Saturday, February 6, 2010

I was a great baseball player, until I played with great baseball players

Is there a difference between who we believe ourselves to be and who we envision ourselves as? Have you ever listened to a recording of your own voice? It never sounds the same as you think it sounds. Have you ever seen a picture of yourself and thought, who is that? Most of the time, how we see ourselves in our mind is different (sometimes much different) than who we really are.
I believe this probably begins in our childhood. I remember as a child believing I had superpowers. I felt like if I focused on a superhero state of mind that I could apply superhero talents to my life. On one such occasion I convinced myself that I could leap our local creek in a single bound. The creek was about 30 feet wide and therefore slightly wider than the long jump world record, nonetheless, I believed I had super powers and this was not going to be a problem. I probably don’t need to tell you how this story turns out, but it was wet.
Another time, when I was entering college as a freshmen, I decided to try and become a “walk on” for my university baseball team. Now I had been a decent player in high school, maybe better than average (interpret this as All Star in my eyes at that time). I had been thinking about the try outs for several months, had done some private training and felt very confident in my chances. Additionally, my friends and family had invested a lot of time and energy in telling me how good of a ballplayer I was.
I’ll never forget the first day of tryouts. I volunteered to be the first batter in a brief scrimmage with some of the guys playing varsity, I felt ready. I swaggered up to the batter’s box, dug in and prepared for the first pitch. The pitcher wound up and fired what I think was a straight fastball. The truth is, I hardly saw it and have no idea what type of pitch it was. He was the fastest pitcher I had ever faced and every pitch was a blur. To give you a tangible example, have you ever watched American Idol and a contestant is singing for the judges and they are just awful, but when asked, they say that everyone they know has told them they were a great singer? Let’s just say, I know that feeling.
So, how do we bridge the gap between who we are and who we want to be? The best way is to recognize ourselves for who we really are and work diligently to build our strengths and overcome our weaknesses. Or maybe we don’t, maybe the next time you look at yourself in the mirror - take a long, hard look at who you really are and embrace the fact that people love you as is, accepting who you are, limitations and all. OR, lastly and probably the most popular choice is to continue your delusional beliefs about your greater self – it’s usually a nicer vision anyway.

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