“Don’t let the fear of striking out hold you back.” (Babe Ruth)
Babe Ruth was one of the most prolific homerun hitters in the history of baseball, and is often given credit for saving the game after the infamous “1919 Black Sox Scandal”. Ruth is rarely remembered for being a philosopher, yet the above quote is actually quite insightful.
Each day, we are faced with a myriad of decisions and conundrums that vary in complexity and require some type of solution. For the simple, solutions can be just as simple. For the complex, more thought and attention are usually called for. This is where fear most often finds a way to creep into the process, and can cause decisions to be flawed.
It is often said that truly successful people have no fear. While I don’t believe that successful people have found a way to erase our primal “fight or flight” response mechanism, they may have found a way to work around it. They seem to be able to take that fear of failure and turn it into a burning desire to succeed.
In my experience as a dispatcher for a limo service in Chicago, I experienced this same mental transition almost daily. I would start my day at around 4:00 AM, and be faced with the daunting task of maneuvering 90+ cars to various locations to transport hundreds of people to their destinations…mostly O’Hare and Midway Airports, but scores of other locations as well. There were times when a shift would resemble organized chaos, and others where the work flowed as smooth as silk. It was nearly impossible to predict how a given day would go until it arrived, so planning was essential. Ultimately, it came down to facing each day with the confidence of knowing that I was very good at what I did, and not letting it overwhelm me. Fear…that was someone else’s problem as far as I was concerned. I knew that I wasn’t going to fail.
Being confident is often overlooked as a tool of success. Skill, luck, and opportunity get more credit, yet not having confidence in your skills, or not taking the opportunity to use them, will be a hindrance to your attempt to achieve success. Fear of failure is an anchor that will keep you from moving ahead.
That being said, ignoring fear will likely produce failure every now and then. Whether it’s on the battlefield or in a casino, making decisions without fear of the consequences can prove disastrous. But Philosopher Ruth addresses this as well in other quote attributed to him…
“Every strike brings me closer to the next homerun.”