Baseball: A Metaphor For Life And Failure

I was listening to a podcast this morning, like I do, and the guests were discussing creative careers and life.  The old analogy that the world’s best baseball players fail far more than they succeed was brought up.

I’ve heard this analogy before, and I’ve probably even given to someone at some point as advice, but something about it struck a chord with me today.  It could be that I am slowly trying to push myself into trying new things and projects.  It can be very disheartening to try something and see it fail spectacularly.

The idea that the best person to ever play baseball, someone considered to be of divine heritage, or someone who has pumped their body full of so many chemicals that they are nearly unrecognizable as human, is still going to fail more than 6 times out of 10.  Imagine that, these people do crazy things to their bodies and their futures to still fail more times than they succeed.  They are considered to be Hall of Famers, the best that ever was.  In the world of baseball, if you actually succeeded even half the time, you would be considered a cheat.

Now to take this analogy and apply it to your life, it makes those failures and setbacks seem less terrible.  At least that’s the point of the analogy.

Baseball also has one of the longest seasons of any of the major sports, 162 games and that’s not even counting the post-season.  Football is 16 games in 17 weeks, once a week and you even get one week off.  Baseball is almost every day for 4 months.  Players and teams know they are in for the long haul, you have to keep an eye on the bigger picture, the larger view.

You can’t let yourself be dragged down because of one or two failures.  You have to get up and keep trying.  Take the 162 game view.  Not only do the best players fail more than half of the time, but the best teams lose a third or more of their games in the season.

This thought struck me this morning and I was going to tweet it, but obviously I had more to say on the matter.  Now, if I can only manage to follow my own advice and not get down when a podcast (listen to Fanboys Talking, shameless plug!) doesn’t get the listenership that I was hoping, or that a story I’m working on doesn’t come out quite right.  They can’t all be home runs, today I struck out but tomorrow I get another at bat and another chance.