On April 17, 1999 a brand-new song hit the music scene, and though it had very simple lyrics, it became an instant hit and was one of two songs that propelled a country music star on a comeback trajectory. The song is simply titled, The Greatest, and tells the story of a young boy that is convinced that he is going to be a baseball star.
The song/story goes like this:
Little Boy, in a baseball hat
Stands in the field with his ball and bat
Says I am the greatest player of them all
Puts his bat on his shoulder and he tosses up his ball
And the ball goes up and the ball comes down
Swings his bat all the way around
The world's so still you can hear the sound
The baseball falls to the ground
The song goes on to tell the story that the boy threw the ball up over and over again. And he swung the bat over and over again, missing every time. Now, this is where the song gets really good. You see, the boy was undeterred. His mindset and determination grew stronger with each and every miss. Let’s stop here for a moment. When was the last time that you (or I) experienced repeated failure with that level of grit and determination? Failure has a way of getting under our skin, deep down to the core of our being and if we are not careful, it will begin to determine our effort, outlook and future.
Thankfully, the song doesn’t stop there. It picks back up when he hits “strike three”:
Now it's supper time and his mama calls
Little boy starts home with his bat and ball
Says I am the greatest that is a fact
But even I didn't know I could pitch like that
He says I am the greatest that is understood
But even I didn't know I could pitch that good.
Did you see it? This little guy wasn’t fazed by failure but instead made his failure a matter of perspective. It has been said time and again, a person’s perspective is their reality. The little boy struck out but instead of viewing himself as a terrible batter, he viewed himself as a stellar pitcher.
Your mindset matters. Your perspective matters. Pursue your callings with a dogged determination, and when you need to adjust your perspective a bit because you seem to have struck out, remember that strike outs aren’t always a depiction of a bad batter. It could simply be that you are an amazing pitcher.
Songs lyrics from The Greatest by Kenny Rogers.