Act N°13: Second Fiddle

Sometimes I think that the Acts/Challenges/Call ’em what you will are ones that you can do that day, dust off your hands and say “Done!” But others are ones that call for a particular occasion, where you might hark back to the prompt and think “Now I’ve got the chance to do it!”, or simply thay call for a shift in how you think and act whenever possible.

I think today’s is like that. I can’t quite think how I might specifically fulfil this today, but I will try to keep it in mind for the future.

For some of us, relinquishing control and sacrificing our own agendas or plans is difficult. It means that (a) we don’t get our own way and (b) we have to trust someone else or put them first. But practising playing second fiddle sometimes is important and generous: it shows the other person that you recognise their worth.

GREEN: There are plenty of small ways to put others first. Perhaps hold the door open for more people than necessary. Give up your seat on public transport. Let someone else go ahead of you in the queue. Let someone else choose the TV channel.

AMBER: Don’t haggle – hand over. Consider a situation you’re in at the moment with a friend or family member where you might be at loggerheads over something. It could be anything from choosing a new paint colour for the lounge to disagreeing with your best friend over what to do at the weekend. Normally you’d find a happy medium – a compromise. Today though, let that person’s wishes and opinions trump yours. Let them know that you value their thoughts as much as your own.

RED: Plan a perfect day out for someone. Pick activities that they would love – not the things that you would love to do with them. You might hate hiking, clothes shopping, fishing or the cinema – but if that’s their thing, go for it. Joyfully. Without counting brownie points…

You can read the meditation here

So, today, instead of saying what I’m doing, I’ll share two things that I’ve found on t’internet which add something to the thoughts…

The first is this, from Leonard Bernstein:

And the second is a story shared on FaceBook, about someone who definitely did not put himself first – literally!

On December 2, Basque athlete Iván Fernández Anaya was competing in a cross-country race in Burlada, Navarre. He was running second, some distance behind race leader Abel Mutai – bronze medalist in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the London Olympics. As they entered the finishing straight, he saw the Kenyan runner – the certain winner of the race – mistakenly pull up about 10 meters before the finish, thinking he had already crossed the line.

Fernández Anaya quickly caught up with him, but instead of exploiting Mutai’s mistake to speed past and claim an unlikely victory, he stayed behind and, using gestures, guided the Kenyan to the line and let him cross first.

Ivan Fernandez Anaya, a Basque runner of 24 years who is considered an athlete with a big future (champion of Spain of 5,000 meters in promise category two years ago) said after the test:

But even if they had told me that winning would have earned me a place in the Spanish team for the European championships, I wouldn’t have done it either. I also think that I have earned more of a name having done what I did than if I had won. And that is very important, because today, with the way things are in all circles, in soccer, in society, in politics, where it seems anything goes, a gesture of honesty goes down well.’


I don’t really think I need to add much comment to either.


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