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4 Ways Baseball is the Perfect Metaphor for Life

4 Ways Baseball is the Perfect Metaphor for Life

It’s spring time in America, and that means many changes: the blossoming of flowers, the end of the school year, the lightening of work hours for some. But one thing that sticks out as particularly relevant to this time of year is the way in which baseball ties perfectly into the everyday fabric of America. While baseball’s popularity has indeed extended overseas, there is still something to be said for how it particularly captures the American spirit. To capture this particular idea, here is a list of four ways baseball is a perfect metaphor for life.

What happens at the beginning might have no relevance at the end

Baseball season is 162 games long, twice as long as that of hockey and basketball, which both clock in at second longest at 81 games each. Over the years, there have been countless instances of teams who struggled in the beginning only to turn it around and win later. It’s like life in that way. It doesn’t always matter where you come from, but it matters where you go. And, and the end of the year, hopefully where you go is in the positive direction.

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Even the best achievers fail–a lot

Hitting a baseball is hard. When the MLB All-Star game rolls around in July, most of the players that represent the best of the league are the ones who hit for a .300 average, which means they succeed at their goal only three out of every 10 times. These players know that in order to be the best at what they do, they will have to be prepared to fail about seventy percent of the time, at least. But they don’t get discouraged by those odds. Just like in life, they are willing to take a swing at whatever opportunity comes their way, knowing that, when they do succeed, that’s all people will remember.

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It’s a team sport with people of multiple specialties coming together

In baseball, pitchers can’t hit, and hitters can’t hit. People might play first base because they can’t throw but they can catch (like me), and others might be sent to the outfield because they are fast and have quick instincts and good eyesight. And still more become catchers because they are short, squat, smart, and have qualities of a leader. But what they all do together is figure out what their roles are, how to do their roles well, and how to support each other in their roles. Other sports might have this separation of duties, but not to the degree that baseball does, and, by the commutative property, not to the degree life does.

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It contains anomalies

In his book Moneyballfinance author Michael Lewis relates the story of how Oakland A’s General Manager Billie Bean managed to game the system of baseball using statistics and information, which ultimately resulted in his underpaid team of misfits winning 20 games in a row, which is tied for third longest win streak of all-time. The purpose of relating this is to show how, even when you think you’ve seen it all in baseball, with 162 games containing about 120 pitches by each team each game, and 16 games going on at all times, out-liers and statistical rarities seem to happen more often than elsewhere. In the vein of the quote, “If you give a room of a hundred monkeys a bunch of typewriters and all of eternity, eventually one of them will write Hamlet,” in baseball, and in life, everything might be governed by what is most likely to happen, but it doesn’t necessarily limit itself to that. On any given day, you probably will encounter something you’ve never seen before.

Featured photo credit: Minda Haas Kuhlmann via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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