Why Musings and Not Blog

A “Musing” is my way of saying “Blog.” I don’t feel hip enough “to Blog” so I’m offering weekly “musings” on the things that have impacted my life and career, especially over the past three decades as a Coach of UCLA Gymnastics.

The main musing I hope our UCLA student-athletes ponder while in our program is this quote by William Shakespeare:

“Life is about Choice; the Choices we make dictate the Life we lead.”

I explain it to our student-athletes in this way: I like to think that we produce different thought bubbles for every life situation. The bubble we decide to “feed” produces emotions, and those emotions produce actions.

think = > feel = > action

Each action will have numerous repercussions in our life. Even how we say “Good morning” to someone can have numerous positive or negative repercussions.  The important part of this equation is that, unless you have a mental disability you have full control over the thoughts you feed and the thoughts you starve. When you accept this philosophy as fact, you start assuming control over your life.

It’s interesting working with 18-22-year-olds on a daily basis and having my career and livelihood determined by their behavior. Especially when you take into consideration their raging hormones and the fact that (as I just recently learned) their frontal lobes won’t be fully developed until a few years after they graduate. This is a major fact that is often overlooked when working with such highly talented and skilled athletes.

As explained in Wikipedia, the “frontal lobe is associated with reward, attention, short-term memory tasks, planning, and motivation as well as emotional expression, problem solving, memory, language, judgment, and sexual behavior. It is in essence, the ‘control panel of our personality and our ability to communicate.’” …YIKES!

Is it unreasonable to suggest to young adults who’s frontal lobes aren’t fully developed that they can control their thoughts, emotions and subsequent  actions?

I don’t know.

I do know that it doesn’t hurt to offer this up for them to contemplate and start acknowledging, especially when they feel Life is against them… which I hear A LOT! When I’ve discussed this with our team, there are always a few who disagree and feel that their minds operate independently and think randomly and at will. These are also usually our younger freshmen and sophomores. I remember Katie Dyson who was the valedictorian of her high school coming to me half way through her junior year at UCLA and said, “Miss Val, you know that ‘Life is about Choice thing?’ … I just got it and it’s so true!’” I remember thinking “WOW, she’s an exceptionally bright young adult. If SHE just got it, how long will it take the others?”

Do you take time to acknowledge your different thought bubbles?

Remember… You always have a choice of which one you feed.

Photo by Christopher Sardegna

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I love it when I find toys and books that my mom has saved from my chihdlood. I always find gems to share with my own kids. Such a nostalgic feeling! Have a great Sunday.

Scott Shields
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Scott Shields

One of my Therapists, Dr. Nancy Irwin, recommended a book to me called The Biology of Belief, which sort of reinforces what you’re talking about with the brain bubble idea, I thought it might interest you. I’m just starting it and it has some interesting ideas and history info as well.