Simply Thought{FULL}: What I learned from an 11 year-old

blogthought3.14.13 {This originally aired on March 14, 2013. However, this was something I needed to be reminded of again. Maybe you also need a thoughtful reminder.} It's baseball season again for my 11 year old. My little guy is now playing Major baseball with the big kids on a bigger field. Where the last couple of seasons he has been an "all-star" player, pitching and playing short-stop, he is now in the outfield (nothing wrong with that for all you outfielders), not pitching and has even sat out part of a game.

He is a rookie again and must pay his dues. 

This past week I learned a valuable lesson from this little guy. At his last game he struck out three times at the plate and had no action to speak of in the outfield.  I was certain this little boy was going to be BUMMED with a capital B U M M E D! Instead he came over to us after the game and said he had fun! We went along with it because we thought he was trying to make himself feel better. In our minds there was no way this game could have been fun for him.

The next morning as good parents do, we sat him down to have a heart to heart. We asked him if he was ok about last night's game and went on to explain that no matter how he played as long as he did his best we were proud of him. We continued to talk to him about how in life he may experience dissappointing situations. Blah, blah, blah. 

He then explained to us as only an 11 year-old can that he was fine. Even though he didn't hit the ball he DID had fun! For my little mr. it wasn't so much the outcome but the process. He enjoyed the opportunity to get up to bat each and every time, face up against the pitcher (who may I add pitched really fast...yikes!) and put what he had been practicing all week into action. It didn't matter so much that he didn't hit the ball but he was gaining experience and playing the game that he loves. Brilliant! My big Mr. and myself were left staring at each other wondering how this little boy got so smart.

My little guy understands that he is playing with more experienced, bigger boys. He understands that this new phase in his baseball career is going to be challenging and at times a little scary because it's new to him with new rules, new teammates and a new learning curve. He understands that with all the baseball that he already knows there is still so much more to learn. But I think the most important thing that he understands is that he can't compare his "beginning" to someone else's "Middle or End" otherwise he will set himself up for frustration, and a feeling of disspointment and possibly defeat. With time, experience and commitment he will get better.

What I now understand is this: In my creative work, I come across so many people who I admire and who I am certain I will never be as good as. Yet, I was reminded this week that if I am doing something that I love I should stick with it, enjoy the process of learning, stumbling and sometimes failing. I should also remember that we were all "rookies" and that none of us start off as "all-stars."  Let the challenges and the road to your middle or end be the fun part!

How do you deal with comparing yourself to others? 

{Photo credit:lovely print by Ann Shen}

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