Can Troubles Just Be "Gray Skies Passing Over?"

Raise Your Inner Game Sports Academy
Can Troubles Just Be "Gray Skies Passing Over?"

One thing for sure, hard times are a part of life—of EVERY life.

But it’s also true that hard times pass, no matter how unlikely it may seem at the time.

And the best way to help them pass is to have the right perspective as they’re happening.

That’s what this post is about. How to approach hard times in a way that helps put them behind us as quickly as possible.

It’s a helpful self-mastery skill for coaches and players alike.



  • A hypocritical moment of weakness on my part. :-)
  • How perspective affects performance
  • A simple reframing technique you can use right away
  • Listen/read to get the full message

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[ transcript ]

Duke Ellington said, “Gray skies are just clouds passing over.” In other words, if things are dark right now, it’s not forever. It’s just a passing phase. The sunshine will return.

I’m David Levin, author of Raise Your Inner Game, founder of Raise Your Inner Game Sports Academy.

And I know. I’m always complaining about people sharing motivational quotes and calling it mental game training. :-) But sometimes you just need a reminder like that. You know? And a simple way to shift your perspective.

In any life, in or out of sports, hard times are going to come. Right? They just are. That’s the nature of life. Hard times come.

But it’s also the nature of life that hard times pass. They do, even when we think it’s impossible. The sunshine returns.

And the better we can remember that, the quicker it returns. Because a big part of what makes dark times dark, and actually the biggest part, is our own thoughts and feelings about what’s happening.

If I think, OMG, this is a disaster. This is … I’m ruined. That’s a dark experience. But if instead I think, okay, this is bad but it will pass, that’s a completely different and better experience.

And most important, when we’re stuck in the first reaction, we also feel powerless and hopeless, which keeps us from doing anything to make things better.

But when we’re taking the longer view and seeing it as just a rough period, we’re much more likely to think Okay, what can I do about this? and to come up with ways to move things forward.

I’m reminded of the great quote from Winston Churchill — If you’re going through Hell, keep going. Makes me laugh every time. But again, there’s that perspective. This is happening, yes, it’s bad, yes, but there’s end to it. Keep going. The sunshine will return.

I have a theory that relates to this, which is that our feeling about how our life is going in general is really about what the last two weeks have been like.

If I’ve been sick for two weeks, I can’t remember not being sick. It’s been forever!

If I’ve been feeling overwhelmed or stressed out for two weeks, I think, My whole life is completely out of control. This can not go on like this.

And of course, right then in that moment, it’s true. Things are crazy.

But it might not be true enough in the big picture that everything needs to change. It might just be a passing phase. Maybe you’re short of sleep and not noticing the effects of that. Maybe it’s just a busy stretch that will settle on its own.

So, the next time you find yourself under some dark skies or thinking that your life is totally out of control, step back, take a longer view, and see if that helps.

Ask yourself if it really is something structural or if it’s just been a rough couple of weeks. And then see if there isn’t something you can do to get that sunshine back.

And if you have an athlete who’s struggling, do the same with them. Ask them what’s going on? Is there something big we need to look at? Is it just a rough couple of weeks? And remind them that gray skies pass. They’ve probably had rough patches themselves that they’ve come through. You’ve probably seen things with other athletes you could tell them about.

Just find some way to help them take that longer view, because a little perspective can really help us feel more positive and empowered and help us get things back on track more quickly. 

So that’s what I wanted to talk about today. “Gray skies are just clouds passing over.” A little motivational perspective shift to brighten up your day. I hope that was helpful.

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