I grew up in a sports fan-oriented family. My parents are big baseball fans and that love spread to include other sports. When I was a kid my family attended a lot of sporting events and to this day family events involve discussions of sports news, often with an eye on whatever “big game” is on TV.
Given this, I can draw a lot of parallels between sports and other aspects of life, and both understand and use sports metaphors. So I was quite taken by an article that appeared in The Seattle Times a couple years back about baseball star Ichiro Suzuki. Ichiro arrived in Seattle from Japan in 2001 and immediately became a superstar, perhaps his consistency in hitting being his most remarkable feat. He doesn’t grant a lot of interviews so this article became even more interesting. I submit it as the final Mid-Week Inspiration in our class. Read it here.
What I want to highlight is the focus Ichiro has on a taking care of himself, although the discussion could also go in the direction of the fine line between being selfish and taking care of yourself. In the article, Ichiro is quoted about the importance of self-focus, “If you can’t take care of yourself first, then you have no chance of overseeing others. The player who doesn’t have a sturdy handle on himself can’t possibly provide for the team. Baseball is different from other sports in that regard. When a batter stands in at the plate, he’s all alone. There is no one who can help him. He has to figure out how to care for himself.”
That quote pretty much sums up one of the pillars of this class. For this reason, I make doing something kind for yourself both the first and the final theme. Taking care of yourself is a sort of “reset button.” When something trips you up, take a step back and do something kind for yourself. Doing so gets you re-situated and re-focused. And as you get good at it, it becomes almost automatic and instantaneous.
On that note, Ichiro provides another insight, “You have to possess an eye for self-evaluation, but in an objective way. If you can’t appraise yourself objectively, you’re not going to get very far.” This is where the “selfish/taking care of self” fine line comes in. You need to be objective when doing kind things for yourself. Failing to do so causes you to risk being self-indulgent.
I hope you enjoy the article and, like me, are able to apply it in some way to your life.