With this new year beginning and bringing about the new baseball season, I want to introduce the player/parents/readers to a very interesting idea and philosophy which l will share with a story.
This is a story about courage, responsibility, faith, and most importantly about losing any sort of entitlement about life circumstances.
Almost ten years ago, motivational speaker Hal Elrod was driving with his girl friend to his home in Fresno, CA after given a speech that ended with his very first standing ovation. He had just turned twenty and was very much enjoying his early success. So much so that he thought of calling his parents to share the news but realized it was almost midnight and didnt want to wake them. These were the last thoughts going through Hal’s mind after a car coming from the other direction collided with his car head on. They both were traveling at 70 mph.
The driver had been hanging out at a bar and was only slightly intoxicated but that was enough from him to think that the highway was was the off-ramp.
Hal’s mustang collided with the man’s Chevy and though Hal’s airbags protected him his car was pushed into oncoming traffic. Hal’s side door was hit by another vehicle, crushing is pelvic bone, shattering his elbow, and smashing the bones in his eye socket into pieces which left this eye hanging loosely from it’s socket. The celling of Hal’s vehicle had buckled and sliced a V from the front of his skull to the back of his head.
When the paramedics arrived on the scene, the “Jaws of life” tool was used to tear the roof back to get to him. Hal started spewing large quantities of blood. It just so happened that the car had been keeping him alive. Hal has such a large hole where his femur punctured through that the pressure from the car door was keeping him from bleeding to death.
Throughout the race to the hospital, Hal had flat-lined on more than one occasion.
6 days later he had finally woken up from a coma induced sleep.
An average student through out high school, Hal had only spent one year at a junior college before dropping out. After starting out a refurbished career in sales and realizing it was more conducive to his personality, he found himself making 6 figures at an annualized rate.
At some point in his career he had learned about a philosophy called the “5 minute rule” from one of his sales mentors.
The mentor had told Hal:” You are going to have customers who aren’t going to buy from you. Some might be rude to you and cut your appointments short. You are going to have days where you aren’t going to reach your goals. And it’s okay to be negative at times. But not for more than 5 minutes. You’ve got to live by the 5 minute rule. Complain, moan, vent, pout, get it out of your system, do whatever you have to do. But just for 5 minutes. Beyond that, there is no point dwelling on the situation. Instead put 100% of your energy into something you can control. What can you do now? How can you move forward?
A few weeks after regaining consciousness and his memory in emergency care, Hal remembers calling upon this advice and experience to help him adjust to this traumatic experience. Hal has later been quoted as saying” I very quickly came to the realization that I had to accept what happened to me. And while I felt plenty of negative emotion about the accident before that realization, after I had that thought, my feelings around it disappeared almost over night.”
Hal realized that there was zero benefit in focusing on things that have already happened to him, so by focusing his energy on what he can do to turn this experience into something positive and a lesson, he was able to overcome this absolutely life-changing experience.
Playing baseball will undoubtedly serve us our own obstacles. It will probably not come in the form of a traumatic accident such as Hal’s but it will force us to come to grips with things that are beyond our control.
Injuries, bad coaches, and failure will always be there to test our own ability to press on.
If you can think of an obstacle right now, just tell yourself you have only 5 minutes left to feel sorry for yourself, after that, your job is to come up with one thing that can be learned from this experience, and one thing that you can do now in this moment to change things for the better.
It’s impossible to fail if you choose to never give up, and the opportunity to demonstrate that truth begins now.
The sooner you learn this the sooner you can apply it in the game of baseball.