The Microwave

Whats going on everybody!? And welcome back to another installment of the best blog on the block, Carters Call! How have you all been? I hope that the last week was full of productivity and positivity. I also hope that your weekends were full memorable moments. It was a very eventful few weeks in the world of sports; NFL training camps are heating up around the league, El Classico took over the city of Miami and here in D.C the Citi Open Tennis Tournament created huge buzz. Whats been your favorite event of the last few weeks. Comment below and share your call!

I owe a special shoutout to my inner circle for providing the inspiration for this weeks topic. This week we will discuss the growing prevalence of the "Microwave" mentality. The "Microwave" mentality is the the school of thought that adheres to instant gratification (AKA the quick fix, the overnight success, the easy way out). Its perceived by many that this mentality is displayed by a majority of millennial's. In sports, the "Microwave" mentality is prevalent amongst young generations of athletes as well. Young athletes want to achieve the stature of those they see on TV or the notoriety of those they stream on YouTube. While young professionals aim for the influence of high level decision makers and department leads. However they fail to understand that what we see on TV is a finished, polished product and the clips they stream online are snippets and compilations. They fail to realize that it takes years of working behind the scenes to earn a position of influence. 

I was first introduced to the "Microwave" concept about 10 years ago, when I had my first experience 'Coming off the Bench' on my AAU Basketball team (be sure to check out my Coming off The Bench Call from July). Initially, I was disappointed and decided to talk to my father about my frustration. As usual, he had words of encouragement and an infamous anecdote from his past experiences. However, this time he not only encouraged me to make the best of the situation he also encouraged me to be like Vinnie Johnson, be the "Microwave" when I get in the game. Like many of you, at the time, I had no idea who Vinnie "The Microwave" Johnson was. I quickly learned that Vinnie Johnson was a former NBA player from the 1980's who became known for his uncanny ability to score in bunches with the infamous 'Bad Boy's' Detroit Pistons teams. In his reserve role, Vinnie could get on a hot shooting streak in a matter of seconds, especially when the Pistons needed an offensive spark, hence the nickname "The Microwave". Vinnie was an important piece to the Pistons puzzle, but his role was limited. He was perceived as inconsistent due to his "Microwave" reputation. Few believed he could sustain high levels of play for an extended period of time. Being "The Microwave" was only serviceable in the short term. Vinnie Johnson was never to be confused with teammate and Basketball HOF member Isiah Thomas. 

Initially, I attributed the prevalence of this mentality amongst younger generations to the information age, which has provided unlimited access to information, content, etc. However in conversations with my inner circle, I realized that its much deeper than our access to information and content, its also the effects the evolution of technology has had on our lives. We have the answers to every question at the tip of our fingers, we have access to the medical care without leaving our home, we can prepare of food in 1/5 of the time and we are able to travel great distances in minutes. Because of this, younger generations are conditioned to expect things to move quickly, and at their convenience. Unfortunately, in our passionate pursuit, there are rarely overnight successes or quick fixes to our problems. The question that must be answered is; how do you avoid the "Microwave" mentality especially when you are eager to make progress? 

To avoid the "Microwave" mentality you must be patient and trusting, much easier said than done. Right? Believe me, I know all too well. As I enter my second year of Graduate school the pressure to earn a well paying job in my intended career field is enormous. Similar to the pressure I felt as a first year captain and returning starter on Seton Hill's football team. Expectations to achieve are/were high internally (for myself) and externally (from friends, family and teammates). Do you have high expectations for yourself in life? Have high expectations been placed on you by members of your inner circle? Its easiest to succumb to the "Microwave" mentality in the most pressurized situations. Trust in your self and your work ethic are essential to developing patience.

Circumstance also projects the "Microwave" mentality on many of us. In my current role at The Sports & Entertainment Group, I am fortunate enough to intern for a company in my intended career field. This allows access and visibility to the exact position I aspire to reach. However, because I am only an intern, my access to pertinent information is limited. At times, limited access is even more frustrating than not having access at all. On numerous occasions throughout my experience, I have allowed the "Microwave" mentality to infiltrate my mind and deter my pursuit. My impatience caused me to take short cuts on assignments and make uncharacteristic mistakes rather than taking my time and being thorough. The short term acknowledgment would never amount to a long term employment opportunity that would take time to earn. If I wanted to make a lasting impression I would do so over time, not in a single week or even a month. What are your long term goals? Will you practice enough persistence and patience to achieve them or will you be distracted by urges an impulses?

Not everything you want in life or feel like you deserve will come to you immediately. More often than not, you will have to wait a lot longer than you anticipated for the things that matter most. Just because you worked hard for a week, a month maybe even a year does not guarantee you a pay raise. Just because you score points, goals or touchdowns in bunches from time to time, doesn't make you a well rounded player. Short term achievements, do not guarantee long term successes but consistency does. Some food doesn't taste as good when you put it in the microwave, sometimes your better off cooking it in the oven for the best tasting dish.

Your pursuit is fueled by your habits and driven by your mentality. . .Which direction are you driving in?

Until next week. 

- Christian A. Carter