“Keep your eye on the ball.”
This common phrase was repeated often throughout my life. Regardless of what form the ball takes (soccer ball, baseball, basketball, etc), it was important to keep my eye on the ball. I have been thinking about this for the past couple of days as part of self reflection.
The real wisdom hidden in the message.
Wisdom that I clearly forgot over the last few years.
This wisdom was lost on my younger self.
I shout back at my baseball coach as another strike careens across the plate. I hear some murmuring from the other team wondering why I am a left-handed player who bats right. I grip the bat a little tighter and focus directly on pitcher and the ball in his glove. The background noise of the crowd and the players fades away.
The pitcher winds up and releases his pitch directly at me. My eyes follow the ball from the moment of release.
In this moment, nothing else matters.
The ball flies through the air, it’s destination already predetermined moments ago. The job of the pitcher is done.
I ignore the people in the stands, the ice cream truck in the background, the hot and tired players in the outfield and everything in between.
Then I widen my stance and prep my swing.
My swing connects and the ball sails over the pitcher’s head towards second base in a pop fly.
I take off running towards first. The distracted second baseman fumbles and drops the ball, allowing me to easily get on first base.
A solid base hit.
This memory highlights my thought when I hear “Keep Your Eye on the Ball” which I always assumed was FOCUS.
But I been thinking about how this how applies to life in general.
Knowing Is half the Battle
Focus is important in every aspect of life. Not being present in leads to lackluster or downright terrible outcomes. Many people have written about the benefits and reasons for having proper focus so I won’t tread the same ground here.
I want to talk about the added benefit of keeping your your eye on the ball:
…And therefore the conditions for Victory.
In the above image, each one of the balls is for a different game (obviously). By “keeping your eye on the ball” you begin to understand the basic concept of the game being played and the conditions for winning.
You put a ball through a hoop, a goal post, into an end zone, etc to gain points whereas generally (except for some games like golf) the most points at the end of game wins.
I won’t go into detail for each and every sport but each game has it’s own system of keeping score and various in-depth rules, the basic concepts are simple.
Upon first glance, we had no idea the rules of golf, basketball, football, etc when we first saw it. But as we watched (and played) we started to suss out the basic concepts and some details (like defense, offside, out of bounds, etc). The longer we watched the ball, the more we learned about the game.
There is some translation into our daily lives from what I have experienced. I think a lot of people take their eyes off the ball (myself as well) and get caught up in everything else except for the focus and rules of the game they are trying to play (and hopefully win).
“By “keeping your eye on the ball” you begin to understand the basic concept of the game being played and the conditions for winning.”
The Basic Rules of Health & Fitness
For example, in the game of Health & Fitness, I have been tracking my diet and weight to set the routines and disciplines I will follow throughout my life to get and maintain the goals I want.
However, there are countless diets, workout equipment, gimmicks, empty promises, etc that obfuscates the basic rules for those looking for quick fixes.
But the basic RULES of the game are simple:
- eat more whole foods
- eat less processed food
- exercise daily and/or move more
- drink more water
- get more sleep
- track and improve the above metrics over time
There are more in-depth rules depending on the particular player and their personal health issues, but the above basic rules are beneficial for almost anyone.
What good is protein powder and high density protein shakes if I can’t even get a consistent amount of sleep every night or if I am not meeting my daily water intake?
Basic rules apply to everything, even money and our careers. For example, here are some basic rules of money:
- increase your income
- decrease your expenses
- save more money
- invest more money into assets
- reduce/pay off debts
- track and improve the above metrics over time
All of the above steps are useful to almost anyone and a great place to start. The point of all of this is simple.
By keeping our eye on the ball, we learn the basic rules of the many games we have to play in life. Then if we focus on the basic rules, we will get a decent return on our most important investment: our time.
Aim to make Time your ally and not your enemy.
I am not your father though, so do what you want.