If You Want to Win, You’ve Got to Play

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

There was once a young man who was convinced happiness was his to behold, if only he could win the lottery. Years went by, but luck never fell his way. Finally, he turned to prayer. “God please! It doesn’t even have to be a mega-lottery! Just enough to make my life better. And I’ll even donate some to charity!” We always throw that one in there for good measure.

Well, this went on for several more years, and still no luck. And his frustration was beginning to show. “What’s up, God? The Bible says, ‘ask and ye shall receive.’ So, when is it my turn? When do I receive?” As he settled back into a corner to sulk, this booming voice came down from the Heavens. “Help me out here, Jim … buy a ticket!”

We’ve all met people who seem to have all the luck. Everything they touch turns to gold. Success is attracted to them like ants to a picnic basket. They walk around all the time with a smile on their face and a song in their heart. They live in the nicest house, drive the nicest cars, and vacation all over the world. It’s enough to make you sick.

And you sit there watching in amazement, certain that sooner or later, luck will come your way. It’s the law of averages. Sit in one place long enough and sooner or later the bluebird of happiness will land on your shoulder. It has to land somewhere, right? And a moving target is harder to hit. Yeah. Tell that to the pigeon that just flew over as you were walking into church.

Okay, I’m just gonna throw this out there. Luck is absolutely a factor. It’s a huge factor. In fact, most success would never come without a certain element of luck. Surprised? All this time I’ve been telling you that you can accomplish anything, and now I’m saying it only happens if you encounter some good luck? Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

But you can’t hit a home run from the dugout, and you can’t catch the winning pass from the grandstands. Luck plays a part, but first you have to be in the game. You have to step up to the plate, bat in hand, and stare down a fastball. You have to plow through a line of blockers and run down the field to … okay, that’s why I never caught the winning pass. I don’t run.

And, in all honesty, there’s a little more to it than that. I never really wanted to run. While the star hitters were at batting practice, I was riding my mini bike. While the football team was in the weight room deadlifting Volkswagens, I was drawing pictures. Oh, I got to play. League rules, you understand. But my position was usually tackling dummy. Wonder why?

You see, merely stepping onto the field isn’t enough, unless you’re hoping a fast pitch will accidentally hit your bat and ricochet over the center-field wall. You also have to be ready for that perfect pitch and know what to do when it comes. It takes muscle to swing the bat that hard, not to mention a well-developed eye-to-hand coordination. It takes practice.

I can’t remember who said this first, but success is what happens when opportunity meets preparedness. We all think opportunity is the hard part, but it really isn’t. Anybody can try out for the team, or apply for a job, or start a new business. Opportunity is the easy part. But unless you’re ready to capitalize on that opportunity, it’ll just move on to somebody who is.

The two things you can control – the only two things – are stepping up to the plate and taking a swing. Sure, your swing has to be good, but that comes with practice. You know, stepping up to the plate and taking a swing. The rest largely relies on factors beyond your control – the speed of the pitch, the curve of the ball, the dryness of the pitcher’s hand – and just plain old luck.

Success in any endeavor relies largely on luck and it won’t always go the way you’d planned. Jobs will come and go. Customers won’t always want what you have to offer. Kids will eventually follow their own path. But the longer you stay in the game, the better your odds of scoring a hit.

Opportunity is the game itself – to capitalize on opportunity, you need to get in the game and play your best every day. The more times you step up to the plate, the more passes you throw, the better your odds of success. Luck will still play a part. You can’t change that, but you can stack the odds in your favor. Control what you can. The rest will work itself out.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

2 thoughts on “If You Want to Win, You’ve Got to Play

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