct, keeping him out of the game for the rest of the season. But had he pursued his desire for revenge, he would have been out of the game for the rest of his life.
When we put things in perspective, let go of a grudge, and move on to better things, we find life and healing. Refuse to move on and we could be forever stuck in a cycle of negativity, pain and victim behavior. We are never so strong as when we take the higher road!
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Pattie Vargas, Principal and Founder, The Vargas Group, is a frequent conference speaker on the topics of change management, organizational development, personal resilience and issues facing women in the workplace. As a John Maxwell Certified Coach, Teacher and Speaker, she provides seminars, keynote speaking, and coaching to move you and/or your team or organization in the desired direction to reach your goals.
Proprietary Communication 2017