Design your own life’s game plan. Let the game respond to you rather than the other way around. Be like Bill Walsh, the former head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Everybody thought he was a kind of eccentric because of how extensively he planned his plays in advance of each game. Most coaches would wait to see how the game unfolded, then respond with plays that reacted to the other team. Not Bill Walsh.Walsh would pace the sidelines with a big sheet of plays that his team was going to run, no matter what. He wanted the other team to respond to him.
Walsh won a lot of Super Bowls with his unorthodox proactive approach. But all he did was to act on the crucial difference between creating and reacting.
You can create your own plans in advance so that your life will respond to you. If you can hold the thought that at all times your life is either a creation or a reaction, you can continually remind yourself to be creating and planning. “Creation” and “reaction” have the same letters in them, exactly; they are anagrams. (Perhaps that’s why people slip so easily out of one and into the other.)
Many of us can spend whole days reacting without being aware of it.We wake up reacting to news on the clock radio. Then we react to feelings in our body. Then we start reacting to our spouses or our children. Soon we get in the car and react to traffic, honking the horn and using sign language. Then, at work, we see an e-mail on our computer screen and react to that. We react to stupid customers and insensitive bosses who are intruding on our day. During a break, were act to a waitress at lunch.
This habit of reacting can go on all day, every day. We become goalies in the hockey game of life, with pucks flying at us incessantly.It’s time to play another position. It’s time to fly across the ice with the puck on our own stick ready to shoot at another goal.
Robert Fritz, who has written some of the most profound and useful books on the differences between creating and reacting, says, “When your life itself becomes the subject matter of the creative process, a very different experience of life opens to you—one in which you are involved with life at its very essence.”
Plan your day the way Bill Walsh planned his football games. See the tasks ahead as plays you’re going to run. You’ll feel involved in your life at its very essence, because you’ll be encouraging the world to respond to you. If you don’t choose to do that, the life you get won’t be an accident. As an old Jewish folk saying puts it, “A person who does not make a choice makes a choice.”