In baseball, there are two main ways that you can strike out.
You strike out looking when you do not swing at a pitch that an umpire calls as your third strike. You strike out swinging when you get your third strike by swinging at a pitch and missing.
In baseball, not swinging can work in your favor sometimes. You might be able to earn a walk.
In life, however, there are no walks. If you don’t take a swing, you get nothing. You also lose more than you might realize.
Don’t Strike Out (in Life) By Looking
You never want to strike out in life by looking. It might seem like it’s no different than striking out swinging (since you struck out in each case), but it’s not. Your confidence takes a big hit each time that you “play it safe” and strike out looking. You know that you failed to take a swing, even if no one else knows.
For example, have you ever been single and seen someone beautiful at a social event, but not introduced yourself to that person? I have, and it feels terrible. Not only do you fail to get a date, but you also feel like a wimp for not even introducing yourself. And, you also have to wonder what might have been if you had taken a swing.
As another example, maybe you have been thinking for years about changing careers, starting a business, writing a book, or pursuing some other dream. However, you have “played it safe” and not taken any action yet.
How do you feel about that right now? It drives you crazy, doesn’t it?
Not only have you failed to make your dream happen, but you hate the fact that you haven’t even tried.
Don’t Be Afraid to Strike Out Swinging
The only real failure in life is not trying. It’s much better to be rejected (for a date, or a job, or a sale, etc.) than to wonder what might have happened if you had taken a swing.
It’s also much better to be seen as too bold, rather than as too passive. People respect you more when you take a swing(s), and they respect you less when you don’t.
When You Take a Swing, Swing Hard
Taking a swing is not enough though. When you take a swing, you also need to swing hard.
I once played in a coed sand volleyball league with a group of friends. During one game, it was my turn to serve.
For some reason, I was worried about serving the ball too hard and having it land past the back line (out of bounds) on the other team’s side. So, I tried to play it safe and hit the ball gently. It didn’t even make it to the net, let alone over it. The ball landed about five feet short of the net!
One of my friends looked at me, and he said, “What the heck was that?”
Note: That’s not exactly what he said, but this is a PG web site. 😊
The game continued, and I vowed to myself to never fault on a serve again because I hit the ball too gently. If you are going to botch a serve in volleyball, hit the ball too hard, rather than too gently.
The same is true in life. It’s okay to fail if you try as hard as you can to succeed. You can live with that. Do not fail because of a lack of effort though. That will haunt you forever.
Summary and Final Thoughts
Your batting average in life does not matter, so swing often and swing for the fences. I have never regretted a time in my life that I struck out swinging. However, I have regretted every time that I struck out looking.
What about you? Is there some area of your life where you have been striking out looking? If so, don’t beat yourself up for it. Start swinging and swing hard.
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About the author: Pete Leibman is the Creator of StrongerHabits.com. He is a best-selling author, keynote speaker, executive recruiter, athlete, and peak performance coach. His work has been featured on Fox News, CBS Radio, and CNNMoney.com, and over 500,000 people across the world have read his articles.