Friday, June 26, 2009

If You Want To Play Baseball...

Recently I heard someone use the expression "If you want to play baseball then organize a game." It's one of those pithy expressions that rolls off the tongue but contains a nice seed truth. Examples are legion but off the top of my head these come to mind:

"If you want to make an omelet you're going to have to break a few eggs."

"Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive."

"The butler who folds his hands spills no tea."

This last, which I frequently quote, actually makes a nice bookend for the first. Both are directed to the idea of action, of initiative. U.S. Grant is listed amongst my heroes because he was such a man. He did not wait for marching orders from his generals in order to figure out what to do. He made observations, understood the larger objectives and relentless pursued courses of action which he believed would lead to the fulfillment of these aims.

Returning to baseball, if you want to play then organize a game. When we were kids we played every day. Whether whiffle ball in Dennis Kappos' back yard or sandlot up behind Stafford school, we were ever at the ready. But we didn't just sit around on our hands and wait for it to happen. We made it happen. We'd ride our bikes down to Rubertinos to get Louie and Joey. We'd run across the street to get Johnny and Gary Vosco, whom we unkindly taunted with the phrase, "Vosco de Gama where's your mama?"

Once your had a core group, gathering other players developed its own momentum. We had had a vision (there's going to be a game) and we took initiative to make it happen. Others who came along also recognized it was going to happen and they participated.

Job hunting or building a new business can follow the same path. You can't be passive. It requires a commitment to do whatever it takes to make it happen. And that's the test. How badly do you want it? If you go for it only half-heartedly, you'll probably give up after hitting the first or second wall. But if you're seriously committed, despite the obstacles, the process of relentless pursuit will teach you much.

And maybe, ultimately, you won't end up in the port you we're first heading toward, you will have learned some valuable lessons about seamanship, qualities of leadership, and how to take control of your life. Or as they say, it's easier to steer a boat when it's moving.

Don't wait for your dreams to come true. It's up to you to make them happen.
In the meantime, seize the day!

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