Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Baseball & Nutty Bars

This weekend I started - AND FINISHED - a book called "The Slight Edge" by Jeff Olson.  I could NOT put this book down!  I found myself reading it during every spare moment I could find. It also helped that we took a road trip to The University of Kentucky for a baseball showcase camp for The Boy.  Side note: He did SO well and was contacted by interested coaches before we even made it back to Missouri.  WAY TO GEAUX!  We're so proud of you!  :)

"The Slight Edge" is an inspiring book that helps you become aware of the unwritten rules we all live by but aren't always aware of.  Jeff explains these principals in a super easy-to-understand manner that will have you re-evaluating those "insignificant" decisions you make every day!  If you want to improve any area in your life, I strongly encourage you to get this book and read it.  My journey will never be the same from this point on!    

One story that stood out to me surprisingly related to baseball.  It was a great picture of how all those little positive choices, accumulated over time, make a huge impact.  Here's an excerpt from the book by Jeff Olson...

Head baseball coach and 'The Slight Edge' reader Russell Stockton of Houston 
knows firsthand how constant repetition pays off for his team. In his 20 years 
as a head baseball coach, mostly at smaller colleges, he never had the luxury of 
landing a “blue chip” recruit for his team. To equal the playing field a few years 
ago he instilled the Slight Edge principles into his coaching philosophy. And it 
has produced amazing results, earning him a conference title and a trip to the 
NCAA Regional tournament for the first time in 10 years. 
Stockton has also been very successful in getting his team to buy into 
mastering the simple fundamentals of the game. In a letter he sent us, he tells 
of one pitcher, who wasn't expected to break into the starting rotation at the 
beginning of the season, but ended up being one of the most valuable players on 
his team come playoff time. Here is his story. 

"I was a new assistant coach at the university and was assigned to the 
pitchers. The head coach gave me the rundown on all the guys and told me 
who to spend the most time with. This one player, we will call Tom, he told 
me not to spend much time with him, as he was a non-factor. However, this 
player bought into the Slight Edge concept that I taught him and he did 
the drills religiously. By the end of the year, because he applied the Slight 
Edge principles and had improved his game so much, he was drafted in the 
third round and signed for a little less than $500,000. He should be in the 
big leagues next year." 


Stockton has also been very successful in getting his team to buy into 
mastering the simple fundamentals of the game. The best example Stockton uses 
in how he implements the Slight Edge philosophy is with his hitters.

"I tell my hitters, when practice is over, if they choose to, go to the 
batting cage and hit two buckets of balls, approximately 100 swings, it will 
only take about 20 minutes (easy to do). However, most leave and go home 
(also easy to do). But if they take 100 extra swings five days a week they 
will have 500 extra swings by the end of the week. I tell them they probably 
will not be much better. But don’t stop, do that all four weeks of the month. 
So by the end of the first month they should have 2,000 extra swings. 
You might start seeing a positive change. But don’t stop; if you do 
this for all 10 months of the school year, by the time we hit the playoffs 
you should have 20,000 extra swings. But if you can take at least five 
teammates with you to the batting cages, then our team will be getting 
100,000 extra swings. The year we won the conference title I had six to 
eight hitters who bought into this idea."

Just imagine how different your life would look if you increased the amount of positive decisions you made that bring you closer to your dreams.  Whether it's weight loss, improving your finances, to have a better relationship with your significant other, to be a better parent, to break an addiction, to be more positive, to be healthier, whatever your dream is, making lots of little "insignificant" decisions that move you in the direction of those dreams will make the difference.  It will give you the slight edge.  It's easy to make those good decisions... and it's also easy to make bad ones.

Just look at my Nutty Bar scenario.  I was craving sweets every day at work one week when I discovered the vending machine had a row stocked with Nutty Bars.  I made the decision to get one, EVERY DAY that week.   I wasted $5.50 on food I didn't need, food that added 1,150 to my weekly caloric intake.  I even unintentionally influenced my co-worker to get Nutty Bars two or three of those days, delaying her dream, in addition to my own.  I was "attending practice", but I wasn't practicing good habits.  

Instead of making myself proud for resisting temptation and strengthening that resistance "muscle", I felt awful for making choices that slowed down my progress.  I felt awful that I influenced someone to make poor decisions rather than inspiring them to do positive things. I felt defeated and ashamed and a little part of me wanted to quit.  

But I made another decision that gave me the slight edge.  I decided to forgive myself for making those choices and keep moving forward!  I decided not to beat myself up for making poor decisions but to learn from them, to reflect on how those choices made me feel, to ask myself if that's how I really want my life to go, to ask myself if that's how I really want to influence others.  In that moment, I changed my momentum.

I was no longer defeated.  


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