My son has been working diligently at becoming a major league baseball player. He pretty much breathes baseball at this point, constantly having his glove and ball in his hands, practicing batting with anything that even slightly resembles a bat, and randomly running and throwing himself down on the floor to perfect sliding into home plate. He watches all the games with very focused attention and attempts to imitate everything he sees the players do. He talks about what teams he will play on and all the records he will one day break.
He recently began taking his first baseball clinic and a whole other side of baseball has opened up for him: hard work and discipline. As he learns how to catch with proper glove movement, and bat with his elbows pointed in the right direction, he has been challenged to face frustration and disappointment. Suddenly, he is realizing that he isn’t awesome at everything and that those things that don’t come natural, he has to work for.
The other night he was practicing catching with the proper glove movement. He was having some difficulty and I could see his mood going downhill fast. After missing about ten in a row, I could see the disappointment and self-defeat written all over him. He slumped down on the floor, put his head between his legs, and told me that he just couldn’t do it. He was frustrated and was no longer having fun.
My son was seeing this as a difficult moment, while I was seeing this as a brilliant teaching opportunity. I went over to him and started to talk to him about the effect our attitude has on our ability to achieve. I explained to him that the more down we get, expecting not to catch the ball, the more likely we are to make that happen and not succeed. I reminded him how important it is that we first think and feel exactly what we are working toward, getting it into our head, and our heart, before putting it into action.
I had him close his eyes and see in his mind’s eye a picture of himself catching the ball. I then had him imagine what that would feel like, and act out his reaction to those feelings. I watched as his face registered success and he started jumping up and down with excitement. He did this a couple of times, and then it was time to play ball again. I threw him his first ball and he missed, although this time he was closer to catching it. He repeated the process of imagining success and then I threw him the ball again. Success!
The sheer pride, excitement, joy, and shock that washed over his face was priceless, a moment that I will forever have ingrained in my heart and mind. After catching the ball a few more times, he ran over to me and gave me a giant hug, telling me that he never thought he could be so good. His hard work and discipline was paying off, all because he learned to keep a positive attitude.
No matter what we are attempting, no matter how easy or difficult the task, we are more likely to succeed when we have a positive attitude and envision ourselves being successful. We have so much power harnessed within ourselves, so much we are capable of, if we, not only believe in ourselves but, go so far as to see our success before it happens. Before we make it happen!