Having spent every summer growing up at some baseball or softball field, and somehow not being able to get away from them even when I went off to college, I learned a thing or two from the game. It turns out, the game of baseball isn't too different from the game of life. Yogi Berra once said, "Baseball is 90 percent mental." Sometimes in baseball, a great coach makes all the difference. Similarly, certain people in our lives are there to teach us right from wrong, lead us down the right paths, and inspire us to follow our dreams, even when we don't think they're in reach. I would venture to say that life, too, is 90 percent mental.
1. You've got to wait on your pitch
Sometimes, we step up to the plate expecting to hit one out of the park, but the ball never comes right where we want it to. In life, we make decisions based on what is best for us now and what is best for our future. In a baseball game and in life, we might strike out because the ball never came straight down the pipe for us, but sometimes we strike out because we don't know what's right in front of us until it's already passed.
2. If there are two outs and the ball is close, swing
Contrary to what #1 explains, sometimes in life, we have to be willing to take a leap of faith. There are some things we will never understand in life unless we just try, and if we fail, we fail. You either hit or you miss, no ifs, ands, or buts. Even though it might scare us, if the opportunity arises to take the chance, there's nothing wrong with taking it. Having the courage to take risks is something the most successful people in the world had to master before they got where they are today.
3. Your idea of a strike zone may not be the same as everyone else's
We can plan out our life step by step and know that everything will fall into place, but nine times out of ten, something will go wrong. In baseball, an umpire may call a strike for a pitch that was at the batter's knees but calls the same pitch a ball for the next batter. No, it's not fair, but it's life.
4. Life can take a bad hop when we least expect it
In baseball, infielders may be expecting a smooth ground ball that rolls right into their glove. That's not always the case. A ball can take a bad hop at any moment and any decent baseball player knows to learn how to play the hops, similarly to how any decent human being knows to expect bumps in the road. How we recover from the bumps in the road says a lot about us. We can feel sorry for ourselves if we miss an opportunity, or we can pick ourselves up and keep on playing the game.
5. Celebrate with the ones who helped you get where you are
You know how when a baseball player hits a home run and the whole team runs out of the dugout to give him a big, warm welcome when he crosses home plate? I'm not saying to that extreme (or maybe to that extreme), but we should celebrate our friends', coworkers', family's, and teammate's accomplishments. There is no better feeling than being able to celebrate an accomplishment with the people who made it possible to reach that accomplishment in the first place.
6. Home runs don't always win games
As exciting as a home run is, sometimes it's just not enough. The whole team can rally behind you and you can try to hardest to pull out the win, but it doesn't always work like that. We don't always get our way in life, but it sure is nice when we do. But, when we don't, it never hurts to work that much harder even when the odds are stacked against us.
7. You will never make it to the top if you aren't willing to put in the work
Everybody wants to be the best but not everybody is willing to put in the work it requires. Home run hitters don't become home run hitters overnight. Baseball players notorious for stealing bases don't just take off and hope for the best. And, when catchers make the throw from home plate to second base, they have to trust themselves to get the ball where it needs to go. Some of the best baseball players in history will say the same thing: they worked hard when nobody else wanted to. They were willing to put in the extra hours because they saw their full potential. Nothing is free in this life and if we want something, we have to (and we should) work for it. When we build ourselves up to succeed, we begin to trust ourselves to take chances and our whole team, family, or our friends or coworkers benefit.