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Question Yourself: What a Common Play in Basketball Teaches Us About Ourselves



what sports can teach us about life
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If you’ve ever played or watched basketball, you know this play. The scramble for the loose ball. A player deflects a pass. Shawn Bradley [that lanky dude from Space Jam] is awkward, as per usual, and drops a pass thrown his way. A player dribbles the ball off of their own foot.

Two players from opposing teams scramble for it. Neither gains control of the ball yet both appear to have hit it. The trajectory of the ball is somehow altered and is sent careening out of bounds.

Neither player claims responsibility and both parties immediately launch into an over-the-top performative and surprisingly unnecessarily animated game of finger-pointing. Both players are suggesting that the other is at fault for the ball being sent out of play, each making the case for their team retaining possession.

Back when I played, there were more than a few times where I knew it was out off of me but I still plead my case. I’d wildly flail my appendages and point in the opposing team’s direction, loudly yelling about how it was off of the other player. However, maybe there’s actually something to this. Maybe we can actually learn about our own perception of the events in our lives because of a loose ball in basketball.

Are these players lying? Are they certain the ball went out off of them but pretending it didn’t to gain a competitive advantage? Or do they actually think it went out off of their opponent? Do two competitors participating in the same play experience it differently?

Much to my delight, researchers at Arizona State University who found themselves with way too much time on their hands somehow managed to get themselves paid to figure that out. Their findings were published in Science Advances.

Don’t Trust Your Perception

Ty Tang, a doctoral candidate in cognitive science, says that, in general, our subjective experience [“he touched it last!”] of an objective event [a loose ball that two players are chasing] is not trustworthy. ‘It’s very possible that people experience two different orders of events, two different experiences of reality, even though they experienced the same event.”

To test this, he ran three different experiments with ASU students. In the first, he had students sit across from one another with a divider between them. The divider had a slot for their hands and when a light flashed, each person tapped the other. They then indicated who they thought tapped first.

Most people perceived their touch as happening first. He then replaced the second human with a mechanically operated switch and got similar results. In the final experiment, they removed the element of touch and replaced it with a clicking sound. People still thought their touch happened before the click.

This bias makes sense in competitive situations. Coming back to the loose ball: it’s advantageous to believe that you touched it before your opponent indicating that they touched it last and your team should have possession. But what about outside of that?

“I have been up against tough competition all my life; I wouldn’t know how to get along without it.” – Walt Disney

What does this mean for us?

I’m still not convinced this wasn’t all just a thinly veiled excuse for a doctoral student to write a paper about basketball – but there’s interesting implications for our own understanding of reality.

Tang suggests this bias might be a result of our proclivity for attempting to predict what’s going to happen in our world and trying to build a mental model of reality before things have actually occurred.

First, we can learn to distrust our own judgments of events that have occurred. This doesn’t mean we should walk around in a constant haze of doubt, second-guessing everything that has happened to us. That wouldn’t get us anywhere, except maybe in an asylum. Instead, what we can do, is use the knowledge that our own perception is limited and biased as a launchpad for examining other ways of being in and seeing the world.

We can also entertain the idea that someone else’s perspective on an event is not only a valid interpretation but is equally as “real,” especially to them, as our own. This leads us to our second important takeaway.

“The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.” – John C. Maxwell

Tang says, “Sometimes people actually do have different experiences of what happened and they’re not lying – they might have actually just experienced it that way. We can be more sensitive to other people’s perspectives. He says that “we really just want people to be more understanding of other people’s perspectives.”

These findings can facilitate a deeper understanding of our world and the perceptions that shape as well as develop a deeper empathy towards one another. Or maybe it was all just a clever ruse for a bored, overworked and underpaid grad student to write about basketball.

Tang ends his discussion with this: “We have identified what may be a principal cause of arguments in ballgames, and it’s about time.” Get it?

How do you handle conflict caused by a differing of opinions or perspectives? Share your tactics below!

Kyle Bowe is a blogger and entrepreneur. He blogs about all things personal development and human potential. The central question he tries to answer through his work is “What does it mean to live on purpose?” He is the host of the Aligned Influence podcast where he discusses entrepreneurship and personal transformation with entrepreneurs, dreamers and doers. You can find him online at his website or sign up for his newsletter here.

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The Imbalanced Problem with Work/Life Balance

Balancing is for your checkbook, gymnastics, and nutrition; not for your people’s work/life ratio.



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Balance…it requires an equal distribution of value between two or more subjects to maintain steady composure and equitable proportionality. (more…)

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How to Find the Courage to Start New

Change is scary, but it’s a normal part of life.



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It’s 2023, a new year, new you, right? But how do we start over? How do we make the changes in our lives that we crave so much to see?  (more…)

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Failing is More Important Than Succeeding

Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures.



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People often consider failure a stigma.  Society often doesn’t respect the people who failed and avoids and criticizes their actions. Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures. Not to have endeavored is worse than failing in life as at some stage of your life you regret not having tried in your life.  (more…)

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5 Indicators of Unresolved Attachment Trauma



Emotional Attachment Trauma

Trauma caused during specific stages of a child’s development, known as attachment trauma, can have lasting effects on a person’s sense of safety, security, predictability, and trust. This type of trauma is often the result of abuse, neglect, or inconsistent care from a primary caregiver.

Individuals who have not fully processed attachment trauma may display similar patterns of behavior and physical or psychological symptoms that negatively impact their adult lives, including the choices they make in relationships and business.

Unfortunately, many people may not even be aware that they are struggling with trauma. Research estimates that 6% of the population will experience PTSD in their lifetime, with a majority of males and females having experienced significant trauma.

Unresolved attachment trauma can significantly impair the overall quality of a person’s life, including their ability to form healthy relationships and make positive choices for themselves. One well-known effect of unhealed attachment trauma is the compulsion to repeat past wounds by unconsciously selecting romantic partners who trigger their developmental trauma.

However, there are other less recognized but equally detrimental signs of unprocessed developmental trauma.


Five possible indications of unresolved attachment trauma are:


1.  Unconscious Sabotage

Self-sabotage is a common pattern among individuals with unprocessed attachment trauma. This cycle often begins with hurting others, which is then followed by hurting oneself. It is also common for those with attachment trauma to have heightened emotional sensitivity, which can trigger this cycle.

This pattern can manifest in lashing out, shutting down, or impulsive behavior that leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing.

Many people with attachment trauma are not aware of their wounds and operate on survival mode, unconsciously testing or challenging the emotional investment of those around them, and pushing them away out of self-preservation and fear of abandonment.

This can lead to a pattern of making poor choices for themselves based on impulsivity.


2. Persistent Pain

Chronic pain is a common symptom that can stem from early trauma. Studies have shown a connection between physical conditions such as fibromyalgia, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, muscle aches, back pain, chest pain, and chronic fatigue with the aftermath of chronic developmental trauma, particularly physical abuse.
Research has found that individuals with insecure attachment styles, such as anxious, avoidant, or disorganized, have a higher incidence of somatic symptoms and a history of physical and emotional abuse in childhood compared to those with a secure attachment style.

3. Behaviors That Block Out Trauma

Trauma blocking practises are used to avoid the pain and memories connected with traumatic events.
Emotional numbing, avoidance, and escape via briefly pleasurable activities that distract from terrible memories or suffering are common examples. Unfortunately, this escape habit stops people from successfully processing and recovering from their trauma.
Furthermore, when the pain resurfaces, more and more diversions are necessary to continue ignoring it. This can be seen in compulsive behaviours such as drug or alcohol addiction, emotional eating, numbing oneself through relationships, workaholism, excessive or dangerous exercise routines, compulsive internet or technology use, or any other compulsive behaviour used to distract yoursef from intrusive thoughts and emotions.
These actions have the potential to prolong a cycle of avoidance and repression, preventing persons from healing and progressing.

4. A strong need for control

It’s understandable that some people may struggle with control issues in their adult lives, especially if they felt helpless or vulnerable during their childhood.
This can happen if someone had an overbearing caregiver who didn’t let them make their own choices, expected too much from them, or didn’t take care of them properly. As adults, they might try to control everything in their life to feel more in control and less anxious or scared. This might be because they didn’t feel like they had control over their life when they were a child.
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experiences are different and it’s okay to seek help if you’re struggling with control issues.

5. Psychological Symptoms That Are Not Explained

Individuals with a history of developmental trauma may experience a range of psychological symptoms, including obsessive-compulsive behavior, intense mood swings, irritability, anger, depression, emotional numbing, or severe anxiety.
These symptoms can vary in intensity and may occur intermittently throughout the day. People with this type of trauma may attempt to “distract” themselves from these symptoms by denying or rationalizing them, or may resort to substance abuse or behavioral addictions as coping mechanisms. This can be a maladaptive way of trying to numb their symptoms.

What to do next if you’re suffering from emotional attachment trauma?

Everyone’s experience of healing from trauma is unique. It’s important to be aware of whether you have experienced childhood developmental trauma and how it may be affecting your relationships as an adult. Sometimes, the effects of trauma can be overwhelming and we may try to push them away or avoid them.
If you notice that you’re engaging in these behaviors, it’s important to seek help from a trauma therapist who can support you on your healing journey. Remember, you’re not alone and it’s never too late to start healing.

There are several ways that people can work to overcome emotional attachment trauma:

  1. Therapy: One of the most effective ways to overcome emotional attachment trauma is through therapy. A therapist can help you process your experiences, understand the impact of your trauma on your life, and develop coping strategies to manage symptoms.
  2. Support groups: Joining a support group of people who have had similar experiences can be a great way to find validation, empathy, and a sense of community.
  3. Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness practices such as meditation, pilates, prayer time with God or journaling can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, and develop a sense of spiritual connection and self-regulation.
  4. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT): This is a type of therapy that is specifically designed to help individuals process and recover from traumatic events.
  5. Building a safety net: Building a support system of people you trust, who are there for you when you need them, can help you feel more secure and safe in your life.

It’s important to remember that healing from emotional attachment trauma is a process and it may take time. It’s also important to find a therapist who is experienced in treating trauma, who you feel comfortable talking with, and who can help you develop a personalized treatment plan.

If you desire to work with me on healing your wounds and unlocking the aspects of you that were never realized so you can achieve more success in your life then head over to and join my weekly LIVE online mentorship calls.
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