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What Does the Game Got to Do With Goals?



What's the game of baseball got to do with goals? Does baseball have an inherent value beyond just entertainment and athletic competition? Aren't there more important topics and interests to focus on besides a silly game in which a bunch of guys hit a ball with a wooden stick?!


Baseball is our national pastime, a game that is simple but complex in nature at the same time. It's played by kids, teenagers, young adults, and people of all ages in all walks of life from tee ball to senior softball leagues.


This game has been in existence for nearly two centuries dating back to the time before the the Civil War in America. From the crack of the bat to the roar of the crowd, baseball has captivated millions of people worldwide for generations.


Many would agree that baseball is more than just a "silly" game. It's a way to relieve our childhood memories. To reconnect to a time of innocence and joy. A metaphor and lens in which we can view our journey through life.


Baseball indeed is a game that teaches us many valuable life lessons such as teamwork, perseverance, discipline, and humility. These life lessons can directly be applied to the goal achievement process. Here's a brief look at nine key principles the game of baseball correlates to the pursuit of goals:


1) It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint


Baseball seasons are a daily grind. In Major League Baseball teams play 162 regular season games a season. Most weeks the schedule is 6 games a week with just 1 off day. For the span of 7-8 months a MLB player must be committed to this marathon of daily preparation, followed by the games played out on the field.


With the pursuit of our goals, many make the mistake of having a immediate gratification, short-term view. The path towards significant, lasting progress with your productivity, though, is to view your journey as a marathon, not a sprint.


2) We're All in This Together as a Team


Baseball cannot be played without others. While you're more than capable of practicing your hitting, fielding, base running, and pitching on our own terms; to actually compete in a game you're going to need teammates to fill out a lineup and play the different positions on the field.


When it comes to goals, a common misunderstanding people have is that they're path to success is based solely on their own will power and discipline. While these are essential traits to put into practice, it's often the support, encouragement, wisdom, guidance, and accountability of others that ultimately determine whether or not a goal will be achieved in the end.



3) Keeping Your Eye on the Ball


Maintaining focus is absolutely essential to playing the game of baseball. From a pitcher aiming at a location in the strike zone to throw at, to an outfielder targeting to throw out a runner on the base paths, to a hitter keeping their eyes on the direction of a pitched ball----it all demands a high level of focus.


Likewise to see a goal completed from start to finish, keeping our focus on daily habits, completing action steps, and the "why" of our goals are critically important for the overall success of being productive in the long-run.


4) Progress, Not Perfection


Dealing with failure is one of baseball's most dreaded but necessary lessons it teaches us. No other sport embraces this as the best hitters fail to get a hit 7 out of 10 times (in professional ball). The best fielders still commit errors and base runners get throw out attempting to steal. Even the most elite pitchers throw balls, allow walks, hits, and runs to score.


For baseball players, perfection is in theory possible but never can be attained. Likewise with goals, learning to cope and move past failure is what separates those who quit and those who make it to the finish line.


5) Fair Ball?


In baseball, luck and random plays are a natural aspect of the game. Hard hit balls can be outs while pop ups fall in for hits. A pitcher makes a great pitch in the strike zone but the umpire misses the call.


An infielder makes a great fielding play and throw, but the first baseman drops the throw. Ballpark quirks make for long fly outs that would be homers and homers become fly outs to the warning track.


Sometimes in life circumstances that are out of control occur which derail our goals. A unforeseen illness. Getting laid off your job. A death in the family.


Life isn't fair and deals us a blow to the gut. What matters is that we refuse to back down or give up when the going gets rough.


Sticking with goals in the midst of life's unfair results is a hard principle to put into practice, but vital to our growth as productive people.


6) Stay Humble


No team sport reinforces the value of humility more than baseball. Even the most gifted baseball players can struggle and get stuck in slumps. Just when a player thinks they've mastered the game, they're quickly reminded of how much there is to learn and grow.


Humility is a key in continuing to progress in your goal achievement process. Pride often leads to self-destruction not only in life but with our path towards productivity. Placing value on the input of others and being grateful for what's you've received play a vital role with your goals.


7) Strong Work Ethic


It's been said that hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in sports. It takes hard work and discipline to learn the skills needed for the game not just concerning hitting, but fielding, base running, and pitching as well.


Perhaps more than any other sport, baseball is learned through daily disciplines, in practicing the same repetitions time and time again.


The best players often then are those who are willing to work the hardest in the batting cages, fielding ground balls, throwing pitches, and being engaged in the game day in and day out.


When it comes to goal achievement, the same principle applies. Setting and maintaining daily habits for many is a struggle with our busy, demanding schedules and the countless distractions around us. Yet those who learn and develop a strong system of daily habits are those who are the most successful in life.



8) Catching Character


Baseball is a game that is played within the context of rules. Many of which are unwritten. From this there are standards set for a way a player should act in a given situation.


Some are rooted within superstition while others on tradition. In organized youth baseball leagues, your approach and attitude is deemed more important than your skill level. Character carries more weight than whether or not you catch a fly ball.


Sadly, this is often lost in college and professional baseball which places winning as the top priority above the intangibles a players possess. Though in the end their legacy and worth as a ballplayer is built upon more than what their stats suggest. It's who they were as people that made all the difference.


How does this tie into our goal achievement process? To win with productivity, it's the process of who we're becoming during the journey from point A to point B that matters most than the end result. Becoming a person of integrity, compassion, courage, generosity, and joy far outweighs checking off a box that declares you've accomplished something.


9) It's a Game, So Let's Have Fun!


At its very core, baseball is a game meant to be played by kids. To instill the value of having fun and enjoyment basking in the sun on a grassy field played with friends.


Yes there's hard work and discipline involved, but given the right attitude/mindset there's joy to be found in this game that many lose sight of as they get older.


This is a game that is played with fathers and sons. Brothers and sisters. Neighbors and strangers. Linking generations of the past to the present.


It's meant to be enjoyed and savored. Giving us a glimpse of the good that's been lost and can be regained again (cue Terrance Mann's speech in Field of Dreams).


When it comes to our productivity and goal-setting process---it can often feel like drudgery. A burden to bear that comes with regrets, disappointments, and frustrations.


However for those who discover the hidden delights in putting daily disciplines with a reward system find a deep sense of happiness and wholeness that keeps them motivated and engaged. Or through the lens of seeing their goals in a creative story or a game can learn how to actually have fun with the journey they're on.


Let's Play This Out Together


I hope you can begin to see the endless possibilities that the game of baseball has got to teach us when it comes to our goal achievement process. Through Homerun Hope we're together going to unpack and explore these and many more key principles to help educate, equip, and empower you in your path to become a productive, purposeful, and passionate person when it comes to pursuing your goals. Now let's get on the field and play this out together!



Sources: Top headline photo of dugout courtesy of Shutterstock.com, bottom 3 photos courtesy of Flickr.com



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