With the completion of the recent World Series, I couldn’t help but notice again how many people who don’t necessarily follow baseball seriously during the season become serious fans at World Series time. The great American past time does seem to capture attention, our imaginations and our hopes.
I’m reminded of a story I heard about a little boy who, like so many, dreamed of becoming a major league player. He went outside to practice and holding the bat firmly in one hand tossed the ball up and gave it a might swing! Missed. Undaunted, he threw it up again and swung even harder and….missed again. Remembering you get three strikes in baseball, he picked up the ball, threw it up higher and with all the concentration this little fellow could muster gave it the mightiest swing ever. As he saw the ball drop to the ground, tears began to well up in his eyes. Suddenly, a big smile came over his face and he shouted out, “what a pitcher I am!” With a slight change in perspective, he decided to deal himself a different hand.
When I was very young I wanted to play little league. But not having had much practice and no experience, I thought I’d just watch the other kids and wait until next year. When next year came, although I had practiced, I hadn’t seen any “real” action and noticed that the kids who had played were even better. I decided to wait another year. That next year as I stood on the brink of a three-peat avoidance performance I realized something — I would never catch up this way and battling the frustration, I mad a decision that I just had to DO IT!
Is there something you keep “looking at” in your life that calls you to action, but you just put it off because you’re not quite ready yet, or afraid or unsure of what will happen? You see, it’s not IF, but WHEN we’ll face challenges, disappointments and frustrations. It’s not whether we’ll do something with them, but what we’ll do. Whether we’re willing to admit it or not, NOT DECIDING is a decision and NO ACTION is an action.
It seems we’re the sum total of all our experiences. Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said that “we’ll be the same person in 5 years that we are today, except for the people we meet and the books we read”, noting those are two things that can have a lasting impact on us.
I’d add to that “and except for how we’ve played the hand we D.E.A.L.T. ourselves.” Others don’t “deal” it to us, as we always have the choice of how we’ll respond (hopefully not just “react” as there is a difference). This includes our thoughts, observations, notes, responses, reactions, etc.
An acronym I use to describe the life changing cause and effect relationship of this process is D.E.A.L.T., broken down as follows:
First is Decisions. Anthony Robbins has said “it’s in your moments of decision that your destiny is determined.” Ideally, your desired direction determines the decisions you make. If not, the decisions you make will govern the direction you end up following. For example, when you leave the parking lot of a crowded event and you get to the end of the driveway, which direction will you turn? When you come to freeway on ramps, which one do you take? If you’re in Orange County and you want to go to San Diego you’ll go one way; to Los Angeles, another. Where are you going? Who will you follow? Where will you end up? If you don’t have a direction you intend to go, you’ll probably just “go with the flow” or end up following someone else in the direction they’re going, or perhaps even in the direction THEY want YOU to go.
The Experiences you encounter will in large part be a consequence of the decisions you’ve made. The Actions do you take are a result of those experiences you’ve had. Next, what Lessons have you learned as a result of the actions taken and all that’s transpired to that point? Do you look for the lessons in each experience? Do you see each as a gift to be unwrapped? Do you ask , “so what’s so good about this?” or “what can I learn to help me move forward in the direction I want?” or “what do i need to learn from this experience NOW, so I don’t have to learn it again?” If you don’t learn from history, human nature will have you keep repeating it until you do, right?
Lastly, what Transformations do you implement a a result of the lessons learned? If there’s no learning, there will be no transformation. How could there be?
Here are some action steps you can take to make a difference:
- Next time you feel like a victim, or helpless, or extremely disadvantaged, STOP! Realize you’re about to have D.E.A.L.T. yourself a hand poorly.
- Think of someone you know, or have heard of, that overcame incredible obstacles that inspires you and then work on the fact that you CAN inspire yourself. NOBODY can stop you without your permission!
- Don’t let your life be your favorite spectator sport. Get off the sidelines and get into the game!
- Pick up that ball, toss it high, and swing for the fence! It doesn’t have to be a BIG deal, just well D.E.A.L.T.
You’ll always play the hand you’ve D.E.A.L.T. yourself. It’s how you play it that gives you The Winner’s Edge!