As I sit reading Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill one thing that sticks out to me is that any one person is their best friend and worst enemy. I got to this conclusion while reading the Organized Planning chapter. Reading this chapter made me sit back and think about my past, my present and my future and how at certain times of my life I was my best friend and worst enemy.
As I got to the 30 Major Causes of Failure section of the chapter and started reading it my brain quickly produced pictures and memories of exactly when I was my worst enemy and when I was my best friend. Thinking about my past as a professional athlete and my present as the Founding Executive Director of The Complete Player Charity I found myself having been associated with three of the first ten Major Causes of Failures, however in both a positive and negative light.
The three Major Causes of Failures that I was associated with are Lack of Self-Discipline, Lack of a Well-Defined Purpose in Life and Lack of Persistence. As you can see, lacking was my biggest issue and it certainly led me out of professional baseball. I share this with you with the hope that you can learn from my story?
First and foremost, find your passion and/or purpose. During my playing days this is something that I never thought about. I knew I had a gift to play baseball and possessed the talents to play at a high level but I never thought about it in the light that this was my purpose. I certainly had passion for the game but I don’t think my true passion for the game ever came to light. I grew up dreaming, literally dreaming more nights than not about playing for the Orioles but it never actualized in my mind that this was my purpose, mainly because I was out of tune with my spiritual Father.
What are currently doing with your life? Does it align with the talents and gifts you were blessed with? Do you wake up every morning excited to go out into the world? Does your current job bring you a fulfilled joy? These are certainly questions that you need to answer and if you answer no to any or all of these than I think its time to make a change. Don’t live as I did. Find your passion and/or purpose and pursue it relentlessly. I promise it will be worth it.
Secondly, you must develop great self-discipline. As Napoleon Hill said, “If you do not conquer self, you will certainly be conquered by self.” Looking back on my career and knowing what I know now it is evident that my career was over long before I knew it was. It was the moment when I failed to possess great self-discipline. I can even put a rough date to that – mid April 2007 during spring training. Up to that point I had really good discipline. I had a great workout routine that I stuck to religiously. I had built a great throwing program and routine that increased my velocity and got me to the point where I could throw the ball where I wanted when I wanted. I was in bed early and stuck to a great diet regimen. My discipline was off the charts and the results I was seeing were just as noticeable.
So I ask you, how would you rate your self-discipline? In what areas could you improve your discipline? In what areas is your discipline great, and what do your results show in that area? Do you have a routine in any area of your life? I would challenge you that if you create a routine in some area of your life, it will help you become more disciplined. Do you start creating routines or habits but end up shying away from them?
That last question leads me to my final point. You must develop or create an attitude of persistence. Many people around the world have come up with great ideas, or started new diets, or develop new habits to only give up on them in a short period of time for whatever reasons. This is the biggest mistake that I made in my career. I failed to be persistent from year to year in my off-season training because of what happened during the prior season. I failed to be persistence in my pre-game preparation during the season as I gave in to the high and lows the season brings. I failed to be persistent in my discipline. Failing to be persistent lead me to failing at my job and in my career.
Napoleon Hill said “Failure cannot cope with Persistence.” I couldn’t agree more. So I ask you, have you been persistent in achieving your goals? Have you been persistent in pursing excellence? Take a minute to think about your past failures and see if the lack of persistence is at the root of your failure. If it is, what can you do differently next time?
You have been blessed with unique gifts and talents, we all have. Now is the time to, if you haven’t already, to find your purpose or passion and create a life of self-discipline, and in everything you do make sure lacking persistence is never the reason for coming up short. You owe this to yourself to never be conquered by self.