Finger pointers vs Thumb pointers

    It is very hard for people to sit back and say that they performed poorly or didn’t give their best effort on a project or work assignment.  People tend to look for an excuse or outside factor that contributed to the negative outcome.  These people are often called finger pointers because they are constantly searching for some way to place the blame somewhere else.  You see it all the time in athletics when kids are talking to their parents after games and they are saying that “the coach doesn’t like me” or “my teammates and I don’t get along” always blaming someone else for the lack of playing time or lack of good performance.  As an athlete being able to self evaluate how you’re playing and what you can do to improve on your daily performance is one of the most important characteristics.  I have had teammates that are both very good at self evaluation and very poor at it and it goes across the board that the people who are able to tell you when they played poorly and can take accountability for their actions were fair more successful than those who were constantly finding an outside factor to blame.  At Michigan State it is a part of buying into the system, you are exposed to a number of different players who have come before you and learned how to evaluate their own play and if you don’t buy into what everyone is doing you will be left by the waste side.

     When I was coming to the end of my senior year of high school I didn’t have one scholarship offer to a single University at any level.  I thought I had a pretty good high school career and I would sometimes blame my teammates for playing a role in not receiving any offers.  I thought that I didn’t get the ball enough and other stupid ideas that really had no part in my collegiate recruitment.  So I entered college as a finger pointer, it took a practice early in my career to change my mind set and take my down the road of self evaluation.  It was an early season practice and we were running the classic 3 on 2 fast break drill.  (For those of you that don’t know what I am talking about I have included a video to demonstrate this drill because I don’t feel like explaining it right now :-)).  So I had the ball and I was coming down on the break with Charlie Bell who was a great scorer, I went to throw him a pass and I threw a below average pass and I turned the ball over.  Now up until that point I thought I was a good passer and I this one turnover wasn’t that bad, Coach Izzo had a different opinion.  He proceeded to stop practice and inform me that I was the worst passer in the entire world and I was told to go in the tunnel and practice throwing passes with a manager.  Now that was my first experience with self evaluation as I was standing off to the side of the court practicing chest passes I was able to replay the pass in my mind and analyze what I did wrong and how I could improve.  Also, from that point forward Coach Izzo called me the worst passer he has ever send since that day and he continues to tell me that when I see him know.

     It doesn’t matter if you are working in an office or as a professional athlete; being able to self evaluate your role and how you have performed it is very valuable.  People want to work with a person who can shoulder the blame for a mistake and take the necessary steps to make adjustments and grow in their position.  I was once told that when you point one finger and place the blame elsewhere for your mistakes that you have four fingers pointing right back at you.  So take a step back every once in a while and look at the job you are doing, ask yourself if you are doing this the best of your abilities or can you improve it.  The next time you go to blame one of your teammates for something make sure you did everything you could to help the project in a positive fashion.

     Lastly, I want to congratulate the 2010 Big Ten Champion Mtchigan State basketball team.  I love the site of a banner being raised to the ceiling of the Breslin Center and want to wish them good luck in the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments.  It’s March Madness time and this is where the legend of Tom Izzo and the Spartans was made.

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