A few days ago I was watching a football match being played at my daughter’s football academy. Throughout the game, what caught my ears was the constant direction their coach was giving them – “Options create kar!” A couple of days later I was at one of their training sessions, and I heard the phrase again – “Options create kar!” My ears perked up immediately and I lifted my head up from the book I was reading. The team was in a drill where their coach had divided them into groups of five, four of them being placed at four corners of a square area and one being in the center. The idea was to make the four corner players pass the football among themselves without allowing the player in the middle to snatch the ball or kick it out of the square. As I was watching this drill, I noticed that it wasn’t just a simple left to right or right to left pass. The coach was constantly guiding them with his mantra, “Options create kar!”
What does Options Create Kar really mean?
The phrase is a dual-language phrase, which means Create Your Options before you pass the ball to another player. In a game of football, it basically means be quick, alert, and decided to pass the ball effectively to your team player by baffling the opponent. All of the foundational techniques that you learn when you play football, such as dribbling, tackling, passing accuracy, shooting and receiving are put into use effectively through the use and execution of the phrase, “Options create kar!”
How can you take this mantra into your life?
“Options create kar,” is a very profound phrase you need to etch onto your life if you are failing to live up to your potential. It becomes even more important if you find that the word ‘eventually’ invariably becomes a part of everything you say – “I will start eating healthy, eventually,” “I will start exercising, eventually,” “I’ll start that business, eventually,” “I will be more assertive in my tasks, eventually,” “I will spend more quality time with my family, eventually,” “I will pursue my hobbies, eventually,” and so on…
The truth is you snuggle up to this ‘eventually’ word. Most people find themselves at the mercy of everything else around them. They get overwhelmed with the day-to-day stuff and struggle that they don’t have anything left in them to do any of the big things – their true goals, preferences, and desires. They have merely submitted to being a part of a reactive workflow, where they are constantly trying to stay afloat by reacting, responding, and reacting.
The football coach’s phrase, “Options create kar,” comes in as a timely reminder as we become increasingly reactive to what comes to us rather than being proactive about what really matters and end up working at the mercy of our surroundings. It tells you to always keep looking for opportunities, not stay frozen over your past mistakes, and come from a place of connection rather than correction. Let’s explore each aspect of this further.
Often, when you come from a place of reaction, from being a victim of the situation, you automatically close the doors on any opportunities that may already be present or soon to surface. Reactions cause stress, anxiety, and fear, and puts you in this high alert mode. When you react to any situation, uneasiness sets in. This is followed by fear, and usually without warning, panic begins to set in. You feel overwhelmed and overstimulated. Then you blame society. You start blaming your parents, your teachers, your upbringing. You blame your fate. You blame your boss. You blame the economy. You rationalize your situations.
It’s time to stop blaming your circumstances, your situations, and your surroundings, and start taking responsibility. If you want to create something worthwhile with your life, you need to have an eye for opportunities. And that will come the instant you decide to draw a line between the demands of the world and your own ambitions.
My mentor, John Assaraf, once shared a story about a traveler, making his way across a hot desert without food or water. All throughout the journey, he believed he wouldn’t make it to the village on the other side. Tired and thirsty, he looked up at the scorching sun, lost his balance, and fell on a cactus plant. As he fell, he cut his hand on the cactus, and in a flash, he had an insight – he remembered that plants in the desert have this incredible capability of storing water in them. He cut open the cactus to find enough water to quench his thirst. Then he looked and saw many more cacti all along the path he was walking. He realized that water was all around him all the time. He only had to be open and receptive to the opportunities of finding water all along.
Opportunities for growth and creation are always around you – you simply need to stay open to them and acknowledge their presence around you at all times.
Your past is not a place to live in. Do your past decisions keep you completely frozen and scared of trying again? Have you ever made a mistake or a blunder so bad you’re just stuck thinking about it? Maybe you can’t get yourself to get rid of the regret of a bad decision from the past.
Guess what, there’s no point crying over spilled milk. You very well know that ruminating over your past mistakes, regrets, bad decisions does nothing constructive to truly making an impact in what matters the most to you. Paradoxically, you hold both the problem and the solution to this. You can either surrender to your past mistakes or you can audit your past and own the responsibility of fixing it. Socrates said, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not fighting the old, but on building the new.”
There’s stress and fear on both sides of a decision. However, if you procrastinate, second-guess, and stay undecided, the stress only builds up for the worse. Worrying is your mind’s favorite pastime. The constant deluge of negative thoughts, uncertainty, ambiguity, insecurity, and volatility can be pretty damaging and even lead to an increased risk of mental health problems. Moreover, if you are constantly preoccupied and living in your head, how will you ever find the time to work on your goals and your dreams?
Preparation and patience always prevail over panic. There’s always less stress the moment you put a decision right behind you even if it does yield suboptimal results. Anthony Trollope, a nineteenth-century writer and novelist observed, “Tiny and daily actions will always beat the labors of a spasmodic Hercules.” Getting unstuck is all about slowing down, connecting to your authentic self, and taking small, tiny action in that direction.
“Tiny and daily actions will always beat the labors of a spasmodic Hercules.” Anthony TrollopeTweet
Coming from a place of Connection over Correction
Football is a team sport, and so is life. You cannot possibly succeed in life at the cost of others. That success, if at all, will only be short-lived. This is what I also noticed during that football drill the other day. Along with the belief in your own abilities, the coach was also driving the other players standing around the square to constantly move in their space in order to help create passing opportunities for their teammate with the ball.
When it comes to life, and specifically when it comes to exercising our social skills, we often find ourselves in a place of correcting someone. We totally disregard the other person’s view of the world when we get into a position of correction and fixing. We think of a win-lose when life really works on win-win. Take a mental tour of your past week. Identify specific moments where you found yourself nagging someone. Or perhaps lecturing or scolding. Maybe even blaming or shaming the other person without validating their feelings. Or offering unsolicited advice to someone.
Correction often comes from a place of carrying this weird sense of ‘know it all’ and ‘have it all’ energy. Even though we are devastated within, we show off as if we have everything figured out and we don’t need help. If you had all of the answers, ask yourself, why isn’t your life going the way you want it to go?
Life works wonders for everyone if we all humble ourselves. You need to stop thinking you have all the answers and seek help whenever and wherever you need it. Be willing to connect, be willing to share, be willing to learn. Our brain is designed to work in good relationships and collaborative environments. If we keep thinking we are above someone, we eventually fail to take the steps towards making real the magnificent creations of our true and untapped potential.
“Options create kar,” is probably one of the best pieces of advice I have heard in a long time, in a place I was least expecting. It shook me out of my complacency I was beginning to comfortably slide into. It served as a powerful reminder to stay ready for opportunities and review all decisions I have been procrastinating on. It also underscores the importance of nurturing genuine connections to maximize your own potential. Instead of trying to hide from your past slip-ups or fighting the uncertainty of today and your future, Options create kar!