I watched the NBA Finals on Sunday night like a lot of people. As a Portland Trail Blazers fan, watching the Lakers win was like watching Lex Luthor (Kobe Bryant) take down Superman (Dwight Howard): the villain won. As I watched as the Lakers celebrated and the Magic sat there with glazed over eyes, I was looking for a lesson I could share with you about HR or about organizations or about your career. Maybe I could talk about the fall and rise of Kobe. Or how Dwight catapulted himself into the national spotlight. They were stretches but not any worse than what I have done in the past. Then I decided:
Not everything in life is a lesson.
I think bloggers are particularly guilty of this but it is a very human trait. We seek explanations for everything that happens in life to us. We try to extract more meaning from every little thing. We laugh in the face of microscopic evaluations. “Please! Give me more detail!”
Can I tell you what happened in the NBA Finals this year?
The best team won. The other team was great too but it wasn’t enough. There’s no secret lesson to tell you about. No insight beyond the minutia. The most talented, skilled and experienced team won the series. It happens in life all of the time:
- You don’t get the job because the other person had more experience.
- A candidate rejects your job offer because his wife was given a big counter-offer to stay.
- You got the sale because they talked to you first and just wanted it done.
- You get a great deal because the other person just got a call to clear everythng out.
- You stumbled upon a great candidate through a chance encounter.
- You pick the slowest line at the grocery store.
We have become so programmed to look beyond routine happenings and try to replicate the good and eliminate the bad. When we can’t replicate results or eliminate negatives, we figure we just interpretted it all wrong.
Sometimes there is nothing to interpret. As my good friend Rasheed Wallace used to say, when “both teams played hard” and you still lose, there’s nothing to take from that.
Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and sometimes there is nothing to learn from either one.