Like Battling Tops, Life Isn’t About Avoiding Getting Hit, It’s About Having the Energy to Keep Going

When I was a kid we had a game of battling tops, a game that taught me important lessons in discipline, routine, and living with depression..

Two to four people would spin a top into the arena, and they would move around until they began bumping into one another. Each time they bumped, they would wobble, and eventually the wobbles would overpower the gyroscopic effects and top would fall.

The winner was the top that stayed upright the longest, so to win you had to spin your top the fastest, giving it the most energy to strike the others while staying upright.

I got to thinking about this toy today on my daily walk.

My mental stability is that little top. When spinning nicely it stays upright and balanced. When it slows down, it wobbles more and more, until it falls over.

As in the game, if it gets bumped, it starts to wobble. If it doesn’t have enough energy for stability, it wobbles and falls over.

Lately my efforts have been about that spin. Better sleep and a proper schedule. Daily exercise, writing and videos. Delivering work to my clients. My entire life is purpose designed to get that little top spinning faster.

Yesterday I took a sharp hit, causing a wobble, which in the past might have knocked me over. Today I’m coming back to stability.

It feels like I’ve given the top enough energy that it’s spin naturally overcomes the instability, but like the game, more knocks mean more instability.

My tasks now are simple; avoid more knocks, and put more energy into the top.

Because the knocks are inevitable.

Life isn’t about avoiding the knocks, it’s about what you do when they happen.