Swing at the Strikes

Baseball is 90% physical, the other half is mental”

~ Yogi Berra

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My father once told me that life was like a roller coaster ride, full of ups and downs. You slowly ascend on the ride, and it seemingly takes forever to reach the pinnacle. Finally you get there, but before you can even really take the time to enjoy the view from the top, your stomach drops out and you are plunged back down to the bottom. It’s funny how quickly the ride goes on the way down, as compared to the length of time it took you to reach the top. After a few twists and turns, the ride starts its slow upward motion again, only to drop you once more, and the cycle repeats itself over and over again.

The roller coaster theory is a good one, as life is certainly full of ups and downs, and occasionally a few loop-de-loops, but to me, there is a problem with this way of thinking. On a roller coaster, you have absolutely no control over where you are going. You just hang on tight and go wherever the ride takes you. In order to be successful in life, YOU need to choose what you want your final destination to be, and chart your own course to get there. If you allow others to make choices for you, you will never know where you are going.

I have found that life is much more like the sport of baseball, with a new game every day.  Although it is a sport played by a team, each player has a specific purpose, and is responsible for his own success. Rookies learn from the veterans, and coaches are there to help you make the right decision, but in the end, it is all up to you.

As in life, in baseball, you can be looking for a fastball, and be thrown a curve. You can strike out in one inning, and come back and hit a grand slam the next. You’re never too old to learn a new play, and you can be down by 10 runs with only one out left, and still win the game. There are no time limits, no one blowing a whistle at you telling you your bid is up.

Although many people think that Yogi Berra’s “Yogisms” don’t make much sense, I live by a lot of them. His simplicity got lost in translation many times, but his words have always made sense to me, and my favorite Yogi quote is “Swing at the strikes.”

While I had originally started this blog with the intention of writing a new piece at least once a week, I was thrown a hanging slider, a perfect pitch to hit, and I HAD to swing! It meant having to pretty much halt every other thing going on in my life for months, but it was a Grand Slam for me. My business has grown leaps and bounds because of it. I show up every morning, ready to play two, and it has worked. My business has already reached the same amount of sales for all of last year, and it isn’t even my busy season yet.

I work far too hard at what I do though, which leaves me very little time to have any kind of balance in my life. So, I am currently working on a new game plan to change things up a bit, so I can free up some more time for other pursuits, but  will still show up every morning yelling, “Put me in coach! I’m ready to play today!”

Just as baseball is a timeless game of tradition, the basic steps of how to achieve success in life stay the same, year after year. With only minor alterations to the rules, the game of baseball has virtually remained unchanged for over 150 years. The equipment has improved, the ball parks have become fancier, and the uniforms are more comfortable, but the basics of the game are still the same. A homerun is still a homerun. A ball is still a ball. A strike is still a strike, and if you want to be successful, you need to swing at them.