One of the most popular TV shows of this year, and any year during the last decade, is American Idol. Critics dismiss it as pure lightweight pablum suitable for low-brow tastes, but a critical viewer discerns value in every episode.
Most important, every so often one of the judges dispenses a critical shred of advice to a contestant. Among them: treat every appearance on stage as the single most important moment in your career. Don’t dawdle; don’t equivocate; don’t waste. Believe in yourself and your talent, say the judges. Trust in your ability as an artist and deliver the performance of a lifetime with no allowance for false modesty, shame, or conventional wisdom. Pick your preferred path and plunge headlong ahead – and take the audience on a journey of their lifetime! This is also great advice for a hitter, who is likewise a sort of performer on a different type of stage.
When you step into a batter’s box, there must be no doubt. A great hitter knows. He knows his purpose – make solid contact with a pitch of his preference. He knows his plan – see ball, hit ball. He knows his stance; and assumes it every time. He knows his swing; and commits to executing it with gusto. He knows his mindset – focus on hitting the ball hard and let go of any concern about the outcome. He knows he is prepared and ready for all challenges.
In this way, a great hitter can also become an American Idol, without ever auditioning as a singer. Let the bat make the noise and let the pretenders woo the judges. Make a hit record, the best way: on the baseball diamond!