Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Are You Stuck in a Round Hole?

Are you stuck? Do you feel like a square peg in a round hole?

Everybody likes to dream about whom they want to be when they grow up. Baseball player, nurse, school teacher, or even a writer. You name it and the sky is the limit. Who could asked for anything more?

But there is a problem. No matter how hard we try to seek a goal we fail. We miss the mark. It's like trying to put a square peg in a round hole.

Today we live in a world bombarded with information that is easy to get with our finger tips on the internet. Who needs books? Just Google it and it's yours for the asking. 

Education, on the job training, practical experience, and more, the success ladder is looking at us right in the face. So what's the problem?

There is a mismatch. Perhaps our passions are not in line with our DNA. The desire is there, but not the human make-up to allow it to become a reality.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not opposed to personal development and I know this sounds controversial. However, God made all of us with unique capabilities. It is our job to know who we are and develop our gifts and talents to the best of our ability.

People are amazed watching the professional artist sketch a portrait on a piece of canvass. Nose, lips, hairline, everything is perfectly put in place. She could do nothing wrong. It appeared that everything she drew turned into gold. 

"How did you do that?" a friend asked.

A long discussion concluded with a simple answer. "The difference between you and me is that the thought process in the brain is transmitted to the hand without interruption."

Javiera Molina is noted for being one of the best catcher's in major league baseball. He often left St Louis Cardinal fans spellbound while they watched him pick off base runners with his long throw from behind the plate. 

Nobody wants to be left behind. Eventually, Willson Contreras, Chicago Cub catcher, started picking runners off the bases and the fans loved it. 

So do you feel like a square peg in a round hole? Using the round hole theory as our DNA and the square peg theory as our passion, can you identify the mismatch? Our desires are already in our DNA. The task is to select the right passion(s), perfect them, and connect them with our DNA. 


Monday, December 18, 2017

How Does Your Garden Grow?

How does your garden grow? Perhaps with more depth it will pop through the clouds.

The gardener likes to watch things grow. Beneath a clear blue sky on a sunny day it intrigues him or her to watch the little seedlings peek through the ground. Yes, God's gift to creation has arrived and matures into full grown plants.

The pride and joy of anybody with a green thumb is to care for these precious little ones. Give them enough water, plenty of sunshine, love, and like Jack and the Beanstalk they might pop through the clouds. 

While many gardeners play by the rules, there are some whom may discover that their precious project isn't doing so well. "Let me see," mumbled one gal, "the package says..." Perhaps her little seedlings needed more depth or love. Shallow seeds may wash away by the rain or get scorched by a hot sun. Prevention is worth a pound of cure,

The Chicago Cubs also needed more depth on their team if they hope to be better in 2018. After a 2017 year they need improvement both in offense and defense.

Recently, the Cub organization acquired from the Seattle Mariner's veteran right handed relieve pitcher Steve Cishek. There is no doubt about it change was necessary.

The 31 year old joins the Cubs with some impressive numbers that may be a strong boost to the north siders: 2.01 ERA; 41 strike outs; 0.90 WHIP in 49 relief appearances; he limited right-handed batter's to a 2.05 batting average: and the list goes on.

Among the Cub vision for a better 2018 year is a stronger bullpen. So, for starters, they offered Steve a 2 year contract worth between 12-14 million dollars. I wish I was as lucky to receive that kind of money.

So friend, how does your garden growth? Do you need a big push to get you started? Try new and interesting things in your life and you may be surprised.     

Monday, December 11, 2017

Why Tricks of the Trade?

Tricks of the trade is a special ingenious technique used in a professional or craft by someone not known to outsiders. It's a trite phrase and often taken for granted. 

In our brief discussion here we will use the word 'trick' to refer to action or a way to perform, while 'trade' is the platform (marketplace, community, family, church) a desired function is performed on.

Learning how to use the 'tricks of the trade' is easy. The basic requirement is to just know how to play the game. 

But there is a problem. Most people don't know how to play the game. Instead they expect everything to just fall into their lap.

In baseball there is a valuable lesson to learn about the 'tricks of the trade.' The pitcher tries desperately to fool his opponent while the guy swinging a bat attempts to do likewise.

The ball is carefully manipulated in a hand behind the pitcher's back, while a pair of eyes struggle to see it. Then, suddenly, from out of nowhere it appears from the far side of the pitcher's mound.

But wait! Suddenly it's traveling striaght down the middle toward home plate. "Surely an easy hit," thought the hitter.

But wait! Then suddenly it sails under a pair of knuckles  where a vicious swing misses a spinning ball completely. "Strike!" shouts the ump before a cheering crowd of thousands of baseball fans.

The solution to this menacing problem is to get some skin in the game. Just like in Monopoly, play the game to win. Keep it honest and the results may surprise you.





Wednesday, December 6, 2017

How Much Love is Enough?

How much love is enough? Just like inspector Jacques Clouseau in Pink Panther  searches for valuable clues to solve a mystery, so we search for love. But relax, because the good news is that love is all around us.

With enough love to go around you would think that the world is a better place to live, but not so. There are other stronger motivators like money and material things that vie for our attention.

Yes, love is a better way. Just look around and you will see it seeping through a tough dark fabric.

Recently, Anthony Rizzo, Cub first baseman, hosted the 6th annual Walk-Off for Cancer. Joined by fellow teammates Jon Jay and Rene Rivera, they raised $960,000 for children and families affected by this dreadful disease. 

Another fellow teammate, Klye Schwarber, started The Schwarber Neighborhood Heroes and raised $25,000 each for three charities: the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation; The Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher House; and Ignite the Spirit, a Chicago Fire Department charity.

Last Sunday in South Barrington Illinois Willow Creek Community Church packed care packs with snacks and Christmas greetings for 70,000 inmates. The look of smiles mixed with tears warmed many hearts.

So how much love is enough? How much room do you have for some love in your heart? Perhaps it's time to do an inventory. Get rid of some old boxes and make room for the new. And who knows, don't be surprised when you see the FedEx truck at your door.  

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Why Keep Your Eye on the Ball?

The world is on fire and falling apart. Dreams for a better career just went out the window. Money or a better income just flat-lined on the computer screen. Where are all the opportunities?

Are you caught in the meltdown? Don't be. The world is not coming to an end. There is a better way to learn how to deal with all the troubles of the world. Yes there is a more practical solution. 

My cousin Al and I liked to play fastball. At the school lot he never hesitated to draw a large square on the school wall with a piece of white chalk. Then with a tennis ball cradled in the web of his glove he walked out to a make-shift pitcher's mound. 

When the ball sailed past me faster than the speed of light I swung viciously. The sound of it hitting the wall confirmed that I missed hitting that nasty little creature every time. 

"Hey!" Al shouted. "Don't worry about what color eyes or hair the pitcher has, just keep your eyes on the ball."

Yep, sure made a lot of sense to me, so I thought.

From this experience came a valuable lesson. The ball represented opportunities that all of us have while living in a troubled world. All we have to do is stay focused and the meltdown is a thing of the past. Now we can enjoy life and live happier ever after.  

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Why Wrigley Field?

Gloom and doom hovered over Wrigley Field for many years because there were no night games. While other fans continued to enjoy all the thrills and excitement watching games under the lights, Cub fans suffered. Night games at Wrigley Field was wishful thinking.

The late Jack Brickhouse, TV anchorman for the Chicago Cubs, always said that baseball was meant for day games. But why? It has nothing to do with winning ball games.

The big day finally came on August 8, 1988. "Three-Two-One...Let there be Light." A 91-year-old Cub fan shouted while pushing the button as thousands of Cub fans cheered.  And immediately six light towers flickered to life.

Why the 380 degree turn? Perhaps an angel whispered into somebody's ear. More likely money was a key factor. Whatever, Wrigley Field now had night games.

Today, thousands of Cub fans line up at the gate for night games at Wrigley Field. With hot dogs and soda pop nothing could be better than being the World Series champions in 2016. Congratulations! Go-Cubs-Go! 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Why Did the Rolling Heads Lose?

No, the rolling heads is not a musical group. Instead it's an expression used to describe what happened to some good baseball managers.

Managing a baseball team through the play-offs and into the World Series is commendable. There are three reasons why losing their jobs cannot be justified.

First, is the blame game. Somebody had to pay the price and it might as well be the managers. The team needed a face lift and was desperate for change.

Another reason is lack of support. Coaches and players couldn't get the job done. Success often depends on whom you associate with.

Finally, a lack of expertise. Call it poor judgement. The manager didn't know how to use the talent and skills of his players. Winning ball games required good pitchers, fielding, and hitting.

In the real world management depends on many factors. Who is in control? What are the best choices? We may never know the answer to why the rolling heads. Meanwhile, we must do what we have to do, pick ourselves up by our boot straps, and move on.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Why is Average Excellent?

In real life I often got discouraged because I felt like the average kid on the block. Just like in baseball I was competing with the superstars and excellence ruled the day. 

Look at this picture. Where are you? Are you lost in the crowd? Do you feel insignificant? It doesn't have to be that way and I'll give you three reasons why.

First, you don't have to be a genius to hit a baseball. Don't compare yourself to the other guy. In real life just follow the dictates of your heart and do it. The end result will amaze you.

Second, if there are more chiefs than Indians nothing will get accomplished. Just look at a bunch of old men sitting in a dugout and managing a baseball team with only two players on the field. Do you get the message?

Last, battling the war game between average and excellence is a mindset thing. Feel sorry for yourself, allow your brain to freeze, and the result is a big zero. Instead be positive and move on.

When I was in college I struggled with all the smart students until my friend said, "God must have been in favor of the average person because He made so many of them." Now I think different, feel better, and hope you are the same.