It’s just a pile of wood
In the 1930s, minor league baseball was truly outstanding, especially in the Texas League. San Antonio’s team had seven batters who hit over 300, compared to the dozen or more players in the American and national leagues who hit as well.
Everyone was sure that San Antonio would win the pennant, but San Antonio lost its first six games. In fact, at the end of 21 games, they had lost 18. Every member of the team blamed another player for the losing streak, but no matter who took the blame, the slump continued.
Then one day, this team of hitters took on Dallas, the lowest-hitting team in the league, and lost 1-0, with only one hit for the San Antonio team. Josh O’Reilly, the manager of San Antonio, knew that the problem with his team was not physical, but mental. The losing streak had given them a bad attitude.
At the time, there was a healer in Dallas named Slater who had earned a reputation as a miracle worker. An hour before Game 2 of the series, O’Reilly stormed the clubhouse and told all the players to hand over their two best bats, saying he had an idea that would win them the pennant. He took the bats, put them in a wheelbarrow and left.
He reappeared with the bats about five minutes before the game started. He told the team that he had gone to see Mr. Slater, who had wound the bats so that they would hit the ball every time they swung. He convinced them that with these blessed bats they would win the game and the pennant.
The day before they had only struck once; this time they got 37 hits and scored 22 runs, including 11 home runs. They not only won the game, they won the pennant.
So what changed? Did O’Reilly really take the bats to Mr. Slater? If he did, was it really Mr. Slater’s blessing that got the team hitting again?
The fact is that it doesn’t matter if the bats were actually injured or not. The team believed that the bats were injured. The bats looked, felt and functioned just like they did before O’Reilly picked them up. Before and after the “blessing”, the bats were just a pile of wood. The real change happened in the minds of the players.
To change something in your life, you first have to change it in your mind. You have to have the mindset that what you want is not only possible, but is going to happen. The San Antonio team had everything they needed to win the pennant; all they needed was the belief that they could do it.
If you’re trying to get fit, you have to think fit. It’s not enough to simply change what you eat or how active you are. You also have to change your mindset. If you start a new diet or exercise routine but think it won’t work for you, you’ll start making excuses. “A day off from my diet won’t make a difference” or “It’s okay if I don’t exercise today because I’ve been working hard and I deserve a break.”
One excuse begets another, and that’s a slippery slope to begin with. Then you may wonder why it doesn’t work. You have to make a committed lifestyle change; otherwise, your efforts to reach your fitness goal will be “just a pile of wood.”