As I like to do, I took time to read my timely passage from "The Maxwell Daily Reader" written by John Maxwell. Each calendar day there is a message and it is always amazing how it fits in with something going on in my life. Today's, March 11, spoke about how we view failure and how our thought process in this regard goes a long way towards success. To make his point, Maxwell used one of my favorites, Tony Gwynn as example:
On August 6, 1999, a major-league baseball player stepped up to home plate in Montreal and made another out -- the 5,113th of his professional career. That's a lot of trips to the batter's box without a hit! If a player made all of those outs consecutively, and he average four at bats per game, he would play eight seasons (1,278 game straight) without ever reaching first base!
Was the player discourage that night? No. You see, earlier in the same game, in his first plate appearance, that player had reached a milestone that only twenty-one other people in the history of baseball have every achieved. He had made his 3,000th hit. That player was Tony Gwynn of the San Diego Padres.
During that game, Tony got on base with hits four times in five tries. But that's not the norm for him. Usually he fails to get a hit two times out of every three attempts. Those results may not sound very encouraging, but if you know baseball, you recognize that Tony's ability to succeed consistently only one time in three tries has made him the great hitter of his generation. And Tony recognized that to get his hits, he has to make a lot of outs.
One of the greatest problems people have with failure is that they are too quick to judge isolated situations in their lives and label them as failures. Instead, they have need to keep the bigger picture in mind. Someone like Tony Gwynn doesn't look at an out that he makes and think of failure. He sees it within the context of the bigger picture. His perspective leads to perseverance. His perseverance brings longevity. And his longevity gives him opportunity for success.