Lose the battle, but win the war.
Step back and look at the bigger picture: was that the battle or the war?
If you lose the first game in the NCAA basketball tournament, that’s the battle AND the war. It’s over. It was just one battle, but it’s up or out. You’re done. But take the World Cup. You can lose the first match, but win the next 3 (or even 2 of the 3) and still have a chance. You can lose battles and still go on to win the war.
It helps to know how long the battle is. But what if you just can’t know?
But what about your health? What about cancer? What if one type of chemo didn’t quite do what we had hoped? Do we just give up and say, “Oh well, that didn’t work. It’s over.” It depends. Is it the NCAA basketball tournament or the World Cup? Or maybe it’s the first game of baseball season. Don’t they play something like 162 games? Losing the first one isn’t fun, but in each first game of the season, one of the teams is going to lose. How big was the battle lost? What can you do to win the next one? Is there an agenda or typical strategy to follow? What if there isn’t? Who’s going to tell you if that was a battle or a war?
You might not know. Yet. You might have to just battle it out and see how you do. When will you know if the season is 4 games or 40 games? I like sports because it’s unpredictable. Health is, unfortunately or fortunately, also unpredictable. Maybe it’s battle #3 that turns the tide to go on to win the war. Maybe it’s battle #34. How are you going to know?
What if you don’t know the rules? What if no one does?
What if you’re not even sure what sport you’re playing? Flying blind and not sure where the next battle will take place and against whom or what, how many, how much, or when.
Sports professionals (and alcoholics … ) talk about focusing on the game they’re playing or if that one is just over, the next one. They’re not talking about the whole season, but rather the game at hand. What can they influence about the end of the season? Not much. What can they influence about the game they’re in the middle of? Let them out of the interview and back on the field and let them play and they’ll get busy.
We can’t influence tomorrow. It doesn’t help that you’ll play better tomorrow or that you’ll be healed tomorrow. Tomorrow, by definition, doesn’t exist, it’s never now. Now is today. What can you do in today’s game, today’s battle? What can you do today? Will today be the last battle if we win? I don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see. But once you win a few battles, you can momentum, confidence and inspiration to fight (and win) the next battle. You’ve seen some success and you’re hungry for more. Don’t let the battle losses sap all of your strength. It’s just one battle. Win or lose, it’s just one. Of many. How many? Don’t know.
Ready for the battle tomorrow? That’s great, but how about the battle today? Will it be the last? Don’t know, but how about we fight it as if it’s the last one, the last one we need to fight to turn the tide and win the war.
Today we are better. Today we are healed. Today we are healthy. Today we win.