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If You Do Nothing, You Get Nothing.

June 16, 2010

Ever seen a kid in a batting cage on a hot summer day? He’s sweating and parched. He swings away as that mechanical arm lobs perfect pitches at his face, yet he does not recognize the danger, nor feel fear. He doesn’t notice the sweat, nor does he stop often to relieve his thirst. He practices until his hands are raw and his back aching from the follow-through. He doesn’t do this because it’s fun. It’s a means to an end.

There’s a good chance that, as he tweaks and repeats his swing, he has a goal in mind. The end goal may be to play one day for his hometown major league team, but there’s a more likely, more immediate goal of which he’s dreaming. For him, the major leagues are intangible for the time being (they can’t all be the Rookies of the Year), and there is another goal he can actually touch.  For now, he’s dreaming of that varsity jersey. Maybe he wants to hit one out of the park at his next game. Maybe he just wants to make the team at all. The point is, you can see that he wants it, whatever “it” is, and he’s going to spend all summer in the batting cage preparing for it. He’s willing to put in the work to reach his small goals, regardless of whether he ever makes it to the big leagues.

At some point, the dream of the majors is put on the shelf and looked back upon fondly, through reality-tinged glasses. At some point, it is no longer possible to do the impossible (unless you’re Rudy, of course). Eventually we come to understand that we aren’t all going to be Manny Ramirez, or whoever you thought you might one day be.

The thing is, there is no ladder that will allow you to climb directly from A to Z, sidestepping all potential chutes. It almost never happens. There are so many challenges in between A and Z, that most of the time, we struggle through B, get to C, and give up. Instead of relenting over how difficult it is to get from A to Z, we need to focus on the small challenges, and subsequently, the small victories. No minor league baseball player ever tries out for the majors and makes it, but he can prepare himself for the one chance he may get to play on that grand stage. The accumulation of small goals often times leads to the realization of our overarching goal.

There’s no guarantee that he’ll make the majors one day, but it doesn’t matter. He’ll work as hard as he can anyway. Should his chance come and go, he’ll have to find a new dream, and love it enough to struggle through the challenges it will take to make it happen.

We all struggle, but those who are willing to sweat have a much better chance of getting what they want. If you do nothing, you get nothing.

Image from the Magnolia Voice

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 16, 2010 9:29 am

    Great article Esther! And very relevant for anyone who owns a business! Determined and focused small steps take you big places.

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