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Bringing Home the Horizon of Hope



It happens every year. You begin with a heart full of dreams ready to take on the world. Bursting forth with enthusiasm on New Year's Day, nothing seems impossible. The cloudy, foggy outlook in life shifts to blue, bright skies.


A fresh start for a new, improved version of you ready to make significant, lasting changes. Despite the failures and setbacks of the past you promise yourself this time will be different.


Then reality sets in. The same bad habits creep back into your life. Doubts and excuses lead to passivity and pessimism. Before too long, your life reverts back to what it was at the beginning of the year. Change seems to be a fading allusion.


Frustration mounts. Your regrets mount on top of one another. The holiday season rolls around at the end of the year and once more the viscous cycle begins again with a glimmer of hope meet with frustration and disappointments.


Eventually the weight of past failures buries you to the breaking point of desperation and defeat. Instead of going after your dreams, you're content for what's comfortable and easy. Fighting hard to make peace with just getting by in life.


Dreams fade, goals once set are a distant memory, and those desires you once had are long forgotten.


The First Principle of Productivity


Can you relate? For most of us, some version of this sad story of a once bright spark of hope turned to the darkness of despair has been true in our lives at one point or another; especially when it comes to pursuing our dreams.


Personally I experienced a decade long bout of regrets and frustrations during my twenties longing to change my circumstances while continuing to return to the same old cycle.


Stuck on the sidelines of life seeking to get into the game with goal-setting. Never seeming to make progress slowly wasting away precious time and resources.


It wasn't until my early thirties that I uncovered how to step forward and not look back with my productivity.


My failure wasn't in the desires I went after or the strategies I sought out to achieve them---but ultimately rooted in my perspective. Success came about when I switched my mindset from limited beliefs to liberating truths.


To illustrate this first principles further, let's look at the configuration of a baseball field and why it's so unique.



The Structured, Limited Infield


What sets baseball apart from the other sports is the playing field. While the other team sports all have two separate sides in which a specific team attempts to score in, baseball is where both teams occupies the same space focusing on scoring by means of the same goal---returning home.


On a baseball field, there are two fields of play---the infield and outfield. Infields have set, limited dimensions that are all the same.


All little league infields have their bases 60 feet apart and pitching mound 46 feet from home plate. The set standard for infields from high school to professional is 90 feet between bases and 60 feet, 6 inches from the pitching mound to home plate.


The infield forms a diamond that is structured with no room to change. To keep the game consistent and fair---all baseball fields look identical and cannot be altered.


The Limitless, Infinite Outfield


All other sports have a set dimension to their playing area but the game of baseball allows for different quirks and angles once you get past the infield to the outfield.


In Major League Baseball the ballparks are given personality largely in part because of how the outfield is configured.


For example, at Fenway Park in Boston, the left field wall is 37 feet high, known as the "Green Monster." At Wrigley Field in Chicago, the walls are brick covered with ivy with rows of bleachers just beyond them.


Some parks feature a ton of foul territory while others have little room for balls to stay in play. Due to the dimensions of the outfield, ballparks come to be known as a "pitcher's paradise" (like Petco Park in San Diego) or a "launching pad" for homeruns (like new Yankee Stadium in New York). Larger gaps in the outfield such as Comerica Field in Detroit give teams with speed the upper hand.


While the MLB has set distance of how close a left or right field wall must be to home plate (325 feet) along with center field's distance (400 feet), the height of walls, quirks, angles, and features of an outfield are limitless in nature.


Architect Paul Goldberger in his fascinating book titled, Ballpark, compares the infield to the urban life of the city (limited and structured) to the countryside (unlimited, unstructured) of what lies beyond in the outfield when we writes:


"The baseball outfield, once you get beyond the fixed dimensions of the diamond, is infinite, like the open land of the country....baseball has no clock, and no limits in space." Paul Goldberger


The Diamond of Doubts


The number one derailing factor towards the goal achievement process always comes back to your perspective. A perspective is your view of what's possible in the attitude and mindset you possess towards a desired outcome. Our beliefs play a key role in the success or failure towards a goal.


A perspective of limited beliefs holds us back often directly tied to previous failures or setbacks. After a series of repeated failures it's easy to assume the worst.


Negative feedback from others can give us false narratives on what we can hope to achieve. Or universalizing a bad experience that will occurs across the board in all circumstances is a pitfall that's easy to fall into.


This all accumulates to a dark, foggy outlook on life clouded in doubts. As New York Times bestselling author Michael Hyatt states in his book Your Best Year Ever:

"One of the biggest reasons we don't succeed with our goals is we doubt we can."

Given enough time being stuck in the limited, familiar standards of our lives is like what a hitter in the batter's box whose gaze is set on hitting the ball in the infield. The infield is closer, easier to reach, and familiar, resulting in him setting his gaze to the dimensions of the diamond.


An infield mindset towards being productive is like setting goals that are easy to attain with little to no risk. Or eventually given enough time pushing aside goals altogether. Stuck in the diamond dirt of doubts, disappointments, and despair.



The Boundless Field of Possibilities


To truly excel in the batter's box, a hitter in most cases is aiming to hit the ball out of the infield and as far and hard as possible to the outfield.


Setting his sights on the seemingly infinite horizon of possibilities. Driving the baseball towards a long distance in order to drive his teammates and himself back to home plate where his journey began.


A baseball field is incomplete without an outfield. Likewise, we must go beyond what's familiar and safe to carry out a complete, satisfying life. Pushing past a perspective that isn't fixed on returning to a same outcome truly is the game changer for our goal-setting process.


To reach the unlimited, boundless field of possibilities, our mindset must shift from a limited belief to a liberating truth. Limited beliefs might be the following, "I can't get healthy." "I'm not a disciplined person." "I don't have enough experience." "Eventually I always quit."


Liberating truths revise, reframe, and shift our limiting beliefs from doubts to hope. For example, "I'm not a disciplined person" could be revised to "I am capable of learning how to be disciplined in learning effective strategies." Or "I can't get healthy" shifts to "I will get healthy with the proper exercise routine."



Sightlines and Sunsets


Why are some baseball parks more revered than others? For many the answer is in what lies beyond the outfield walls. The sightlines of the surrounding city.


Ballparks such as PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Jacobs Field in Cleveland, and Busch Stadium in St. Louis are allow for their fans to get a glimpse of the unique buildings and architecture that goes past their ballpark into the infinite reaches of the city and beyond.


Within these beautiful sightlines is a sunset. All ballparks are built so that the sun sets along the third base line. The reason behind this is so that the batter isn't directly facing the sun. It's only when the batter heads towards third in order to circle back home that he get a view of the sunset.


Sightlines and sunsets beyond the ballpark give us a glimpse of a blue sky bursting with beauty and boundless possibilities just beyond our reach. It begins with the outfield and continues past the walls where a horizon of hope awaits us to take hold of.


In the game of life, our perspective needs to be expand from what is in front of us to the vast frontier that lies in the great beyond. Taking this newly brightened perspective with us around the bases to see the light shine in the once darkened corners of our existence.


Returning home ready to cycle back around again daring to believe the infinite, impossible is attainable. Shifting the once dusty, dirty diamond we've traveled on to a sparkling gem of growth and productivity. Beholding what a glorious view it is to see our dreams become a reality with the dawn of a new day just beyond the blue horizon.


Sources:

Photos courtesy of Flickr.com and Unsplash.com










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