“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.”
Three strikes and you’re out — in baseball, that’s the rule.
But in life, you have to keep swinging and often it takes a lot more than three times at bat to get where you want to go. Whether you’re searching for an agent, going for something new and daring in your writing, or coming up with an exciting new idea that’s guaranteed to push you way out of your comfort zone, if you stick to the rules, chances are you are going to fall short of your goal.
“Your dreams always lie outside of your comfort zone” — that’s what my good friend and mentor Coach Mike Tully said once — and I know he’s right. Because if our dreams are totally within our grasp, then they’re not really big enough to be dreams, are they?
Sometime today, you may find yourself facing a situation where you have a choice to make, you can play it safe and go by the rules — or you can do something riskier and bolder, something that might seem dangerous but that gives you the opportunity to feel better about yourself, stronger, and more confident. It might be turning away from a piece of work that isn’t taking you in the direction you want to go. It might be contacting that really big agent you’d love to work with, even though you know it’s a long shot. Or, it might be starting a story in a quiet and unexpected way rather than plunging into the middle of the action, which is what conventional wisdom tells us we should be doing.
Whatever it is, remember that three strikes probably aren’t going to be enough to get you where you want to go. You have to be willing to keep on swinging. Someone once asked Babe Ruth what he thought about when he struck out. His answer: “I’m thinking about my next home run.” Babe didn’t worry about strikes or rules, he kept his eye on the ball. And so should we. Write on!