A great hitter possesses a unique style. He often looks different and stands different and swings different than the norm. He performs drills and does things that seem odd to batters afraid of experimentation. Because of his unconventional ways, he may experience criticism or ridicule from a teammate. A well-meaning coach may attempt to change his style or steer him toward a conventional path.
The great hitter adopts selective attention. He remains open to suggestion without losing sight of what makes him comfortable, and successful. He listens, he evaluates, and he decides to remain unique. He ignores those who doubt him. He is impervious to harsh judgment; he has thick skin that deflects the slings and barbs and arrows of nay-sayers.
NFL head coach John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens calls this ability to absorb criticism and deflect doubt “armadillo toughness.” The armadillo is a small mammal with an outer “shell” of skin comprised of thick, layered bone and horn that protects him from harm. The imposing armor repels some attackers on sight alone: why waste time on an animal that seems impervious to attack? Be like an armadillo and protect yourself from fear, doubt, ridicule and unwarranted criticism.