“Holding on Too Long”
I was a kid, I played a lot of sandlot and little league baseball. I was a decent hitter and often batted
“cleanup” in the batting order, if you know what that means. Anyway, not sure exactly when, but sometime
early on in my
"career" as a baseball player, I received, bought, found or otherwise owned, a
black, 30-inch wooden baseball bat. Now if you
do not know, baseball bats come in lengths like 30, 32, 34, 36 and so on. Not sure what the maximum length is but no
matter. The point being is that for a
long time I would take my personal black bat to all the games I played in and it
would serve me well. I hit many a
homeruns with that bat.
one year, when little league baseball started up again in the spring, scouts
decided I was a good enough outfielder or a good enough hitter or whatever to maybe move up a
division or 2 and was told to report to such and such a ball diamond for a try
out. I cannot tell you how excited I
was. For several years I had been
playing in the bottom division of little league and although no team liked a
kid with eyeglass because of injury liability fears, maybe with the tryout, my time to
shine had finally come.
I report to the tryout with my black bat.
I am going to pound some nice homeruns on these guys and I know they
will think of me as another Babe Ruth.
So eventually, my turn comes to bat and what happens? I cannot hit a thing. Every time I swing, I miss. It just
cannot be. I should be popping those
pitches over the fence!
thanks but no thanks, is what the coach told me and so back to the minor, minor
leagues for me. I sure was dejected.
that same summer, cleaning out a neighbor's garage for some pocket change, I found a 40-inch baseball bat
and upon asking, the neighbor said I could keep it.
It was beat up pretty badly but was one monster piece of wood and you know
what? I hit anything and everything that was thrown at me using that bat.
the moral of this story? The point?
Sometimes we hold on to strategies, practices, habits, ways of doing
business, looking at things, baseball bats, which worked once or even for a long time and then
are surprised when they no longer seem to work. When that happens, we tend to do what I did, just keep on
swinging with the same old bat and keep on missing. When
I went to that tryout for the big leagues I was using a bat that was too small
for me but I was so locked into using it, I never even thought of picking up
one of the team's longer bats and giving it a try.
Since that time and my realization of what I call "the 30-inch syndrome", I have been aware that I have to watch out for holding on too long to some things. I know it is human and even logical to go with what you know but I am telling you, that everything changes and so the next time you tryout for the "big leagues", make sure you have the right “bat” or be willing to drop that old, tried and true way of thinking and pick up a new way of doing business before the "coach sends you home."
For more Ron Stultz writings, click here.