How I Wasted 5 Years Struggling To Be Mediocre

In Blog, Confidence, Pro & College Basketball
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For 5 years, I played baseball before getting into basketball. My dad was the coach of our teams.

I was terrible at baseball.

I mean, I could run the bases well (except for never developing the skill of sliding). I was fast in the outfield (save for misjudging some fly balls which sailed over my head). I had a pretty good (but inaccurate) arm. I never got good at getting my glove down to scoop up ground balls.

We played with a pitching machine for 4 years (I started at age 9). The machine sent the ball across home plate at the same spot every time.

By age 13, I was damn good at hitting off the machine.

I was good at judging pitches to swing at in my one year of fast pitch baseball. By “judging” I mean, I never swung at anything, being deathly afraid of that ball coming that fast and its accuracy now being unpredictable. Good thing is, 14-year-old pitchers don’t have much control, and I got on base a lot via walks.

Some of the pitchers we are actually good, though. Which meant I struck out a lot. After one game of more strikeouts, I walked over to the basketball court and haven’t been back to the baseball diamond since.

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How many people do you know who are struggling to get to mediocre? More so, how many them seem to not know it?

The good thing is, I realized I was struggling to be mediocre when I was only 13.

The good thing for you is, I have some ways you can self-analyze and make sure you’re not making the same mistakes as an adult that I made as a kid.

  1. Are you a contributor or merely a participant? I showed up to every practice tried hard in all the drills. But nothing I did moved us any closer to winning games. [shareable cite=”@DreAllDay “]Are you a contributor or merely a participant?[/shareable]I was a “participation trophy” team member. And it was baseball – demand to play wasn’t so high that anyone got cut at tryouts.

    What contribution are you truly making in your work or play? What would the team be missing if you didn’t show up? Anything?

  2. What are you trying to prove? I was trying to prove to myself – and some teammates – that I could be good at baseball. I’m competitive, and had managed to become one of the best in every other game I’d played. I spent years trying to make the same result with baseball.Are you fighting to win a meaningless battle, while losing the war? What purpose are your efforts serving?
  3. Have you explored all of your potential? I was tall and athletic. I could run fast and jump high. Had long arms. And hey, I’m Black! How about BASKETBALL?It took me too long to have this self-conversation. Once I started playing basketball, though I was far from an instant hit, I could see progress.

    What skills do you have which haven’t been tried out enough? What ways could you contribute that are not needed or valued in what you’re now doing?

  4. No one pays for mediocrity. What is the marketplace telling you about your skills? Thought we weren’t being paid to play baseball, I knew I probably wouldn’t even make the team anywhere other than where I was. Not to mention the benefit of having my father as coach. Had I played baseball anywhere else, with people who weren’t so heavily invested in my self-esteem, I probably would’ve started basketball sooner!What kind return are you getting for your efforts? Where are you getting value for value, and where are you putting in effort but not getting much back? This could be a sign of your efforts being in the wrong place.
  5. Be wary of confirmation bias of your time & effort. Do you feel you have to keep doing what you’re doing simply because you’ve done it for so long? This is the same thing the gambler who’s down $5,000 tells himself while playing another hand of blackjack.Treat the time you’ve put into your mediocrity journey as a lesson. Help others who are in the same place. Write a blog post about it. Know when to cut your losses and move on.

Mediocrity, even if achieved, has no tangible value.

Yes, I know you worked hard to get there. I understand it wasn’t easy. But you’re not really contributing. Proving that you are mediocre isn’t something to brag about. There are areas where you could really have an impact, which you’re not – because you’re still over there. The marketplace has spoken about your value. And just because you’ve been doing it is not a good reason alone to keep at it.

Stop struggling to be mediocre. Know when it’s time to head to the basketball court.

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