Perseverance

Perseverance

Just happened to catch an interview with Alex Rodriguez, one of the most prolific baseball players of our time in which he said, “I tripped and fell a lot, but kept getting back up.” Interesting, how did A-Rod ever fail? Well I guess here are the facts:

  • In 16% of his major league at bats he struck out
  • Only 29.5% of the time he got a hit, which means 70% of the time he didn’t
  • Since 2011 he has really only played one full season

A major failure, of course not but Alex Rodriguez, the highest paid player in baseball knows things aren’t always up, sometimes they are down.

Years ago United Technologies ran an ad in the Wall Street Journal. I copied the ad and have it hanging on my wall in my home office. I would give credit to the author but it is impossible to find. Here goes…

“You have failed many times although you may not remember. You fell down the first time you tried to walk. You almost drown the first time you tried to swim, didn’t you? Did you hit the ball the first time you swung a bat? Heavy hitters, the ones who hit the most home runs, also strike out a lot. R.H. Macy failed seven times before his New York store caught on. English novelist John Creasey got 753 rejection slips before he published 564 books. Babe Ruth struck out 1330 times but he also hit 714 home runs. Don’t worry about failure. Worry about the changes you miss when you aren’t even trying.”

I taught a young protégé, many years ago to play racquetball. And after losing so many times, no one could remember, he finally beat me. He was proud as a peacock, bragging about his victory. I just looked at him and said, “Do you think your victory (my loss) bothers me? It doesn’t because I taught you how to play the game so it’s equally my victory. See the young protégé never realized it’s about the experience that enriches you; all of us have to fail sometime. And sometimes we fail most of the time but it is perseverance that keeps us in the game. See, we have to believe in ourselves in our ability to be successful and its drive and ambition as well as a heavy dose of perseverance that will drive our success.

Many years later a friend and I were talking about life, and I told him that I always likened myself to one of those blow up, life sized toys with the weight in the bottom that we all had when we were kids. You would punch it and it would come right back for more. That simple tool taught a lot of us baby boomers just how to persevere. Take the hit and keep coming back for more. Maybe that’s what Ruth and Rodriguez as well as Creasey and Macy are teaching us in their failures…isn’t it really all about life’s experiences that make us stronger.

So the next time life hits you in gut, bounce back up and drive forward and tell everyone just like A-Rod did, “I tripped and fell a lot, but kept getting back up.” The world is going to be better for it…believe me.

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