Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Hitting the Spots: Control is the Key

Control type things... Stick with me on this one...

I was driving between places earlier today, and paused to take a picture of a gas meter and a fire valve on the back of a building. I liked the image and wanted to caption it with something potentially inspiring for Instagram, and I came up with the idea of control.

Success in life is, in many ways, dependent on control. Controlling your finances. Controlling your thoughts. Your feelings. Controlling your words. Controlling your diet. Controlling your prejudices. A life lacking self-discipline is risky!

While Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana are experiencing weather such that temperatures hitting a high near 30° Fahrenheit means a warm-up of over 40°--weather that naturally makes one think of hockey, the idea of control reminded me of baseball. Of pitching, to be more precise.

In pitching, control is everything. It doesn't matter how hard you can throw or how much your breaking ball moves, if you can't control it, you won't be successful. If you don't throw strikes--if you can't "hit the spots," your pitches won't matter. Life is like this, too.

Living recklessly, without discipline, without mature decision making--living out of control makes being successful (however defined) highly unlikely. No matter "how hard you can throw," if your life is out of control, then the results of your efforts will be uncertain. Control is as important in life as it is in pitching.

Your talents and skills need to be used in ways that line up with your values and goals. Your actions need to be kept in line with your moral compass. Spending needs to be guided by controlled decisions. Your thoughts need to be deliberately focused on reality and the things that move you in the direction of success, however you define it. Diet and exercise need to be engaged thoughtfully and healthfully. You need to find balance in all things and discipline yourself to stay in control.

My oldest son played baseball as a youth at a fairly competitive level. For a while, he took pitching lessons, and one fall and winter, his instructor was a soon-to-be major league pitcher. In one of his lessons, he was told that pitchers spend hours and hours in spring training just raising their leg and finding a balance point. Striking balance at the beginning of the wind-up starts the process of being in control of the whole body throughout the pitching motion, and that control ultimately leads to being able to control the pitch.

Balance is vital to life. Finding that starting point and maintaining control is vital to success.

Your life is the pitch and you are the pitcher. Crazy, no?

Control can be achieved, but a lot of times it is great to have help. Spring training prepares pitchers and gives them the physical skills and techniques so that they can maximize the use of their talents. In life, we have people who can come along side us and share life with us to help us maximize the use of our talents as well. Developing control is

Put into your life the control type things (habits, practices, friends, accountability partners, etc.) that will help you manage your life!