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  • Writer's pictureRyan Luby

Yes to succeed, no to thrive

Updated: Dec 10, 2018

Throughout history, major league baseball has continued to replenish itself with talent from different ethnic groups. One of the greatest examples is the consistency of skilled players that came from parts of the Caribbean.

Around the 1950’s and 60’s, more Latin stars of all colors would find their way into the major leagues. If the overall animosity and lingering racism wasn’t enough, envious Latin players back home would realize more, and more how much better they needed to be than white players.. in order to have a chance to come to America and play in the majors.

Throughout Caribbean cities, players were honing their skills for a chance to give their families a better life. The level of skill amongst Dominican prospects grew so much, that a saying started to spread, “No one walks off the island.” Meaning, to impress scouts, and make it to America, and the major leagues.. you needed to hit, and hit aggressively.

Their only shot, was to hit their way off the island.

So they did. Each star that was able to make the leap to the majors was undoubtedly an aggressive hitter… but this would have to change if they wanted to have continued success in the major leagues.

As it turned out, the the level of talent in MLB was much greater than anything most players had experienced in their home countries. Players were smarter, threw different pitches, threw faster pitches, and caught everything…

The Caribbean based players who went on to succeed in the majors would learn they needed to play smart, and with patience to thrive in such a talented league.

So while the only players to have a shot at the majors would have to hit their way off the island… the players who eventually excelled in the majors were the ones who learned to dial back their aggressive hitting, and instead be patient, and selective.

This example was introduced to me when reading articles and books from Ryan Holiday, and I don’t know of any better example to describe what it takes to succeed in life.

People often attribute other’s success to luck.. but it takes hard work, in order to put yourself in the right place to experience luck. Or as Hall of fame golfer Gary Player put it, “The harder I practice, the luckier I get.”

It really doesn’t matter how old you are, if you are unsure what to do with your life, or you just want to achieve more.. you must say yes to everything. You aren’t going to succeed if you sit in your room, and ignore all of the opportunities around you. You have to work, practice, and say yes to any opportunity.. hit your way off the island. Success is not a passive pursuit.

Do you have a career you enjoy?

Are you happy with your trajectory right now?

Do you feel like your progress might be plateauing?

You might be getting close to your major leagues.. meaning you need to change your approach in order to continue growing. Ease up on your aggressive hitting… and be patient.

Again, this only generally applies once you feel you found your purpose and are on a great path to fulfill it.

Now you can learn the beauty of saying no.

Not swinging at every pitch.

While saying yes to all opportunities will help you grow when you are figuring things out, eventually it starts to inhibit your progress. At this point, you can practice patience, and be selective about when to say yes to something.

Instead, saying no will help keep people and distractions from stealing your time. You can focus on only swinging at the opportunities you want, the ones that align with your purpose, and the ones that allow you to continue to succeed at this stage in your life.

It is this approach that Ryan Holiday would describe as,

saying yes to succeed, and no to thrive.

Learn more on this:

Article: The gentle art of saying no

Podcast: How to say no

Article: Say Yes

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