Move The Ball Down The Field — A Systemic Awareness

In a recent interview that I watched, U.S. President Barack Obama was asked what qualities he felt were needed for someone holding his office, President of the United States. It was another approach to thinking about the candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

One of the qualities he spoke was “committing to move the ball down the field.” “Not every play is a touchdown.” If I let myself stay with what is often overused sports metaphor, Obama was naming the fact that it takes more than one star player to accomplish big dreams. Even though many professional leagues market their individual stars, the reality is that it takes an intricate layer of cooperation among a team for any stars to arise.

Not every play is a touchdown. Not every at-bat is a home run. Not every golf shot is a hole in one (OK, not every golf shot is even a great shot).

Barack Obama was, I believe, debunking some of the myth that you can accomplish anything you promise as an individual, as admirable, and as western, as it is to try. The system is more complicated and complex than that. Duh! It is particularly relevant in this campaign season (though it is starting to feel like there isn’t ever a non-campaign season, right), when candidates are trying win votes with over-simplified yet grand promises and command and control seductions

I think the only promise that I can hear, and maybe want to hear now, is that we will do our best to debunk the delusional myths and overpraising in the name of winning favor. Just moving the ball is enough. And much more honest. And that is enough, to start.

 

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