Monday, August 31, 2009


From "Failing Forward" by John Maxwell:

On August 6, 1999, a major-league baseball player stepped up tot he home plate in Montreal and made another out -- the 5,113th of his professional career. That's a lot of trips to the batter's box without a hit! If a player made all those out consecutively, and he averaged four at bats per game, he would play eight seasons (1,278 games straight) without ever reaching base.

Was the player discouraged that night? No. Did he think he had failed himself or his team? No. You see, earlier in the same game, in his first plate appearance, that player had reached a milestone that only twenty-one other people in the history of baseball have every achieved. He had made his 3,000 hit. That player was Tony Gwynn of the San Diego Padres.

During that game, Tony got on base with hits four times in five tries. But that's not the norm for him. Usually he fails to get a hit two times out of every three attempts. Those results may not sound very encouraging, but if you know baseball, you recognize that Tony's ability to succeed consistently only one time in three tries has made him the greatest hitter of his generation. And Tony recognizes that to get his hits, he has to make a lot of outs.

One of the greatest problems people have with failure is that they are too quick to judge isolated situations in their lives and label them as failures. Instead, they need to keep the bigger picture in mind.

"The difference between greatness and mediocrity is often how an individual views a mistake."
-Nelson Boswell