This I Believe

Lauren - Millington, New Jersey
Entered on December 10, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: sports

“Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” This quote is my mantra. It represents my mindset – the way I live my life. I first heard it in the movie A Cinderella Story, but later learned that it was derived from one of baseball legend Babe Ruth’s famous quotes, “Never let the fear of striking out keep you away.”

In baseball, if you hit the ball only a third of the time you are up at bat, this is considered a fantastic batting average. I believe that this principle applies to life in the same exact way. I’ve learned to not be discouraged by failures. It’s not going to stop me from trying again. As long as I give it my all, I have no regrets. When I do strike out, I use it as a lesson and make adjustments to be better prepared for next time I am “up at bat.” Each time up is a learning experience.

About three years ago, a friend suggested that I try snowboarding. I was very hesitant at first (since I was convinced I lacked the coordination), but I decided to go for it and take the challenge. After a painful three hours of falls, tumbles, and frostbite, I still could not stand on the board long enough to go farther than one foot. “I hate snowboarding,” I thought to myself that night, as I crawled into bed, body aching and covered with bruises.

A few weeks later, I was invited to go snowboarding once again by other friends. Even though I was aware of my lack of skills, I chose to go with them, hoping it wouldn’t be so bad if I stay on the beginner slope the whole time. Up on the mountain that day, after almost a whole repeat day of falls, something magical happened: I was snowboarding!

Since then I have gotten much better at snowboarding. The significance of the story is that even though I was discouraged, I tried one more time. If I had decided to call it quits before that one last lift up the mountain, I may have never discovered that there was hope for me.

Whether it’s applied to asking someone out, interviewing for jobs, or trying something new, I believe that to “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game” is excellent advice to a successful life. So maybe your batting average is only a .050. Maybe you have applied for 20 jobs and you have only been called back for 2 interviews. The fear of failure should not deter you. The more practice you get up at bat, the more you will increase your chances of improving. If fear prevents you from even trying, you won’t even have that small chance you’d have if you did try. I will continue to carry this optimistic concept with me as my mantra and apply it to situations that arise on a daily basis.