What Would Cal Ripken Do?

Cal Ripken’s Many Batting Stances

You’re probably like what? What does this have anything to do with writing and being  a parent? 

Cal Ripken and Don Mattingly were my favorite baseball players growing up. What I liked about them is they were dependable, reliable, and highly competent in their jobs. That means they were adaptable and that’s something I aspire to be. They kept their heads down and did their work and showed up every day to do their work. So I often ask when I’m faced with a problem, I ask: “What would Cal Ripken do?”

The thing about Ripken and Mattingly is they were constantly changing their batting stances to try something new at the plate. They were creators. At the crux of every creator is trying something new.

Don Mattingly

My answer comes in the form of the Victim/Creator Roadmap. Usually this issue manifests as a hike.

I start out at Deficiency Trailhead which is where my Victim thinking starts, it all stems from poor self-esteem. But the trail I’m on is the Creator’s Trail. Where I’m crossing over rocks, fallen trees, and lots of other wildlife. In the forest around me is my victim thinking. Trying to drag me into the woods and get me lost. In there I have to face my fear, my hatred of myself, and, finally, my deficiencies as a human in a cave where I’m facing off against a campfire that is actually a Balrog.

So what do I do to stay on the Creator’s Trail? I try something new by taking action, and seeing what that action stimulates. Usually a couple of solutions present themselves and I have to make a choice in the moment. Whether that’s the right solution or not is part of the risk of being a creator, but most of all I don’t blame others and take responsibility for my choices.

This last part is what will lead me to the Ideal Life Summit, where I’ll look out over the countryside and say that hike was super-hard but look at this view. Man, that was worth it. That’s why anyone hikes.

The key here is to understand what a victim does: they almost never achieve goals because they repeat the same behavior over and over. They make excuses, blame others, and complain over and over again. That’s why they never achieve anything because they don’t take accountability for their lives.

The key to shifting the focus is understanding that you have to be adaptable and that ultimately you’re not in control of your mind, your body, or other people, but you are in charge of how you react to those three things. You can always change how you react to things and that you must adapt to be a creator.

And finally, perhaps most of all, I heed Michael Crichton’s advice to graduates at Stanford: “Don’t be attached to results.” I’m a very results oriented so this is perhaps the hardest part, but it’s getting better. 

That’s it for this season. Talk to you all again this summer. See you down the trail.

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