In his book, “The Hinge: the importance of mental toughness,” Rob Bell shares stories of how that hinge moment has been critical in determining successful outcomes in sports and life.
When one door closes, another opens, is a cliché that has meaning because of The Hinge. Certain moments, events, or persons can act as “hinges” in our lives, opening us to experiences we might have missed, connecting who we are with who we become. That is The Hinge. It makes all of the difference. Will you be ready? (Bell, The Hinge)
John Wooden, arguably the best hoops coach ever, ended up at UCLA because of a hinge moment. According to Bell, the University of Minnesota was supposed to call him by 5pm with a possible job offer, but because of bad winter weather, the phone lines were down. UCLA called at 6pm and because he hadn’t heard from Minnesota, the place he really wanted to go, he accepted their offer. When Minnesota finally called with an offer, he declined because he had already committed to UCLA. (Bell, The Hinge)
The Hinge moment is all about overcoming the odds and it’s normally those who display mental toughness that are able to do so. Perhaps a recent example is Georgia State University’s win last week over Baylor in the NCAA March Madness tournament. I didn’t see the game unfortunately, but from all reports I’ve seen and heard, Baylor should have won that game. They were leading by 12 points late in the game. GSU won with a last second 3-pointer. But, even before that game winning shot, I’m sure there must have been a moment when GSU believed they could pull it out which may coincide with that moment Baylor no longer believed in certain victory and knew they were in trouble.
This also happens in our personal and work lives. Maybe there was a job opportunity that you thought would never come. But, by some strange twist of fate, an opportunity presented itself. Maybe not in the package or fashion you wanted the opportunity, but you took it anyway which reflecting back on it was your hinge moment. Or, perhaps there was a teacher who said the right words to you in a critical moment that encouraged you to pursue higher education. Or, better yet, you took a chance on someone and found your soul mate. You may describe this moment as being at the “crossroad.” Nonetheless, staying mentally tough can determine if you advance in NCAA tournament of life, or stay stuck, surrendering in the first round.
What are some of your hinge moments?