How many times in our lives do we encounter obstacles? I would venture to say this happens a couple times a week, and many more times a year, and an unfathomable amount throughout our lifetimes. Obstacles are always present, yet they seem to have a debilitating effect on how we react to situations. Some of you have ice in your veins and never let obstacles prevent you from moving forward. Others, can’t stand the sight of failure and shy away from it whenever possible. However, failure is the way towards growth.
In Ryan Holiday’s book, The Obstacle is the Way, he talks about what it takes to move forward with our calling in life. He states that the obstacle in front of you is the way forward. Most of us get paralyzed when a problem occurs. We don’t know how to react to circumstances that arise, even if we have no control over the circumstances. In a passage in the book he states, “Every obstacle is unique to each of us. But the responses they elicit are the same: Fear. Frustration. Confusion. Helplessness. Depression. Anger.” I love this passage because no matter our vocation in life, whether it’s a professional baseball player or a construction worker, we all have different problems, but we all have the same reaction to those problems. They key is moving past them to get to a solution. The Solution lies with three disciplines: Perception, Action, and Will.
In perception, this is how we perceive certain obstacles. I say this many times to our athletes, but it’s how we “react to circumstances to which we have no control over.” You can always choose how you react to something. Someone does not make you feel bad, you make yourself feel bad by choosing to feel bad. You can choose to not feel bad when someone is trying to demean or hurt you. It’s a psychological state which you have control over. When someone makes two errors behind you during a game; you can choose to shake them off or let them get to you. It’s a choice made by you. You cannot control the umpire’s calls, so don’t react negatively when it’s not in your control. It’s how we perceive the obstacle against us that makes us move forward or not at all. You need to control your emotions, put things in perspective, and focus on what you can control, not what you can’t.
Action is an important step because it is the basis on which to improve. A great quote from the book explains our daily struggles: “In our lives, when our worst instincts are in control, we dally…We’ve all done it. Said “I am so [overwhelmed, tired, stressed, busy, blocked, outmatched, etc.] And then what do we do about it? Go out and party. Or teat ourselves. Or Sleep in. Or wait. It feels better to ignore or pretend. But you know deep down that that isn’t going to truly make it any better. You’ve got to act, and you’ve got to get started now.” I love this quote because it solidifies everything our young kids do now. Here at CBC, we offer an unlimited plan to let you come in any time and any day of the month as many times as you want, and we offer it reasonably priced. Parents pay for their kids to come here an unlimited amount of times and yet some of them show up 6 times a month. Keep in mind, these kids have cars of their own. I understand the ones whose parents just cannot get them here every single day (although we do have those parents), but the kids who live down the street with cars and come in every so often is a bit sad. They have taken no action and, to change around the quote I stated, say that they have homework, practice, are just too busy, etc. I understand that stuff is important, but you forgot about the hours you spent talking with your girlfriend, the hours you spent playing Fornite, the hours you spent out with your friends. I’m not saying you can’t do those things, but if being a professional baseball player is important to you then you will realize that you cannot miss out on training sessions. Ever. I understand that you want to have fun, but I can promise you with absolute honesty: the women, the games, and the time out with your friends are a lot more fun in MLB than high school. Count on it.
Finally, we get to Will. The will to want to be better. You’ve heard coaches say, “the will to win.” When it comes to moving an obstacle or going through it, it’s going to take will to move beyond that obstacle. A couple of ways the book lays out to keep our will strong are as follows: “Always prepare ourselves for more difficult times. Always accept what we’re unable to change. Always manage our expectations. Always persevere. Always learn to love our fate and what happens to us. Always protect our inner self. Always submit to a greater, larger cause. Always remind ourselves of our own mortality.” While this may be a little too deep, my favorite is the last one. The author is heavily influenced by Marcus Aurelius, the last of the “5 Good Emperors” of Ancient Rome. One of his most famous quotes is “Death smiles at us all. All a man can do is smile is back.” If you have seen the movie Gladiator, you have heard this quote before. You may think “well if we all die then what’s the point?” The point is to leave a legacy for yourself and your name. The will to keep going and moving forward no matter how hard things become. Because one day we will all die and only have a limited time on this planet to be someone and make something of ourselves.
If you spend your time playing video games and blaming others for your failures, your life will amount to very little. Time management is a skill that is lacking amongst young kids. They seem to not understand the will it takes to practice day in and day out. They think that a couple practices a week, and a couple games is good enough. Yet, they fail to look at their own lives and see how much time they have not spent on practice and developing. Look, there is no problem with video games, movies, TV, and hanging out with friends. But make sure your affairs are in order. Make sure you got your work in that day and then the remaining time is spent on leisure activities. If you have no time for leisure activities, then so be it. That’s the decision you have to make. Sacrifices are the key to being successful. Ask anyone who is successful and they will tell you that many sacrifices were made to get them there. Make sure you are working 20x harder than the next person. Leave no doubt so one day you can look back and say, “I did everything I possibly could to be the best baseball player I could have been.”
I will conclude with one last quote from the book. “You’ll have far better luck toughening yourself up than you ever will trying to take the teeth out of a world that is–at best–indifferent to your existence.” I love this quote. It really sums up how some younger kids feel about themselves and how the world actually sees them. Most kids think their lives are the center of the universe. And when something doesn’t go their way, they try to change the entire world around them instead of themselves. Yet don’t understand that most of the world has no idea who they are. This is okay though. They are young, and most haven’t made a legacy for themselves yet. However, the more time you spend not working on yourself and your goals, the less likely you will actually achieve your goals. And if that happens, you have no one to blame other than yourself. Remember, the clock is ticking, and death is smiling upon us, you have to get moving and do it now. Do today what others won’t, so today you can do what others can’t.
Director of Pitching
Chapman Baseball Compound
Chapman Baseball Compound is a 3,000 square foot facility where we specialize in baseball development specifically in the areas of: hitting, pitching, catching, and mental training.