Aim for the Goal!

Last weekend, my third-grade son scored a goal in his soccer game. The goal was an accident. He never expected to score. He was a little far away, and there were several players on both teams between him and the goal. While the shot was on goal, the ball lost momentum as it traveled toward the goal, and just managed to trickle past the last defender and the goalie. But a goal is a goal and we were thrilled! It was only the second goal in my son’s young career. Though he’s not afraid to get in the mix, he typically kicks the ball once and stops. I remind him that he needs to keep running after he kicks the ball and stay in the play (a.k.a. perseverance), but it’s going to take practice for this skill to become natural.

Unfortunately, the goal my son scored was offset by the one he missed when he took a turn as goalie. His team lost the game, and I did my best to explain that the loss wasn’t his fault. I told him to shake it off and to count the numerous shots he’d saved. The offense could have scored more and the defense could have stopped the ball before it got to him in goal. It’s the team’s collective effort, I told him, that determines the outcome of the game.

Learning to work together toward a common goal is one of the reasons I signed my kids up for sports. Sports teach children a number of valuable life lessons that will be useful throughout their education, their future employment, and as members of society.  But there’s more to it than that.

On a macro level, these life lessons also apply to our efforts to help save our planet:

  1. We have to work as a team. You may think that small acts like turning off your PC at night, unplugging appliances when not in use, or using a ZERO charger may not make much of a difference.  If everyone decided, “I’m not going to bother,” we wouldn’t get anywhere.  But as more and more people do energy-saving things like these, collectively we can cause a positive impact. By acting in these small ways, consumers and businesses help increase their energy efficiency.
  2. Perseverance. If you turn off the tap water when you brush your teeth a single time, it won’t make an impact, but if you make it a habit, it will. And we need to continually innovate and look for alternative energy sources:  Install solar panels. Use alternative fuel vehicles.
  3. Practice. You may not be in the habit of taking reusable bags to the grocery store [or you may remember to put them in the car, but then forget to carry them into the store…], but it will become second nature after a while.  Now when I leave for the store, I grab by wallet, my keys, my shopping list and my reusable bags!
  4. Count what we save. Look for strategies to “reduce, reuse, recycle,” and to help offset your carbon emissions.  Use refillable containers for coffee and water. Use information communication technology like telepresence and web conferencing and subsequently avoid travel. You’ll increase productivity and avoid carbon emissions.
  5. Aim for the goal. Have something to work toward: Create a personal goal and/or one for your company. If my son hadn’t been aiming for the goal, his shot wouldn’t have trickled in.  As hockey great Wayne Gretzky once said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”

Even if you’re of the mindset that carbon emissions and global warming aren’t viable issues, the over-arching issue remains: our planet doesn’t have unlimited natural resources. Numerous countries have problems supplying their citizens with clean drinking water. Unlike my son’s soccer game, saving our planet is not a game we can afford to lose.

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