I later went on to win championships by making foul shots. I scored my 1,000th point in high school on a foul shot. I even ended up making 52 foul shots in a row after school one day, just for the fun of it. Maybe there really is no such thing as being clutch. Maybe you just learn how to operate under grueling pressure and that becomes the norm. It’s only clutch because not many people can do so, and for those who can’t, well, they needed a name to identify that rare thing that happens every so often to them. But for others, all the time.
It’s exactly like design thinking.
But anyway. Let’s talk about potential. That same AAU coach ended up making another speech later that practice. He said, “Do you girls know what potential is?”
I nodded my head. It’s what you’re capable of, I remember thinking. My family and I talked about life concepts like this all the time growing up. It seemed like an obvious answer, but after the hand-raising incident I wasn’t going to say it out loud.
“It’s what’s you’re capable of,” he said.
Boom. Nailed it.
“And you don’t ever want to reach your potential,” he said.
“You don’t ever want to reach that point,” and he raised his hand in a step-by-step manner, “where you know that you are all that you are ever going to be.”
“Because once you do, once you reach your potential, that’s it. That’s as good as you’re ever going to get. That’s why you always have to keep striving for it rather than actually achieving it. It should always be just out of reach.”
I later went home and told my Dad about what my coach said.
“I don’t agree with what coach said. That doesn’t make any sense to me. Why would you not want to reach your potential?” I asked.
And so began a conversation that pretty much ended with my Dad saying, “The beauty of life is that you can tailor everything to your own style. Take what you want from what he said and weave it into something more suitable for you. If his definition doesn’t jive, that’s ok. That’s his definition. But it’s not yours, and that’s probably for a reason.”
I was satisfied. Together, we had solved my existential crisis.