“My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging.”
Hank Aaron

Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron: (born February 5, 1934 in Mobile, Alabama) is a retired Hall of Fame baseball player whose Major League Baseball (MLB) career spanned the years 1954 through 1976. Aaron is widely considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time.

Sports figures have given us many memorable motivational quotes throughout history. These quotes not only give us motivation to keep trying on the field, but off it as well. An athlete may give us a quote that only pertains to on the field perspective, but we can always incorporate it into our personal lives. The lessons we learn about ourselves through participation in competitive sports reflects in our personal and professional lives long after we hang up the cleats.

In baseball if you are able to achieve a .350 batting average you just had an All Star season, you would be praised by the fans, as well as by your peers. If you are able to finish your career with a lifetime batting average of .350 or greater; you would have written your own ticket to the Hall of Fame. If we stop to think about this success to failure ratio, a Major League Baseball All Star only succeeds 35% of the time! I do not know many companies who would keep an employee who failed 65% of the time.

I use the batting average analogy with my children who participate in sports. They will get down if they have a bad at bat, fumble, or just an overall bad game. This success to failure ratio in sports will put a smile on their faces, knowing those they look up to also have bad games. They are motivated for their next at bat, next down, or their next game. I think this and the analogy of practice makes perfect have given my kids valuable lessons on how to succeed in sports and in life.

Sometimes failures can become our greatest lessons. In life we will make many mistakes. We should look at mistakes as learning opportunities. These lessons shape us into who we are through trial and error; success and failures. We learn what works and what doesn’t, and hopefully refrain from what doesn’t; sometimes that can be a mistake all on its own. The mistakes we make today will become tomorrow’s good choices. Imagine a world where everyone was perfect 100% of the time. In my vision this world seems dull, and not very much fun. The reason we cherish and remember successes so much is because of the lessons and stories behind them. Trying to accomplish a task or fulfilling a dream will result in many failures before you are successful. This builds character and teaches us about perseverance. Actress Julie Andrews (The Sound of Music) said it best.

“Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th

The nice thing about living creatures is we are resilient. If a lioness gave up every time she failed to make a kill; her pride would starve. If we were to give up every time we experienced failure in our personal and professional life we would cease to advance and grow. We are similar to our idols in professional sports; we will be judged on our successes and failures. In order for us to reach the Hall of Fame in life we need to keep swinging.

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Comments
  1. I love baseball and baseball statistics. However, batting average can be very deceiving. For one thing, a player can have a lower batting average AND still be highly successful. The player might be a superb fielder and this makes up for their sub-par hitting. On the other hand, the player might be adept at hitting behind runners or battling a pitcher deep into the count for each at bat. Some batters may not hit for average, but they are excellent at sacrifice bunts and fly balls.

    My point here is that we often do players a great disservice by defining success too narrowly, by getting too stuck on the batting average and not looking at the bigger picture.

    It’s the same for all facets of life as well.

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