Today is February 25 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “are you going to leave, change, or accept your situation?” Each day provides you with an opportunity to decide if you are going to leave, change, or accept your current life situation. Leaving is often difficult and might involve risk you are unable to take at that time. Changing your life situation seldom happens overnight so a bit of patience is required. Acceptance of your situation only means you are aware of things and accept them for today. In a month, a week, or even a day, you may wake up and desire to leave or change your situation. Such a decision is hard work and requires a great deal of reflection. Leaving, changing, or accepting your situation alters the course of your life. The decision to choose one over the other two should never come lightly. Do yourself a service, however, and remember that you can, at any time, choose one over the other two as you are not a tree and can leave or change when you feel it is necessary to do so. For those who navigate the chaos and practice the art of living well, they understand the fluidity of life and the potentialities before them. Changing the situation is common among those who navigate the chaos like Bill Nunn.
Nunn, sports editor at The Pittsburgh Courier, an African American newspaper that covered sports at black colleges decided to do something. Beginning in 1950, the paper named a black college all-American football team. By the late 1960s, Nunn was frustrated that National Football League teams had not drafted more of the players his paper honored. When he shared his feelings with Dan Rooney, the son of the Steelers’ owner, Art Rooney, he did not get an argument — the Steelers hired him.
Nunn began working for the team part time in 1967 and became full time in 1969, the year Chuck Noll became the coach. Over the next decade, Nunn helped steer the team toward many players who went on to star for the Steelers teams that won four Super Bowls from 1975 to 1980. Among them were John Stallworth (Alabama A&M), L. C. Greenwood (Arkansas-Pine Bluff), Mel Blount (Southern), Dwight White (East Texas State), Donnie Shell (South Carolina State) and Ernie Holmes (Texas Southern). Mel Blount said “When you look at the Steelers of the 1970s, none of that would have happened without Bill Nunn.”
In a December 2016, 60 Minutes interview, Denzel Washington was asked “what would you say to the people who are looking at the (lack of African-American winners at the Oscars) process and saying it’s unfair.” Washington responded “Yeah, and so what? You gonna give up? If you’re lookin’ for an excuse, you’ll find one…You can find it wherever you like. Can’t live like that. Just do the best you can do.” Bill Nunn did not use an excuse and instead, found a way to change the way the NFL recruited African American players.
In his best-selling book The Power of Now, Eckert Tolle made the following observation about leaving, changing, or accepting one’s life situation when he wrote: “See if you can catch yourself complaining, in either speech or thought, about a situation you find yourself in, what other people do or say, your surroundings, your life situation, even the weather. To complain is always nonacceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So, change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or if possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness.”
Some questions that come to mind reading Tolle’s comment are:
· How often in a day do you catch yourself complaining aloud?
· How often in a day do you catch yourself complaining in thought?
· How often do you find yourself in a state of non-acceptance?
· What have you done lately to change or leave your state of non-acceptance?
· Do you maintain the self-awareness required to understand if you carry, in Tolle’s words, ‘an unconscious negative charge?’
· How often do you make yourself the victim?
· Have you forgotten your ability to leave or change a situation?
· Are you making excuses as to why you are unable to leave or change a situation?
· Do you just complain and never make any effort to leave or change your life situation? In other words, just how mad are you?