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Almost any basketball fan understands the importance of making free throws.  This, of course, should be the easiest shot in basketball.  The player is 15 feet from the basket and there is no one guarding him, and he’s practiced shooting from this same spot for years.  However, how many times do we see great players consistently miss these “easy” opportunities. And have you noticed how crucial these shots are to winning the game, especially if it’s close at the end?  So, what’s the point?

The point is that you need to make your “ free throws” in life as well.  “Free throws” in life are those opportunities that seem to be easy, no-brainers, or foundational to our everyday life.  For example, they may be activities like being on time to work, telling the truth, following through on promises, taking time to play with our children, or demonstrating love to our spouses.  They may seem easy, but they are never as easy as they look.  They take practice and discipline, and they are foundational to what we may think are the bigger, more important things that we do in life. And when the pressure is on, like a basketball free throw, they are likely to become much more difficult.

To live a life that has meaning and happiness requires that we pay attention to the little things, the foundational things.  I know that most of us think that if we only do the things that will make us more money and that will lead to success in our jobs and careers, we will be happier.  There may be some happiness to be found in these things, but we all know or have heard of people that have done all these things and remain unfulfilled.  What we do know is that when we build a life that is built on the simple things such as love, hope and integrity, we tend be happier regardless of the circumstances in life.  These are the “free throws” that we need to practice and that we’ve gotta make.

Rick Bowman

Rick Bowman

Rick holds a M.A. in Clinical Psychology and has held leadership positions in the U.S. military, business, mental health and education. His consultation has included mental health and human service agencies, non-profits, and companies such as the National Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Alyeska Pipeline Corporation, as well as speaking/consultation internationally in Russia, Cuba, and Jamaica. Rick has been employed as a Clinical Psychologist, Community College Professor, Assistant Principal, Alternative School Director, Student Services Director, and non-profit Assistant Executive Director.
Rick Bowman

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