I remember vividly the evening my dad introduced me to this notion: A Spirit of Attack.
It was after a basketball game, when the wounds were still fresh from a loss. I hadn’t played well and my dad could see the disappointment on my face. He explained something to me that day, something that was directed towards basketball but has served me well in all areas of my life.
“Mads,” he said, “you were on your heels the whole game.”
Imagine a defender on the basketball court. The person with the ball is running full speed ahead, right at them. They begin to panic. Their weight shifts from ‘up on their toes’ to ‘back on their heals.’ The moment this shift happens is the moment they give up control. They’re now at the mercy of the other player, and they’re now two steps behind.
On the flip side, a defender with a spirit of attack is actually on the offensive. They’re on their toes putting pressure on the ball, directing the steps of their opponent. It’s anyone’s ball game. Those who possess a spirit of attack are willing to work hard, set aside their fear, and charge on.
The thing I’ve learned about a spirit of attack is that it doesn’t always come naturally. Some people tend to be more fearful and therefore, on their heels. Other people are naturally excited about challenges and ready to tackle anything. Either way, a spirit of attack can be acquired. It’s simply a shift in one’s attitude.
For those who lean toward fear, this is the single greatest shift you can make. It sets you free from the bondage of fear and gives you a coping mechanism when difficult situations arise. It’s a decision to be brave.
Basketball terrified me. I was afraid of embarrassing myself, failing, losing, letting my team down, you name it. After my dad taught me this lesson things began to shift. Right before practice or a game I would decide. I would decide to attack it head on, to rise up to the challenge, and to walk through my fear. And yes, all of the above still happened. But I wasn’t debilitated by it.
Whenever you begin to feel the swell of fear and you find yourself back on your toes, bracing yourself for the hit, call to mind a spirit of attack. What is it your hiding from? Look it in the eyes. Attack it.