Stepping Up to the Plate

ConcentrationWhether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right. – Henry Ford

Before we ever take the first step toward a goal or a dream, our odds of success or failure are heavily weighted by our mental attitude. I once saw a perfect example of this at my son’s Little League baseball game when players would come up to bat.

While most of the players fell between the two extremes, it was easy to spot the batters who were absolutely sure they were going to get a hit, and the ones who were equally certain that they wouldn’t.

The players who believed they were going to get a hit walked right up to the plate, got into position, knees bent, elbows out, bat cocked back, and waited for the pitcher to throw. If the ball was close—and sometimes even if it wasn’t—they would swing with all they had. Usually, they would hit the ball within a few tries. Sometimes they would strike out, but the next time they came up to bat, you’d never know they had struck out the time before unless you’d seen it. They still knew they were going to get a hit, either this time or the next, and it was clear to anyone looking at them.

The players on the other end of the confidence spectrum, however, shuffled up to the plate, stood there with the bat sitting on their shoulders, and just waited, defeat clear in every line of their stance. Most of the time, they would strike out without ever lifting the bat from their shoulders. Then they would shuffle back to the dugout and retake a seat on the bench that hadn’t even had time to grow cold. It was a little heartbreaking, really. Because they were sure they were going to strike out before they ever stepped up to the plate, they never really tried.

Our feelings about whether or not we’re going to succeed at our own personal challenges can affect us the same way. Before we ever take the first step toward our dreams, we’ve already either boosted or handicapped our chances of success, simply by believing or not believing in our own ability to reach our goal.

Sometimes it can be hard to believe you’re going to succeed, especially if you’ve tried other things before without success. But unless you can get rid of the negative mindset, you could be like the batters that shuffle up to the plate, certain they’re not going to get a hit. You won’t put your full effort into it, even if you don’t realize you’re not trying your hardest. You’ll be like a player swinging the bat with only one hand, or worse, not swinging at all.

You have to believe in yourself.

Believe you can reach your goal.

Believe you can meet and defeat that challenge.

If you can believe it, you’ve already taken a major step toward achieving it.

You can do it.

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