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  • Writer's pictureH. Rick Goff

"It's All I Know"

A famous and incredibly talented young athlete who had a propensity to get in trouble off the field was asked after one of his infamous incidents, "why do you continue to behave the way you do". He simply said, "it's all I know". He wasn't apologetic at all, but he was saying he didn't know any other way! His actions and reactions were his default, and he didn't seem to know how to change them or himself. Trouble just seemed to follow him around, and no amount of money or fame could or would change his default settings. The sincerity and candor in which he spoke made him believable and even relatable to me to some degree. Life-long behaviors run deep, and they can be difficult to "unlearn". But change is necessary when that behavior is not only self-destructive but also has negative consequences on others in your space.

We are all products of our environment. We know what we know and are shaped by the places we have lived, the people in our village, and the experiences we've had over our lifetimes. Good, bad, or indifferent, we act and react based on what we have learned via our life experiences. A good dose of self-awareness (to include counseling) can go a long way in helping us change our default settings, but it is by no means a simple task. It's always said the first step in solving a problem is to recognize there is in fact a problem! Change can be difficult, but the first step is to recognize that your default settings are not in synch with your current reality, and you must begin the process of changing your behavior. One of the biggest mistakes anyone can ever make is to assume they have "it" figured out and accept the current version of themselves as the end and be all. Life is everchanging and the most important asset we have is the ability to adapt, change and influence our own environments. Consider the places you go, the things you do, and most importantly, the people you allow in your space! Rearranging these key aspects of your life can be challenging and will present hard and difficult choices. Mistakes will most certainly be made during this process, but making the hard choices are necessary for you to be the best version of yourself.

I can relate to the default settings sometimes being out of synch with one’s current reality, but this can be corrected. We have the innate ability to change our default settings by re-booting our systems and deleting the chaff. We must recognize and accept the need to change and then we have to want it; because change will not just happen, it takes an intentional and focused effort. When asked about his behavior during the interview, the athletes' response of "it's all I know" was no doubt an honest answer. But he like many of us need to change our default settings and learn to "know better"!

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