The Game Of Life

October is here and we all know what that means…baseball playoffs. Even if you’re not the biggest fan out there, as long as you don’t live under a rock you’re gonna hear about who wins the World Series sooner or later.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve played, watched, don’t care or don’t entirely understand it—baseball can teach you so many important things about life. Here are some of the big lessons I’ve learned in the last few weeks while watching this year’s season come to an end.

1. You’ve got to live for right now.

Often times we go through life taking things for granted. It’s surprisingly easy to do, and we all do it. We’re so caught up in trying to predict the outcome of the game that we neglect what’s happening right in front of us. We’re missing the magic of the moment.

The most important thing to do in the midst of the excitement, intensity and daily trials and tribulations of life—is to enjoy it. We’ve got to remember to be grateful for the experience we’re going through right now.

2. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Most coaches, no matter what sport, will tell their players something like this—“Just take it one play at a time, one pitch at a time, one game at a time.” While these sayings might be some of the most cliché out there, they’re cliché for a reason. It’s because there’s truth in them.

The better you are at letting water pass under the bridge, the more likely you are to perform at your best. You never know how things are going to unfold, but if you focus on right now, you’ll have a much better chance at ending up where you want to be.

3. Focus on things you can control.

In both baseball and life, there are things we don’t have any control over. We are at the mercy of what others choose to do, environmental factors, and the circumstances we are born into. But there is one thing we have control over: ourselves. Realizing and recognizing that you don’t have control, and then putting your attention toward your effort and attitude are key if you want to live a positive and focused life. When a player gets upset about a play and charges the umpire, he doesn’t do himself or his team any good. The same is true in life. We often waste so much energy on trivial things that we have no control over. When we shift our focus to things we can control, the world becomes a much more accessible place.

4. Failure is just part of the game.

Baseball produces heroes, but statistically there are tons of failures in the game. It is not uncommon for someone who is an MVP to have struck out (and failed) 65% of the time. Even “the best” have to deal with failure. Honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if the two teams that made it to the Series this year lost more than 60 games each. It’s happened before, and it requires a lot of failing. The same is true for life. It’s not a question as to whether or not we’ll fail…it’s when and how we’ll deal with it when it happens. If we remember that failure is just a part of life, it helps us alleviate the stress, fear and self-judgment that often comes with it.

5. It’s not over, until it’s over.

Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” This is true in both baseball and life. Often throughout the length of the season, players and teams get counted out. However life, just like baseball, is full of second chances and opportunities for redemption. We may think we’re down or out, but life still has lots left in store.

It doesn’t matter what your opinion of America’s Pastime is—after reading this I hope you can appreciate the game not only for the exciting spectacle it is, but also for the life lessons it solidifies every time the guys go out on the field. Next stop, turkey town!