Near the end of Orr: My Story, Bobby Orr lists some questions hockey prospects need to ask themselves before they pursue the elusive and improbable goal of becoming an NHL hockey player. When I read the questions first, I considered them in terms of hockey. But my son is a competitive baseball player, so I read them a second time from an “any competitive sport” perspective. Then I read them a third time as life questions that apply to everyone.
His questions touch on our willingness to take risks, persevere, make mature decisions, maintain self-confidence, accept responsibility and live with injustice. They don’t just apply to young people starting out; they apply to everyone, everywhere.
His original questions have a hockey slant. I paraphrase them to apply to life in general:
- Are you willing to move away from home? If your life dream requires you to leave safety and security and venture out on your own, could you do it?
- Are you prepared to work hard each and every day and always give your best effort no matter how those efforts are rewarded?
- Are you willing to pick up after yourself and your teammates, load and unload and do other physical work for the good of everyone?
- Are you prepared to get little recognition or be excluded from some projects early on because you’re the newest member of the team?
- Are you prepared to deal with bosses who are angry because your team lost or performed poorly? You may find yourself punished without any clear communication from the boss. This could make it appear you are the cause of the loss or poor performance. Are you prepared for that?
- Are you able to remain positive and work hard when you make a mistake?
- Are you prepared to move to another team with a new boss if circumstances change?
- Will you be able to disregard any negative remarks made toward you by co-workers or others?
- Will you have the courage to tell friends or co-workers that you are tired or have work to do if they want you to go to a party or for a beer when you know it’s not where you should be?
- Will you have the courage to say no to any form of drug offered to you?
- If a teammate or friend is doing something wrong, will you have the courage to tell them and to distance yourself from them?
- When you succeed, there will be people who resent your success. Will you be able to stay away from people who are jealous of you and want you to fail?
No matter how old we are or what job we do, we face questions and circumstances like these.
How we respond makes the difference between success and failure.