Letters to Tom — Going Through the Motions

Dear Tom:

I read last night about a man who was described as “getting through his life.” The phrase kept me up thinking into the late-night hours about the sadness of this description. Yet, I bet we both know people like the man described? A man who is just going through the motions, flying on automatic pilot.

In my football days the coaches would occasionally accuse us during a lackluster practice of “going through the motions.” One could tell that although we performed all the drills, ran through all the plays, and did all that was on the day’s schedule, there was something missing. There was something wrong, but you couldn’t put a finger on it. The coaches might try to wake us up by adding a new drill, ordering us to run up the stadium steps, or at a minimum, stepping up the intensity and volume of their commands. The coaches knew there was a danger that if practice lacked focus and intensity, the results on Saturday night could be disastrous.

In our lives, now that we have left the college playing fields, we seldom have a coach to shout us out of life’s doldrums. So easily, we can be like the man with a bad head cold, who has lost his sense of smell and taste. He knows something is wrong, but not wrong enough to do anything about it. Even if we think we are disciplined in our habits, we occasionally find our life just running its course. It is then we need to “shake things up a bit.” The shaking is needed not because we are necessarily headed in the wrong direction, we are just on auto-pilot. We are not paying attention to life, we are missing the experience, the beauty, and wonderment that is present every day.

I think we all need to be our own drill sergeant type coach on occasion, reminding ourselves to quit going through the motions. We should try to introduce a little intensity, a little diversity, a little change in our daily routine. We may be astonished at the results on “Saturday Night.”

Your Friend, Webb

About the author

Webb Hubbell, former Associate Attorney General of The United States, is an author and speaker. His novels, When Men Betray, Ginger Snaps, A Game of Inches, The Eighteenth Green, and The East End are published by Beaufort Books and are available online or at your local bookstore. When Men Betray won one of the IndieFab awards for best novel in 2014. Ginger Snaps and The Eighteenth Green won the IPPY Awards Gold Medal for best suspense/thriller.

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