Christine Peng-Peng Lee

Find Comfort In Your Default

“You are what you continually do–just do what you do!” This is what my dear friend Kirk Walker, UCLA assistant softball coach told me as we headed to the Super Six Gymnastics Championship finals on Saturday night. I found it very appropriate, encouraging and stress-relieving. We all have a default setting. What we do today, tomorrow and the day after is our default. We like to imagine that we are going to be different in varying situations–which can and sometimes does happen–but outside those rare exceptions we should find comfort knowing we’re likely to rise and fall to the level of our default.

This is what makes daily actions so important. It’s through practice and repetition that we form habits. It’s through these habits that we begin to create a lifestyle. And it’s through our lifestyle and the actions we continue to take within it that builds our character. This cannot be gained or lost in a single instance.

One moment may be what people remember, but it’s not what defines us. This weekend on her very last routine, redshirt senior Christine Peng-Peng Lee mesmerized the arena in St. Louis during Super Six to score her very first Perfect 10 on beam at UCLA. Without question it’s a moment that will be remembered and cherished forever. But for those who know Peng, they’ve already seen that her default is a Perfect 10. Day in and day out Peng goes above and beyond. Peng’s beam routine Saturday night was merely Peng doing what she always does, strive for excellence. How exciting that the rest of the world had an opportunity to see and acknowledge it on the biggest stage our collegiate environment has to offer.

I believe you can peak at certain moments. In fact, it’s part of my job as a coach to get our team to peak at the appropriate time at the end of season. What I can’t do is change the default setting. How we operate and how we work every… single… day… is who we are. There’s comfort in that… knowing that the lights will go out, the chalk dust will settle and the cheers will fade. The work we put in every day to be better athletes, coaches, students, and people in general will last a lifetime. This is a foundation we can count on.

Photo courtesy Bill

Leave a Reply

22 Comments on "Find Comfort In Your Default"

Notify of
avatar
Katie
Guest

I’m looking forward to sharing this with my middle school students. Hopefully this will help them understand why I push them to think hard in class & why their coaches push them at practice.

Brittany
Guest
When I think of a mental “default setting” I think of those pony rides where the ponies go around in a circle continuously, not deviating from their path. I needed to change my mental “default setting” because it was destructive and unhealthy. I was beginning to turn to substances thinking I could use them to block out certain feelings and I started to understand why people wanted to hurt themselves. (I still do but I have not tried to hurt myself.) I decided to get help and, after a few years, I feel that my default setting is much better… Read more »
Kelli
Guest

Congratulations on making that change! I made the same change years ago and it wasn’t easy, but it was SO worth it!

Brittany
Guest

Thanks, Kelli and you’re right, it is so worth it!

Kelli
Guest
I’ll admit that when I first read this I felt discouraged because I am not happy with my current default setting. But after rereading this I realized that I was thinking only about the physical, not the mental. I actually do like, and am comfortable with, my mental default setting. I like that I am mentally tough, that I do my best to be kind to others, and that I can always find the positive in a bad situation. My mental default setting is what will help me reconfigure my physical default setting into what I want it to be.… Read more »
Mary Lee
Guest

Love it Miss Val! Our default setting… new words for a concept that is reality! Thank you as always for sharing your wisdom! Congrats on a great weekend!!

Edwin Rivas
Guest

A big congratulations to Christine Peng-Peng Lee, and the rest of the squad for their performances.

I agree our default is shaped through what we create for ourselves, and ultimately the work of our default will be what we are recognized and remembered by.

What also supplements our default is being surrounded by constructive, influential people. The team is fortunate to have people like you in their corner.

Newton Oluwaseun Abigail
Guest
Newton Oluwaseun Abigail
Thank you Miss Val for another wonderful musing. I find myself looking forward to one every Monday. And also congratulations on an incredible season. I know championship number 7 is coming sooner than later. Woke up 4 am to watch the bruins that I almost fell asleep while listening to Easter Sunday sermon. 😂. I feel like am a bruin by proxy. Hoping one day to come see you and the athletes in person. Well there’s nothing impossible for God. My friends think am crazy when I talk about UCLA gymnastics or when am hyperventilating over a meet. Thank you… Read more »
Lawrence Davis
Guest
Reminds me of my golf game. My default is 90-94. I visualize 75 but, unfortunately, can’t put in the work necessary to achieve that score. As for Peng, she is the embodiment of grace, beauty and athleticism. I m not surprised by the 10. We all knew she had it in her and would have gotten another on bars but for that small step in the dismount. What I am surprised about is that she was not asked to sing the National Anthem in St. Louis. Oklahoma was a force this year. Did you check to see if they are… Read more »
Lee
Guest
This is another great one to contemplate. This reminded me of my high school yearbook quote by Aristotle- “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act, but a habit.” Once again, you made this relevant to our lives today which is awesome. To me, the best thing about Peng getting her 10 was that she was acknowledged when she hit her biggest gymnastics skills instead of playing it safe just to get a high score. As you rightly point out, very few of us will have the opportunity to earn a 10 out in the midst… Read more »
Theo Karlous
Guest

I think you’re going to get a lot of great responses again :).

When a person strays from a path (good or bad), the will decides whether or not there will be action to get back on that path. Hopefuly the will is conditioned by habits/development that can make good and quick turnarounds. This helps create mental toughness and confidence too. Trusting those habits/development helps parents, teachers, coaches, employers, etc. by not micromanging and just guide the person to grow :).

Khristós Anésti! Alithós Anésti!

Riley Goldberg
Guest

It was so wonderful to be there to experience the moment Peng was rewarded with her 10!

wpDiscuz