“The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.”
– Jack Sparrow
If you follow the Winter Olympics you know there has been a controversy surrounding the US speed skaters’ new high-tech racing suits.
After a disappointing performance last week, the team blamed the outfits. Under Armour, the suits’ designer, went into damage control mode, defending their state of the art creation. Eventually they agreed to made adjustments so as to give the athletes “improved confidence.” Ultimately the team decided to ditch the new suits in favor of the ones they’d been using all year. And guess what happened in the next round? Same underwhelming result.
Now, I’m certainly no expert on aerodynamic sports apparel, so whether the outfits actually made one bit of difference in the outcome is beyond my normally powerful gift of prophecy.
I do know, however, that I have blamed my golf clubs on a poor shot as well as named the faulty string tension on my tennis racket for my inability to get my first serve in.
I also know that I’ve procrastinated on work I need to–or tell myself I want to–do because the circumstances weren’t quite right. Tomorrow will be better I’ll say. And I’ll start on that book when my office is finally renovated, or tackle that important problem once I clean out my emails or see what’s happening on Twitter.
Maybe if you are an Olympic athlete and success or failure can be determined by a difference of a tenth or even one hundredth of a second, the focus on the equipment is warranted. For the rest of us it’s very rarely the equipment or conditions that keeps us from doing our best work.
It’s easy to blame the timing or the lighting or the lack of the perfect accoutrements when we fail to face our demons and do the hard, uncomfortable work. But more times that not we already have exactly what we need.
So stop blaming the suit.