Cal Ripken is known for breaking Ty Cobb’s “unbreakable” record of playing in 2,130 consecutive professional baseball games, and for signing a five-year contract for more than $30 million in the 1990s. However, during one particular year of that contract, Cal got only about one hit for every four times at bat. Think about it. If you had failed three times out of four in your job, how would you feel about it? What would your self-image or picture of yourself be?
Question: What do you think Cal Ripken’s picture of himself is when he steps up to the plate? Do you really think that he’s thinking: “Boy, what a waste of time! Chances are only one out of four I’m going to get a hit! I don’t know why I bother with this anyhow. Sure, they pay me a lot of money, but this is embarrassing and terribly discouraging to get only one hit for every four trips to the plate. There has to be another way to make a living! I’m just a loser.
I’m no good, and I don’t know why I put myself through this torture so everybody else can see what I already know.” Do you think that’s his self-talk? If not, then what is his self-talk? I believe as he steps to the plate with considerable eagerness to face the pitcher, Cal is thinking to himself, “Okay, you got me the last time, but I’ve got your number this time. I’ve been thinking it through, watching you, and I happen to know I’m one of the best athletes in the world.
I’ve hit that ball under every circumstance known to man. I’ve gotten hits off tall pitchers and short pitchers, winning pitchers and losing pitchers. I’ve hit in close games and runaway games, and this time … I’m coming after you. This is my turn!”
Cal Ripken sees himself as a winner, and he is elated to have a chance to step back up to the plate. Message: Regardless of what happened to you the last time you stepped up to the plate, this time it’s a brand new day, and at this very moment you are preparing to make it a winning one. That is motivation.
… Adapted from Zig Ziglar’s best selling book, OVER THE TOP.
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