Joyce Di Donato hit the nail on the head this week with her commencement address at Julliard. ” You will never make it, she told the group. That’s the bad new but the shift I invite you to make is to see it as fabulous, outstanding news, for I don’t actually believe there is an it.”
We play and compete because it’s fun. We also do it because, for many of us it’s way of feeling connected and alive. It’s an opportunity to become more and be part of something greater than ourselves. One of the things we learn though is that grace, the thing that transforms us and our experience isn’t waiting on the other side of the finish line. It isn’t found in the record books or on the podium. Grace is found along the way in the challenges and choices we encounter and in our response.
Over time we discover that the rush that comes with the victory or the accomplishment is momentary and fleeting. As enjoyable as they are, and they can be exciting, they are not what sustains or transforms us.
Di Donato goes on to tell the graduates, ” One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself right here, right now, in this single, solitary , monumental moment in your life – is to decide without apology to commit to the journey and not the outcome.”
So, play to win? Of course. Strive to better our performance? Absolutely. Remember though, to compete means literally to journey with. To “commit without apology to the journey” and let go of the outcome – is to play with grace.